Recently, Eat24, a food delivery service, made a lot of noise on social media for writing a break-up letter to Facebook and closing down its Facebook page a few days after.
It’s a PR and SEO ploy—and for the most part, it worked.
But as I’ve written in a recent LinkedIn post, Eat24 made a huge mistake leaving Facebook. The social network is still, by far, the biggest. And for B2C, it still has the most engagement compared to Twitter or Google+.
If, like Eat 24, you’re worried about Facebook reach, here are some tips I shared on my LinkedIn post that you should play with before you even think about closing your Facebook page:
- Try different post formats.Looking at Eat24’s Facebook page, I immediately noticed that they post memes. A lot of memes, actually. But Facebook recently has announced that they’re more inclined to show “more high quality” content. That should have been a clear sign to any company to post fewer memes.
Facebook pages that successfully use memes—pages such as George Takei’s—are few and far between. Also, memes can only build a relationship up to a point. Relationships are about people, not about photos with ironic captions.
There are a lot of other ways you can show your brand’s quirky side without resorting to memes. Try photos around your office and put the spotlight on the people behind your brand. Make your customers the star and feature them once in a while. Share interesting news from external sources about your industry.
Memes are only one format that social media managers can play with. But if you insist on using memes, networks such as Tumblr and Google+ might be a better fit as well.
- Create a clear picture of who has liked your Facebook page.
In one of the pages I manage, Facebook Insights make it clear that our fan base is mostly made up of employees and people who’d like to work for the company. That helps direct the type of content I share.Yes, having a small reach sucks, but remember that it’s in Facebook’s best interest to show people content that they would like. Facebook is not necessarily out to get you: they want to show only the truly engaging stuff to its users.
If you know what makes people tick, you’re more likely to produce something that Facebook would like. Dig in to your analytics and better understand the people who have liked your page. Content marketing is about knowing people, so understanding your audience is first step in winning on Facebook.
- Figure out what “engaging” means for our community.
Earlier this year, Facebook provided some info on what makes an engaging post. They said links that are shared using link-share (as opposed to links shared via status updates) get more engagement. They also said that text-only updates on Facebook pages are likely to have lower reach.But Facebook also noted that every community is different. “[I]t depends on who your audience is and what they want to see,” Facebook wrote in the article.Facebook’s point is that there is no one way of gaming the system. Tell your story using a variety of media—photos, videos, links, etc.—and then see which ones your community responds to.
- Diversify how we’re reaching our customers and fans.
If you’re very upset that Facebook isn’t showing your updates to all your fans, you may be putting all (or too many) of your eggs in one basket.From my experience, Facebook has never been a big lead generator. It’s good for brand awareness, yes, but people don’t necessarily want to be sold to on Facebook. That’s why I tell businesses to also build communities outside Facebook.One thing every business must do is to find a way to reach customers outside of social networks. Creating an email database (and sending engaging and relevant email newsletters) is one way of doing this. If your business can afford, building a private online community of customers is another option. Social media is just one way of engaging and talking to your customers.
- Tag other pages.
When you tag other pages, Facebook may show the post to the people who like or follow the tagged page. I don’t recommend doing this frequently, but this might be a good tactic to build relationships with other pages as well as to organically increase your reach.
Yes, I am recommending the “A” word. Newsflash: Facebook is not a charity project. In fact, the site doesn’t owe marketers a dime. If anything, Facebook is already offering brands too much for free.The social business has matured, and paid media is just naturally part of the mix now.Social media marketing in 2014 is all about converged media: a mix of owned, earnedand paid media. So yes, instead of complaining, why not allocate a few bucks every month or so and give advertising a try?When you advertise though, make sure that you have a business goal in mind. Increasing your Facebook following and reach is not a business goal. Make sure there’s some sort of conversion, whether that means getting people to sign up for a trial of your product, getting them to sign up for your newsletters, or actually convincing them to buy your stuff. If Facebook advertising isn’t working for you, it’s probably because you’re not really thinking through the process.
Advertising on Facebook can be a lot cheaper than doing so on print, TV or radio. Businesses have been advertising for decades now—why do marketers think it’s a bad thing to do on Facebook?
Before complaining about Facebook reach and advertising, social media marketers should make sure first that they are doing everything they can to make the best use of this platform. In social, just like in life, change is the only constant: if Facebook isn’t working for you anymore, perhaps it’s time to try something new.
Photo credit: Scott Beale