Is your Facebook marketing primarily centered around gaining new fans?
Are you looking at Facebook Reach as one of your primary measurements of Facebook success?
If so, it's time to move on! The reality is that Facebook has changed and your marketing needs to change to be effective. It's time to change your Facebook marketing to what works today.
In this article you’ll discover what has changed and what every business needs to know to change your Facebook marketing to what works today!
One of the biggest changes on Facebook in 2014 was the decline of Reach.
Reach is the amount of Facebook users that see a post a Page publishes. This started with Facebook making changes to their algorithm in early 2014, and has continued with further updates.
More than 70 percent of all companies across 104 industry designations had a decline in organic reach of 30 percent or more in the past year! Most businesses that are new to Facebook marketing assume that the majority of fans see their posts, and it comes as a great shock to learn this is not the case.
In April 2014, Facebook announced a change to try and provide better quality content in the Newsfeed by cracking down on what they called "Like-Baiting" posts by Pages. This was aimed at stopping Pages from trying to "game" engagement by getting fans to comment in a way that wasn't natural or authentic. See the example below of the type of image post Facebook wanted to eliminate.
Finally, one of the most significant changes in the last half of 2014 was the announcement and November 5 implementation of a ban on the use of "Like Gates". Facebook's developer blog outlined the following:
You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.
This impacted the common practice by many businesses of "gating" content and special offers so that visitors needed to "Like" the page to gain access. Since "Likes" were a primary measure that many businesses used to evaluate the "success" of their marketing on Facebook, this removed one main method that those marketers could use.
All of these changes impacted the core of what many Facebook marketers focused on: measuring success on Facebook by tracking reach and fan growth. My position is that the focus on these items needs to end so I'm fine with the changes that Facebook has made! Not sold on my opinion? Facebook Ad's expert Jon Loomer adds his voice to this cause of ending focus on superficial metrics of reach and Like as well in, "It May Be Time for You to Quit Marketing on Facebook."
Marketers need to stop focusing solely on their "Facebook marketing" and shift their focus broader to their overall integrated online marketing plan!
[Tweet "Marketers need to stop focusing solely on "Facebook marketing" & shift focus to an overall integrated online plan! via @mike_gingerich]
So what are Facebook marketers to do in a "Post Like-Gate" world?
The answer is that they must adjust and focus on a complete marketing plan! Marketers should not focus on Facebook alone in their marketing. Gone are the days of "How can I develop a great Facebook strategy?" and they must be replaced by "What role can Facebook play in my overall online marketing strategy?"
Facebook experts like Alex Houg and Dennis Yu of Portage outline this type of strategy as "omni-channel" marketing, where a three campaign system includes Facebook but also includes so much more. At the core of this type of strategy is content. Quality, helpful content is the driver from which all other aspects can then flow.
Content is what you create on your blog and in your resource center. It is primarily articles and posts that answer questions and offer resources. While text based contest is the core, it can and should also include videos and visuals like infographics as well. In integrated online marketing, your website content is your foundation!
Today's Facebook marketers need to be producing content of value on their sites that they can share. Quality content is much more important than whether post reach is down by 15%. More on why that is the case later on in this article!
Sharing Quality Content:
With regular, quality content being created, the sharing of this to social media networks, including Facebook, then becomes a key means of outreach. This helps a business build their audience and engage their audience around the content they have created, and, it helps drive traffic back to the website!
An integrated online strategy that includes Facebook will utilize Facebook to drive traffic to the businesses' website. The website should be the "home base" and the core focus of one's online strategy, and Facebook becomes an area to increase the exposure of your website content, as well as a way to interact with fans around your content topic. When that content is high quality and of value as resource, without being overly sales focused, it provides the foundation for the next step in new Facebook marketing: amplification.
Amplification of Top Content with Ads:
Facebook provides a tremendous opportunity for any business to reach their idea customer audience. The targeting provided in the Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor enable any business to overcome organic reach limits, and reach with laser accuracy the demographics desired. From location to job titles, income levels to interests, it is amazing the precision that is possible!
Many marketers on Facebook in the past have been reluctant to use Ads, thinking that Facebook is a free platform and they should not have to use ads. However, those same marketers are willing to spend for other types of marketing such as Google Adwords and social media management tools. It's time that those marketers realize that there is tremendous value and opportunity in being able to reach your ideal customer audience with your best content!
