04 Mar Is Organic Facebook Marketing Dead?
Like it or not, Facebook is still the largest social media network, with over 2.5 BILLION monthly users. Last year, the UK population spent just under 2 hours per day on social media. As a smart marketer, you know it’s a good idea to put your brand where it can be seen by the biggest (relevant) audience. So Facebook marketing should be a no brainer.
In 2020, 80% of marketers say one of their key objectives is to increase social media engagement.
On the surface of it, this should be straightforward. With an ever-increasing potential audience, your engagement and lead generation should continuously be increasing, right?
If you’ve been in social media marketing for a while, you’ve probably seen your organic reach and engagement decreasing over the years. If you’re new to the industry, you may be questioning whether you’re doing something wrong.
It’s (probably) not you. It’s the platforms.
Social media algorithms are the codes that decide which posts appear at the top of your newsfeed. These codes are continually evolving to provide users with the best possible experience on the platform. One of these features is now to protect individuals being inundated with marketing messages.
Mark Zuckerberg summarised their current strategy when he said,
“Recently, we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
Each platform has different elements that get prioritised, so it’s worth knowing the intricacies and best practice for each platform.
For example, Facebook’s current algorithm settings:
- Prioritise content from friends and family members over businesses
- Heavily prioritise content from people you interact with (whose posts you comment and like, or who you message)
- Prioritises number of reactions and variety of reactions
- Shows both recent content from your top friends and highly engaged content from friends that you personally engage with less often
This is why you tend to see everything your best friend or Mum (unfortunately) posts, and less from brands whose page you’ve liked.
These changes mean that the number of fans that a brand can reach with one of their organic Facebook posts is probably down to just 2% of their overall following. To put it another way, if you have 100 followers, typically, only 2 people will see your post. Not an ideal way to spread your message.
In addition to making social media more ‘social’ again. There is a second, more cynical reason. By reducing the efficacy of organic posts, Facebook is encouraging brands to use sponsored social media campaigns to promote themselves. This is understandable really, they are businesses after all, why offer something for free when you can make people pay for it?
So I should stop posting on Facebook?
Short answer, No.
Although the audience of your organic content may not be as big as it was in the good old days, it can still play a vital role within your marketing mix. Here are 7 reasons why you should continue to post organically:
Adding authenticity to your sponsored posts.
We are living in the fake news age, you can set up a business with just a few clicks. A swathe of snake oil salespeople exist on social media. They use a mix of sponsored ads and retargeting to can create a convincing value proposition with minimal effort.
Clicking through onto these snake oil profiles will typically reveal a shell of a business. However, having regular, high-quality organic content. Visitors will clearly see that you are a legitimate business and can be trusted.
Supporting your sponsored content
You have put together a strategic sponsored campaign to achieve a specific result. You may want to raise awareness of your brand, get more engagement with your content, page likes or clicks to a landing page.
If you’re spending a budget on getting more attention, it’s logical that your Facebook page will also receive more clicks as people check out the business behind the ad.
Organic posts enable you to add some meat to the bones of your paid content strategy, showing your personality, expertise and telling the story of your business in greater detail than you can in a single sponsored post or video.
For example, if you’re a shoe manufacturer, your sponsored campaign could be promoting a sale of your product. This would naturally focus on price. Your organic content would complement this by informing people about the heritage of your brand, the quality of your product, and what makes you unique.
When ranking pages, Google will pull all the information about a brand name that it can find with its crawlers to help determine the authority that a particular domain possesses.
Typically, social media pages are one of the first results that show up. A strong, active social footprint can directly contribute to domain credibility and a good search engine ranking.
Creating brand advocates
Your reach may have decreased over the years, but your posts will still be seen by some of your audience. How can you make the most of this?
Creating content that encourages discussion means that when someone shares or comments on your post, that person’s friends, family and people that engage with their content (remember the algorithm) will see your post. Learn what your audience likes and what they will engage with, and you can beat the system.
If you see fewer engagements on your posts, embrace quality, not quality as your social media mantra. Engage with these people, establish relationships. Treat them like the VIPs that they are. You will notice that this treatment brings repeated commenters, who become fans, who become customers, who become advocates who help spread your message.
Customers expect to be able to contact you.
63% of buyers expect a business to provide customer service via social media. If you don’t have this service, you can expect your digital reputation to take a hit and to potentially see your brand badmouthed online.
If visitors to your page see that your last post was 6 months ago, they are likely to assume that your brand has abandoned the page (or even gone out of business). This isn’t a good look for inspiring consumer confidence or future purchases.
Facebook loves video and definitely prioritises it over other post types.
Want to post shorter, longer or live videos? Facebook loves that.
Just don’t post Youtube links. As a rival Google product, Facebook does it’s best to push Youtube links down, ensuring that they get as little attention as possible. If you’re a business that is posting Youtube links, you should be prepared for the worst. Where possible, post the video natively to Facebook.
The most recent Facebook algorithms favour content in groups. This is definitely something to bear in mind. We’re not suggesting that you gatecrash every group you can think of and start spamming your marketing message. That’s a surefire way to annoy everyone. If you have a local area group, why not become active there?
What does your target audience like? Do some research, find some groups and start engaging.
You cannot post in a group as a business. As a result, it’s worth considering an employee advocacy programme. Making your staff aware of what is going to be posted, when and encouraging them to share it is a good strategy. Your colleagues will also put their own spin on the marketing messages, making your brand seem authentic and full of personality. Providing you work with friendly people, this can only be a good thing.
Organic Facebook marketing isn’t dead, it’s just changed. You need to accept it’s probably not going to make your brand millions, but it can play a crucial supporting role. If you’re smart about it and take advantage of the changes to what is prioritised, you can still achieve decent engagement and reach.