Your Facebook news feed may never be the same again but there is still hope for having success on the social site.
In January the company made news when it announced that it would show fewer posts from business pages. The intent behind the move is to clean up the news feed so that it shows more posts from friends and family so that users will stay on the social site longer.
Like any good company, it wants to make sure its customers are having a good experience.
But where does that leave marketers who have invested time and money over the years in building a Facebook presence for their brands? At first glance, it seems like companies are being left out in the cold.
In reality, though, the news feed change does not represent a major shift in social media marketing and there are ways for businesses to overcome it.
The ability to reach your page’s fans, known as reach, has been declining since 2012. This is an intentional decision by Facebook to move businesses from a free marketing platform to one where they must pay to reach their audience.
At first, marketers were willing to accept reaching only 12% of their fans. But the social giant made clear its intentions when it cut reach to about 1% in 2014. The message at that time was this: The free ride for businesses was over.
The recent Facebook news feed change, though, raises the question of how will businesses find success on the site?
Facebook News Feed Strategies
If you want to market successfully on Facebook, then you have to play their game. That is, be willing to pay to reach your audience. But brands should have already been doing that after the 2014 announcement.
For most business pages, then, very little has changed. They were receiving around 1% reach after 2014. Now they will see less. But whether it is 1%, or a fraction of that number, organic reach on the site is essentially non-existent and has been for years.
So the same tactics still apply.
Boosted Posts & Targeted Ads
If you have not already been doing so, then begin boosting your posts to reach a wider audience. You can do so very inexpensively and can target those you want to see your messaging.
The same targeting exists for ads, as well. In fact, the ability to fine tune your ad’s audience makes advertising on Facebook very attractive for marketers. It also remains inexpensive compared to advertising on other media. A business can advertise for as little as $5.00 per day.
Businesses can also move traffic from Facebook to their website using traffic ads. These are optimized just for that purpose and work well when trying to sell a product, get sign ups or promote a blog article.
Content that Encourages Discussion
Facebook described the type of content that would perform well organically in the news feed: “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in the feed.”
The company wants to encourage comments and questions on posts over Likes. Thus posts with long strings of comments will be placed higher. So, it’s the job of marketers to create compelling and interesting content that encourages conversation.
Having an active Facebook group is another way to generate organic reach. Group members can post questions or raise points that generate conversation. Those that have multiple comments attached to them will perform well in the news feed.
Branch Out Socially
Another strategy is to consider branching out to other social media sites. YouTube, being the second largest search engine on the internet, is an effective option for businesses. When you optimize your videos properly, it opens them up to being found in searches on the site.
Businesses stayed with Facebook after the 2014 announcement because they saw value there. The allure of its huge number of users, today reaching over 2 billion and still growing, is attractive to marketers.
Business can still have success on Facebook. But to do so, they have to accept the new reality that organic reach is all but dead. They must be prepared to pay to reach their audience. If you have questions about Facebook, call me at 513-237-5530.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.