Facebook Ads can and should be used as part of today's integrated online marketing strategy. Even with a modest budget of $30 per month, ads are valuable because of the precision targeting available.
I recommend using ads for two types of posts on Facebook. The first type is specific content that is tied to your overall online marketing strategies. When sharing a quality post that can help your audience move to your website, this is valuable and worthy of using ads for. The Ad type to select from for this purpose is the "Send people to your website" type. (For more help on setup of Facebook Ads, go here.)
The second type of post to use Facebook Ads for is a post that has sparked quality engagement. By example, look at the image below. This small business was sharing photos from a recently completed project and the post received some initial comments and likes. Based on this positive momentum on the post, the company decided to then amplify the ad to their ideal audience. This resulted in further comments, engagement, and tremendous reach. It's a matter of piggybacking on what is already working to extend it even further!
A more recent change on Facebook is the value Facebook is placing on native Facebook video. By this I mean videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook and shared. These types of videos have been found by Facebook to be of interest to users, who are more actively engaging with them.
With new video ad tools and video features for Pages having been rolled out in the past few months, Facebook is placing a priority on videos and Page managers can use that to their advantage now to increase the means and methods to reach their fans. I've conducted a number of informal tests on Facebook Pages I run and Facebook native video has performed better, in terms of reach and engagement, than the same video on YouTube shared to Facebook, and in comparison to all other post types (text, link, and photo). Generally, I've gotten 30% to 200% more reach on videos loaded to Facebook, as well as more clicks, comments and, of course, views!
The reason I love Facebook video uploads now is that it offers a "Call to Action" tool so that I can connect a web page URL directly to a button call-out at the end of the video and use the power of the extended reach of the video to drive viewers to the web page of my choice!
On your Facebook Page simply click to add a "Photo/Video", and when prompted load the video. Note the optional "Add a Call to Action" link that appears.
Click on the link and this then give you multiple options for the button wording that will appear at the end of your video. Select the one that is most appropriate. I selected, "Learn More". I then entered in the destination URL I wanted visitors to go to when they clicked the button. Facebook then pulls in the URL data like any link post.
Then the video can be posted to Facebook and after a viewer watches the video, the Call to Action will appear and when clicked it takes the viewer to the web page that was designated.
Basically, video is catching on with Facebook and Facebook users, and so savvy marketers will make the adjustments necessary to integrate and test this feature for their Pages to see if it merits further use. I am using it more to announce new blog post and podcast episodes, directly linking to the URL after I give it a introduction in my short video.
The third part of the integrated marketing funnel is the conversion funnel. After building and reaching your ideal audience with quality content and bringing them to your web properties, then using lead capture methods to move fans and visitors to your email list is the next step. When this occurs, marketing automation with automated email nurture campaigns can help solidify the relationship with the potential customer, build further trust, and ultimately allow for the sales offer.
Lead capture methods can vary by industry as to what will work best. It can be coupons or ebooks, webinars, or other resources. Read more on Lead Capture options >>
The key is twofold, first, offering an incentive of enough value that the user is willing to enter their name and email. Then, secondly, ensuring that a well thought through email nurture and marketing automation plan is in place to provide additional resources that move the relationship to one of trust where the visitor is ultimately confident in doing business with one's company.
In this example below, the blog serves as a resource center for outdoor living design. While the products they offer are lattice to use with fencing, decks, railings, pergola's and more, the content is of value to many, it is then shared on Facebook, and when visitors come to the site they have opportunity to receive a free download that adds them to a email nurture campaign.
This model shows the steps of an integrated Facebook marketing approach that includes a thorough strategy connecting content on the website with Facebook posts, lead capture, and email nurture. In combination, this provides a powerful online means to reach and connect with potential customers. I recommend that businesses using Facebook also use two of the best tools that are available now, Facebook Ads and Facebook video, to help increase their post visibility and getting in front of their exact ideal audience.
So what about you?
Are you moving on from targeting only fan growth and watching reach, and integrating your online marketing where tracking leads capture and website traffic from Facebook become more powerful measures of success?