Anyone who has handled a page for a business/brand on Facebook knows that organic reach (getting your message to your audience without running adverts) has slowed down considerably in the last few years.
A multitude of factors is responsible for this. According to a report by Zephoria: Facebook was averaging 2.32 billion MAU (monthly active users) in 2018.
This has meant that its News Feed (the service by which users are served stories and updates) became clogged with updates.
This put many users off the site which alarmed the company. In 2018, the algorithm governing News Feed was tweaked.
Users are now served content posted by friends & families more than marketing content. As a result, the reach of Fan Pages has decreased greatly.
According to Hubspot; in 2014, the social media giant was serving content from Fan Pages (business accounts) to just 16% of its users. This number has over the years, reduced even further.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal and concerns over privacy have forced the company to prioritize content from the Friends & Family network over marketing content.
The desire to leverage financially on its huge audience has seen the company switch from being an organic growth platform to a paid growth platform.
What this means for Business & Content Marketing
For big businesses with huge advertising budgets, this isn’t so bad. With an average spend of 5400 Naira ($14.97), they can reach between 3000-17000 users daily.
For small businesses and content marketers working with smaller budgets, this is disastrous. An inability to spend big on Facebook Ads has led to a massive decrease in lead generation and conversion.
It is no longer uncommon to hear business owners/page managers complain about getting no new likes in months despite posting consistently.
Even pages which had established a solid following before the changes have been affected. These accounts have seen a massive drop in growth, followership, and income.
5 Ways to “beat the system”
These moves by Facebook has led to brands having to become creative in how they use the platform.
There has been a massive surge in the number of businesses; big and small now active on Twitter.
Other have stayed the course and have increased their advert spend. With 2.32 billion active monthly users, NO business can afford to ignore Facebook.
Here are five ways you can achieve the desired results within the new framework:
Take Advantage of Facebook’s Advertising Capabilities
Facebook has evolved over the years. As a result, its capabilities for offering actionable data/analysis has gotten better. This means that when a business runs an advert/promotion on the platform, the analytics available offer great insights in terms of what works and what does not work.
Here are some of the things your business can use to get more traction:
- Audience Insights: This is a tool which helps you narrow down your potential clients. It helps marketers/business owners specify the kinds of people they want their advert to target thereby, assuring a higher conversion rate.
- Lookalike Audiences: As the name suggests, this tool allows for the targeting of audiences similar to the ones a business already has. This is great for helping businesses target prospective clients quicker than before.
Businesses which have their websites up and running have some tools they can use to increase the potential audience/returns for Facebook adverts. These are:
- Website Audience: for targetting people who have already visited your website.
- Facebook Exchange: retargeted ads for Facebook users who have visited certain pages on your website.
- Conversion Tracking: analysis of how well/badly an advert performed.
The great thing about these tools is that most of them are easy to understand/analyze for anyone with even the most basic knowledge of analytics and digital marketing.
Get Better/More Creative with Content
Even as the reach of organic content has slowed (and will eventually die), content still remains an important part of marketing on Facebook.
This is because the Search option on the platform still categorizes each piece of content. Therefore, a user searching for specific information will still get the answers most closely related to the keywords in the query.
To stand out in this regard, businesses need to become more intentional with what they put up on Facebook. Gone are the days of regular, unspecified, general posts.
Posts should be selective (addressing a specific issue or idea) and targetted (created with a specific audience in mind).
These two guidelines will help in the creation of content that users would find interesting enough to want to consume.
Videos, Videos, and even more Videos
Everyone and their dog know that video is the best way to reach potential customers on the web. It has been shown that people are more likely to take the time to watch a video that pops up in their News Feed rather than read text or check a picture/infographic.
In a 2017 study by Qunitly, it was revealed that native videos (videos posted directly on Facebook and not from a third-party site like Youtube) get 8x more comments and an amazing 186% engagement rate compared to other forms of content.
Businesses need to hop on this and get creative with their video marketing. Regular (at least twice a week) posting of original content tailored to encourage interaction; shares, likes and comments are necessary.
I have seen amazing conversion numbers from sign-up links on videos. This form of content even outstrips promotional giveaways depending on the emotional connection users have to the video in question.
Teach Your Followers how to Stay in Touch
This sounds really basic. Unfortunately, it is often ignored by business pages. At the end of almost every post, remind your followers of how they can stay in touch to get your updates almost instantly.
Youtube and LinkedIn users are proficient at this but the reverse seems to be the case on Facebook.
At the end/beginning of every post, it is important to remind your audience that:
- They can get to see your latest posts the minute they drop by enabling notifications on their devices (desktop/mobile).
- Remind them to check out your page by always looking to the Pages Feed on the left sidebar of their News Feed. This shows them, content from Pages they’ve Liked.
- Ask for users to drop a comment, like or share the post.
Use Facebook Live/Stories More
Instagram Stories has been a big hit for businesses on the visual-content platform. Facebook Stories are along the same lines. However, it seems a lot of businesses are yet to tap into this very rich vein.
These stories appear at the top of the page whenever a user logs into Facebook. This means that your business can be the first thing that thousands of your followers see when they log in.
Post interesting and engaging content (preferably in video format and less than the allotted 20 seconds).
Facebook Live was introduced in 2017 as the platform’s answer to YouTube. Given the 2.3 billion active users it has monthly, the advantages of using this live stream protocol are almost endless.
Regular live events where followers can get to interact with the business are a great way of building a loyal fanbase. Facebook Live can be seen by lots of people outside the existing followers/audience.
Organic growth using content is dying on Facebook. However, smart business owners/marketers can leverage these tips to make the most of the situation