I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Facebook is reducing its organic reach on brand and business pages to pretty much zero. Zuck shared the news on his personal Facebook Page this week, and the marketing world is reeling.
The Facebook Newsroom says: “Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
While individuals might find they enjoy using Facebook a little bit more due to this change, the reality is that there are a lot of businesses who have for a long time relied on social media and are struggling with the news. But, if we’re being honest, Facebook does this. A lot. This isn’t the first time they’ve ‘changed the game,’ and it won’t be the last time.
In fact, over the last few years, we’ve seen Facebook move Facebook Page post distribution down from 50% of fans, then to 10%, and we’ve been sitting close to 1% for several years. So, for many businesses, this isn’t too much of a shift in terms of how many people actually see our content.
But let’s be clear: Facebook isn’t stopping Pages from distributing their posts to fans, they are just decreasing the reach even lower than 1%. Facebook Lives, real conversations and non-clickbait engagements will still create some reach. And, of course, fans can update their preferences to see your Page posts by selecting “See First” in their personal settings.
Outside of posting these very specific content types to Facebook, what are some other tactics we can put in place now so that our businesses can roll with these changes?
Leveraging the assets we own
One of the smartest marketing tactics to keep in mind is to diversify our marketing efforts between tools we own, and ones we don’t. For example, we own our email list, and can send emails our every day if we want. But if our mailing list provider shuts down tomorrow? We still own those email addresses. If Twitter shuts down tomorrow, we lose our followers, and those precious contacts we’ve built up. This is sometimes called setting up our marketing efforts on “borrowed land” as opposed to “owned land”.
Set up your marketing in 2018 to have a mix of channels, so all your eggs aren’t in one basket. This might be a mix of channels you own, like your website and mailing list, and ones you don’t, like social platforms.
Another tactic to keep in mind is to consider migrating your fans. You could drive Page fans to your email list with a competition, so you keep those contacts no matter what happens on Facebook.
Find your group
There has been a huge boost in Facebook Group activity over the past few years (especially as Facebook Page reach has declined). Whether you’re running a group or getting engaged in communities that your audiences are in, a little 1:1 engagement is a great tactic for potential customers to get to know you.
Facebook Groups are not the only way to use this tactic – you might want to look at forums around your audience, LinkedIn Groups, or Reddit subreddits.
Facebook might have the big reputation in terms of size – but it has ‘everyone’. You might find that the niche social networks are more effective for your business because a higher number of your audience is on there. For example, Pinterest is mostly women in their 30s. If that’s your target audience, it makes sense to spend more time there than on Facebook.
Consider your audience, and do some research to consider which social networks they are on. Consider whether your audience are on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, SnapChat, Reddit, Instagram or Medium (and those are just the big ones – there are plenty of others out there!).
It was never really free
We often think about social media as ‘free’ advertising: but the reality is that it has never truly been free. Even if you didn’t spend a cent on advertising, you spent time (or you paid for someone’s time!) to create content. So promoting our business on social media has always involved some kind of investment.
You might want to consider that instead of spending time to hire someone to create content for your social platforms, that money could be spent on a couple of Facebook ads with specific strategic purposes. As far as we can tell, Facebook ads aren’t going anywhere. Even if Facebook reduces the ad placements Facebook.com, remember that they also own Instagram and also a massive ad network on third-party sites.
The Facebook ads network has very clever targeting:
- you can serve ads to your existing audiences like your mailing list or website visitors,
- you can target ads to new audiences based on interests,
- or you can get Facebook’s artificial intelligence to do the work for you, by leveraging Lookalike audiences to find people likely to be your audience.
Whether you’re looking to reach audiences already familiar with your business, or new audiences, Facebook ads are a strong advertising platform, irrespective of whether you will be regularly using your Facebook Page over the next year. (And if you need a hand with running Facebook ads, get in touch!)
As savvy digital marketers, we live in a world of shifting sands, and we need to take these changes in our stride and innovate.
For now, some tactics to future-proof your business include:
- Don’t put your eggs all in one basket: diversify your marketing so you’ve got a mix of owned channels in with your social platforms.
- Consider your audience niche: your audience might not spend all their time on Facebook. Find out where else they are.
- Leverage groups: Facebook Groups are still alive and well. Make the most of them!
- Facebook ads: Facebook ads aren’t going anywhere can be leveraged to tap into your existing audiences or new ones using interest targeting or AI.
Do you feel your business is in a strong position with this change? Or will you be using some of the tactics above? Let me know!
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About Rachel Beaney
Rachel Beaney is an Australian freelance social media specialist with over a decade in digital media. She’s worked with global names like Microsoft, Samsung, News Corp and General Assembly, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping clients solve their business needs with creative and data-driven solutions. Get in touch today to jump on a free consultation call to find out how Rachel can help you.