Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you know that Facebook has been diligently working on ways to improve the newsfeed. To keep the newsfeed relevant, Facebook tweaks its algorithms regularly to keep more people on Facebook. They’ve shifted it so that promoted content is getting greater visibility. Facebook is getting serious about revenue and it’s time you should too.
One of the actions Facebook has taken is to address the growing number of users who are liking more and more business pages. Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. As a user’s likes increase, that means more content in their newsfeed. The problem then for Facebook is how to decipher exactly what content is the MOST relevant for that user. It’s clearly now the content that businesses pay for to get seen.
As the newsfeed gets more and more crowded, it only goes to figure that Facebook charge for that prime real estate. What this means for businesses is that the Facebook free lunch is over.
It should be! How much longer did people think they could get by with using Facebook as a squatter? They’ve had many years to recognize the value and start utilizing Facebook and other social media to reach customers and prospects.
Those that have waited on the sidelines are kicking themselves. Yesterday’s free tactics to build your page and your community now cost money, just like all other forms of marketing. Now that it’s going to cost you to do what you used to be able to do for free, it’s time to get serious about your Facebook marketing results.
When you talk about visibility and exposure on Facebook, there are two kinds reach: Organic and Paid. Facebook made this announcement recently:
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”
Many saw this and said, “Organic reach is dead.” During the week of that announcement, pages saw a significant drop in Organic reach: an average of 44%. We saw this with many clients, although some had a less significant drop. Facebook had announced previously that pages’ Organic reach on average was 16%. Since this latest announcement however we’ve seen pages Organic reach go as low as 3%.
Is Organic reach really dead? No, but you’d be smart to look much closer at what you’re doing on social media, how it’s paying off and reallocate some budget for Facebook ads.
What does this mean for 2014? It means that you must continue to refine your content strategy, publish relevant content and pay closer attention to your mix of organic and paid promotion. If you’re not utilizing Facebook ads, it’s time to start. If you are and maybe you’re not seeing the results you expected, here are 3 important factors that lead to success with Facebook ads:
1. Size of your audience
Facebook ads can increase in cost as you increase your fan base. Promoted posts from pages with 300 fans cost significantly less than pages with 3,000 or 30,000. You’ll want to budget for ad spend depending on your goals and the size of your pages’ audience:
- New page: weight your spend more toward growing your audience
- Established page: weight your spend toward increased engagement and specific campaigns.
Make sure you target people within your market area. These are the people most likely to buy from you.
You’ll want to track your cost per acquisition (CPA). Fan acquisition can be anywhere from $10+ down to 19 cents or below. Keeping this cost down takes serious expertise so be prepared to seek help if you’re new or you’re spending a lot and not seeing results.
2. How likable your industry or business is in general
I volunteer at a horse rescue and part of my promise to them is running their Facebook page. After spending the bulk of my time with car dealership social marketing, I must say it is significantly easier to build fans and develop a community when you’re talking about saving horses from inhumane treatment.
I don’t have to tell you that car dealerships have an extra layer of difficulty raising positive awareness around their store and compelling those that are connected to stay engaged. However, it’s totally possible to have a vibrant dealership Facebook page to reflect the fun, inviting culture of your business (provided it’s that way in real life).
Facebook ads are vital when you have a business that isn’t particularly likable. Tap into the platform to get the word out about how awesome it is to do business with you!
3. The quality of your ad creative
You never get a second chance to create a good first impression. Creative ads make people look twice.
Facebook ad creativity is where a lot of businesses fall short. Working with a content strategy coach helps. Make sure you have these components worked out:
- Engaging image
- Compelling text with a call-to-action
- Targeted audience
- Ad placement
Again, the more creative you are with these principles, the better your results. The more you refine your creative the more cost effective your ads will be. Don’t be afraid of asking for help from an expert. I’ve had many clients who’ve never created an ad before get great results.
With Organic reach shifting, explore the Facebook ads platform for your business. Be prepared for every change that Facebook (and other social networks) throws at you. When you’ve got a solid content strategy and a clear paid promotion plan, you won’t have to suffer every time Facebook changes something else.