Any brand with a Facebook page has noticed a steady decline in reach in recent months. Facebook let us know that this was coming, promising that the change was all about improving user experience and not about making money.
A recent blog post by Facebook's Ads Product Marketing team lead Brian Boland set out to answer some questions that marketers and brand page owners might have about reach. There’s not much in the way of new information included, but this paragraph caught my attention:
Ok, there’s more content now. But what’s the value of having more people like my Page? I paid good money for my fans on Facebook, and now I can’t reach as many of them.
Fans absolutely have value.
• Fans make your ads more effective. When an ad has social context — in other words, when a person sees their friend likes your business — your ads drive, on average, 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift.
• Fans also make the ads you run on Facebook more efficient in our ads auction. Ads with social context are a signal of positive quality of the ad, and lead to better auction prices.
• You can use insights about your fans — like where they live, and their likes and interests — to inform decisions about reaching your current and prospective customers
• Fans can give your business credibility
Fans may represent your best customers, but it’s important to note that they don’t represent all of your customers or potential customers. For example, if your auto dealership has 5,000 fans, those fans represent only a fraction of the people that matter to your business. Fans can help you achieve your business objectives on Facebook, but having fans should not be thought of as an end unto itself.
The first and last bullets, that fans add social context and fans give the business credibility, are a bit of a stretch. Bullet two is only beneficial to page owners if they are purchasing ads, so there is an added investment involved. The third bullet holds true, provided you have not used too many gimmicks to “purchase” fans that would not otherwise have interest in your product or service.
This paragraph immediately follows:
So, how should I use Facebook for my business?
Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.
Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals. Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space. Similarly, paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content.
So there it is — think of Facebook as a place to inform customers about your business, keep them up to date on sales and drive them to actions you want them to take elsewhere (in-store sales, app downloads, etc.).
Most importantly, we need to begin to recognize that Facebook is “like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform” and requires paid media to be most effective.
If you have questions about how to use Facebook, social media or digital channels for effective marketing, get in touch with BFG Communications.