It’s about to get weird.
Facebook recently announced that business pages will soon see the organic reach of their posts drop off. Organic reach is the level at which your content is seen, liked, shared and commented on without any paid enhancement. In Facebook’s document entitled “Generating business results on Facebook” they acknowledge the impending drop-off in organic reach and follow it with an ad pitch; marketers/social media managers are told they should consider paid distribution “to maximize delivery of your message in the news feed.”
“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.”
Um, yeah. The Facebook changes we’ve seen in the last few weeks show a considerable decline in many pages’ organic reach. This latest announcement supports what we’ve witnessed.
In other words, not only do you have to pay to grow your likes but now you must pay to show those people your content – all of it. As a user and as a marketer I disagree with this approach. It could lead to an exodus of both users and marketers. But as with all things Facebook changes are a constant. Perhaps they’ll pull back on this stance. It does seem to go against everything they’ve stood for in the past.
For now, Facebook is still an ideal place to go to market to your business. What you have to figure out now is how you’ll be able to continue to effectively attract fans and engage them to generate leads and sales without losing your shorts or looking spammy.
There is no time to waste. As your organic reach dwindles, you must get serious about your content. Those pages who outsource social media services (ie: companies that post content for you that’s mediocre at best) will have to up their game.
I see three clear solutions to these latest Facebook changes. Make sure you have one (or all) of these in place…yesterday.
1. Post highly engaging, shareable, interesting and useful content.
It’s no longer appropriate to post the same kind of posts that other pages do. You’ve seen them: people standing in front of their new car, benign posts from the manufacturer, etc. With today’s Facebook (and the entire Web) you must know everything there is to know about your business’ personality and your customers’ identity. If you haven’t done that yet and need help, hire someone to help you create a defined content strategy that will work for every customer consideration stage of the buying process.
Once you’ve got that content strategy and plan in place, you can create content that will attract your ideal customer. Since Facebook is pushing this idea of “pay to play”, you’ll be able to use your highly engaging, shareable, interesting and useful content in your ads.
2. Develop a strategy to locate and reach out to your advocates and influencers.
Yep, you’re going to have to get creative. Do you have a list of your Raving Fans? These are people who’ve purchased from you before and keep coming back. Does anyone in your organization pay attention to them? Now’s the time to start. Incorporating advocates and influencers in your content marketing plan allows them to tell your story. We all know that talking about (ie: advertising) ourselves is the norm but when others communicate our message for us, it’s so much more compelling.
3. Start a business blog and post at least twice a week.
If Facebook’s decisions on their revenue model end up pushing users and marketers to other platforms, be ready for these changes by publishing your own relevant, interesting content on your blog. Ultimately, you want to drive users who are ready to buy to your website. Nothing attracts all users and all search engines like fresh content. Even those who aren’t in the market to buy right now will appreciate that you’re providing expert advice with your blog. Syndicate it on the social media platforms where your targeted customers spend time. There will always be a place where people congregate. Be ready, be flexible.
The only constant in social media marketing is change. By now you should be ready to adapt to everything that comes your way. If you’ve been listening to what I and many others have been saying for the past few years and taken action, you’ll be in good shape. If not, what are you waiting for?