By now, most marketers have read about Facebook demoting overly promotional content from brand pages. It is being seen as the latest blow to marketers by the world’s largest social network.
In case you missed it, Facebook describes the content being demoted as:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds. Facebook is also further limiting organic reach. Reports have shown that Facebook page posts already only reach about 2 percent of current fans (a number that was falling by .5 percent per month in 2014). And interaction with posts is even lower. Facebook’s latest announcement will certainly make these numbers even worse.
As an eternal optimist, I’m looking for the silver lining here. You’ve heard the bad news; now here’s the good news.
1. Good content marketing still wins on Facebook
Any self-respecting marketer already knows that content fitting the “overly promotional” description doesn’t work. At rbb, we know good content isn’t self-serving. It tells a story, creates a journey and invites audiences along for the ride. It puts the customer needs front and center, provides value and solves a problem.
We’ve never pushed overly promotional content on our clients’ pages, so we shouldn’t notice much “punishment” from Facebook in our day-to-day content. (That said, we are revisiting how we approach contests, sweepstakes and promotions). The new playing field is going to quickly weed out the losers from the winners, but we see this as an opportunity to further enrich our audiences’ experience and make sure our content is enticing and brings value.
2. Embrace Facebook advertising, because social media was never really free
Yes, advertising. If organic reach isn’t performing and Facebook is an important piece of your marketing pie (and I’m not saying it has to be – see #3), then a targeted paid Facebook campaign, including ads and promoted posts, might be necessary. It may seem counterintuitive to pay to reach a decent portion of your already-enrolled community. But with 1,500 potential stories appearing on each individual’s News Feed daily, your content will not always cut through. A little push can go a long way.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket
Taking an integrated marketing approach means selecting the best tools from our toolbox for the job at hand – and we have endless options. The best strategies for reaching tangible business objectives are never going to rely on a single network, even if it is Facebook. (Especially now.) Luckily, we know our way around all the other social networks for delivering content, not to mention a host of marketing tactics and owned digital spaces. (See #4.)
4) Own your engagement
Call me a control freak, but I’d rather put more resources into online platforms we can own, like campaign microsites or landing pages. According to a recent AdWeek article, clicks to brand-owned-and-operated sites doubled between 2012 and 2013 from 28 percent to 57 percent. Meanwhile, clicks that ended at Facebook dwindled from 31 percent to 10 percent.
In the last year, rbb has created 100 percent more websites, microsites and landing pages that are working hard for our for clients. Most of our online advertising and email campaigns are designed to drive traffic to those sites, not Facebook. When you create your own community via your brand site and email database, it’s yours and no algorithm can take it away. On your own online assets, you can create customer loyalty programs and offer deals and promotions without limitations on reach. And while you’re at it, you can house your good content and customer engagement on there, too – uniquely, creatively and independently.
My colleague Abdul often speaks in metaphors, so here’s one for him. When you’re on Facebook, you’re renting versus owning your home. If you rent an apartment, your landlord calls the shots. If you own your own place, you can paint your living room gold and have a party in your hot tub without asking permission or forgiveness.
I say pass the party favors and turn up the music!
Social is as social does. If you need help navigating the new social web, rbb is here to help. We offer a 90-day introductory Breakout Campaign to get you started.