Gone are the days where you could post on your Facebook Page and confidently expect that people will like, comment on or share your content.
While it’s not impossible for your followers to find your content in their news feed, it’s improbable; nowadays you have to pay for it, thanks to steep declines in organic reach (the number of people you engage for free). Here’s the lowdown on the inevitable monetisation of Facebook and how your business can keep up with the changing social media space.
Facebook to the defense
Facebook says “on average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.” In short, Facebook says it’s doing your customers a favour by deciding on their behalf the type of content they want to see. So how does your content make the cut?
The mysterious algorithm
Out of the 1,500 posts users could see when they peruse their News Feed, Facebook shows around 300. This selection is based on how information ranks on the scale of importance, which is determined by thousands of criteria specific to each user. For insights on how to feed the algorithm its favourite posts, refer to these Facebook guidelines for producing high quality content. Here’s a hot tip: Like-baiting is not doing you any favours!
The pitfalls of realtime
The demise of the alternative old school method of displaying posts in chronological order when they are actually created, known as real-time, is hard for users and businesses to let go. Facebook argues however that this method could actually cause your business page reach to decrease even further, with the average time poor user now having their News Feed clogged with content from hundreds or thousands of Pages, preventing them from seeing the posts that matter most, *based on what Facebook determines as important to each user.
What can you do?
Despite denying the motivation for reducing organic reach is a money spinner, head of Facebook’s Ads Product Marketing team Brian Boland goes on to suggest that Facebook is much more effective when businesses employ paid methods to reach their audience – what a surprise. So if you’re confident you are producing entertaining, informative, value-adding and timely content for your followers who fail to respond, you could begin experimenting with Facebook ads and boosted posts but it’s not for everyone – and an be very expensive for not a lot of return.
Don’t even think about deactivating that account! Facebook’s unfavourable changes to organic reach are not going to stop customers from posting their questions on a brand’s page; it’s free, it’s easy, it circumnavigates busy switch boards and goes direct to the heart of the customer service team or business owner. Facebook is still a very valuable (and for the purposes of customer service, free) two-way communication tool, so even if you’re not posting on your page as often as before, keep an eye on it for customer feedback, comments and questions, and aim to respond to inquiries within 24 hours.
If the Social@Ogilvy report is anything to go by, business pages should expect organic reach to verge on zero by the end of the 2014. The important thing to remember is that Facebook should never form your entire marketing strategy. Putting all your eggs in one basket could result in missing a large consumer demographic who, as outrageous as it sounds, might not actually have a Facebook account. Over-committing to a single social media platform can be a huge mistake, so diversifying your marketing and ensuring you concentrate your marketing efforts on your own website and via niche advertising efforts such as your Easy Weddings listings will ensure your brand is ready for Facebook’s zero organic reach doomsday.