Marketers large and small are bemoaning the dramatic decline in the reach of their brands’ posts in their fans’ newsfeed. The decline is a fact, but it’s not something that should deter you; it’s something you should address.
The decline in organic reach of brand posts on Facebook is nothing new.
- More than two years ago, Facebook said 16 percent of a brand’s fan base would see an organic post by that brand. It has been declining ever since.
- We blogged about it six months ago when we saw organic reach decline for our clients drop below 10 percent.
- Then, in December, Facebook acknowledged the decline and said that marketers were going to need to pay for reaching fans. Recent studies, including a great one from Ogilvy PR, show that organic reach has plummeted much further.
Some marketers are accusing Facebook of “bait and switch” tactics by encouraging brands to build a presence and a fan base only to change the rules and make it virtually impossible to reach those fans without advertising.
In Facebook’s defense, there are a few things to remember:
- Facebook is trying to create a positive user experience. As a result, it has to make choices about what to deliver to its members. The average person has the potential to see 1,500 posts in their newsfeed, from friends, brands, etc. every time they visit Facebook. That’s obviously overwhelming and would make users leave in droves if there wasn’t some system of choosing those things that the user might actually enjoy. In turn, all messages, including those from brands, get squeezed out.
- Many brand messages deserved to be squeezed out of the newsfeed because they are not insightful, likeable or shareable. Brands have been pushing out promotional messages, rather than focusing on delivering value and engaging in conversations.
- Facebook never promised anyone free and unfettered access to its members. Facebook is a media company. It’s reasonable to require them to pay to reach that audience, even if they are fans.
So how should marketers use Facebook today?
- Continue to monitor conversations and engage with your fans. Prospective customers and employees will visit your page to check you out. You want to show them your personality and your values.
- Continue to post. While you may want to post less often, you still need to make sure your posts are high quality, deliver value and are shareable.
- Use Facebook ads to get your content seen. Drive that traffic to your owned media (website or blog) where you can engage with them more efficiently. Through Facebook ads, you can do some pretty refined targeting of Facebook users at an extremely attractive price. For example, we ran an ad on the Road King magazine Facebook page for $10. We got great exposure to our content, added fans and increased traffic to our website where we could further engage with them.
In the end, brands need to face the fact that Facebook is much like any other media channel. You will likely have to pay to reach a significant audience, but if you do it right, it can still be a great place to be.