Some marketers will tell you, “You’re only as good as your content.” While this is true in many cases, it seems Mark Zuckerberg overlooked the memo. I don’t know; maybe it posted on his Super Wall.
A Social Sea Change
With Facebook focusing on profit, it’s becoming more difficult for brands to connect with current fans. The focus on brand reinforcement is shifting toward brand awareness. Statistics form EdgeRanker show that engaged users of Facebook pages dropped from August to September. An in-depth look at the pages we manage confirmed their belief. Fewer people are seeing posts from brand pages.
Over time, social media managers can see patterns in a post’s engagement versus its reach. The higher a post’s engagement, the more people see. This is because Facebook displays posts in newsfeeds based on the level of interest in the post. For example, let’s say you and three of your friends like the same page. If those three friends like a status from the page, it’s more likely to display in your newsfeed. At least that’s how it used to be. Now, regardless of engagement, posts are displaying to roughly the same percentage of users who like a page (roughly 15 percent).
A Necessary Evil
I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that reach dropped shortly after the advent of the promoted post. With the promoted post, you can pay $5 to $15 to have posts displayed to a much larger audience of fans and friends of fans – much larger than any organic post could possibly deliver. The fee won’t guarantee engagement – just create the opportunity.
So your choices are simple. Show your post to a small group of people for free or show your post to the world for $15.
A company that has always put experience first is being forced to focus on profit, and marketers are an easy target. We all want access to the Facebook population and $15 isn’t an unreasonable price tag.
Marketers understand Facebook as a tool for brand reinforcement; you find people who like your brand and you interact with them – easy. But with pressure from shareholders, the stakes are raised for the social giant.
And make no mistake- the stakes are raised for marketers as well. What if you went to a CMO 10 years ago and said, “I want to allocate a significant portion of our resources to a free service that we have little to no control over?” But that’s what we do with Facebook everyday. We are at its mercy because it has six billion things we want.
A Plausible Solution
Great content and interaction are no longer the key drivers of success. Content still plays an important role, but the entirely organic nature of Facebook is gone. A really great post will no longer maximize your reach. Now, it takes a really great post and $15.
Some brands are trying creative ways to outsmart the system. One page posted an update that propositioned users to favorite their page so they wouldn’t have to “advertise.”
Instead of jamming a square peg in a round hole, our social media strategies have to evolve with the service. You must develop strategies that target the new audience available through promoted posts or find ways to mobilize the people who are still interacting with your page. There’s no simple solution. The technology will continue to change. The best advice: Stay agile. Watch your Insights and be ready to adapt your strategy accordingly.