Digging through my old marketing blog and refreshing and reposting ideas that somehow are still relevant almost a decade later.
Here’s the first in the series from 2013.
Today, we’re going to delve into an issue that’s affecting every single user, brand and marketer on Facebook.
You may have seen (or not seen) some of these types of posts on Facebook recently.
Over the years Facebook has become a popular marketing channel for businesses because it connects us, the users, to the things and people we, theoretically, like.
Yes, often we get an influx of posts we don’t like and have to unsubscribe or unfollow a few bad eggs, but for the most part if you take the time to curate your newsfeed Facebook does a relatively decent job of filtering out a lot of the noise. But issues do come up…
Say you have 300 friends on Facebook and you also like another 30 pages. If you saw every post that’s made in one day by all of your connections it would take an incredibly long time to sift through everything.
So Facebook says, “Hey, we’ll show you the stuff you like based on your liking habits and also because we follow you around the internet to see what you really like.”
For the most part, this works pretty well. The more you like people’s posts the more you’ll see them.
But there’s more to this equation than Facebook just being a benevolent digital entity that shows you all the stuff you love and none of the stuff you hate, right?
Yes, Facebook wants to make sure you see the stuff you like on Facebook. And yes, Facebook also want to make sure you don’t see the stuff you don’t like. But, Facebook also wants to make money. And let’s be clear here, Facebook’s main goal is to make money. The primary way Facebook makes money is via their ad network.
Let’s not forget, Google made $15.7 billion last year and the majority of that is from their ad revenue. Facebook knows this and they want in.
Now, if you’ve run a Facebook Brand Page you’re familiar with “Promoted Posts” and targeted ads.
The goal here is to get people to pay to get messages in front of users eyeballs. Pretty straightforward, right?
Not if you’ve been building up an audience of Facebook for a few years and now during the best of times no more than 5% of your audience will see any given post you make.
The issue with Facebook’s current strategy is they charge page managers so they can get content in front of user’s faces.
The same users who’ve already raised their digital hands and indicated they want that relationship.
And yeah, this kinda sucks, but as Facebook grows they’re going to have to continue to set up filters to determine what people see.
They’ll also continue to prioritize posts that have been paid for. It’s a little deceptive to limit what your audience sees, but as we’ve seen, some degree of filtering is necessary.
The broader issue is how can a small business or brand compete with a company that’s investing $50k/mo on Facebook ads?
The short answer is, they can’t. But there are some things the little guy can do to still leverage Facebook effectively.
Here’s a little tip to get some extra attention on Facebook. I recently completed 1 month of test of scheduled posts for several Facebook brand pages that have sizable followings (260k, 140k and 50k “likes” respectively).
It turned out that far less people see scheduled posts than ones made in real-time. This isn’t a huge sample size and it wasn’t over an extended period of time, making it anecdotal, but he site analytics’ showed when in doubt, schedule in real-time.
(Note: Since this article was originally published in 2012, it’s become clear that paying for reach has become the lynchpin of Facebook’s business. So alas, I concede, sometimes you must pay…)
I look at paid posts on Facebook much the same way I view the whole Organic vs GMO issue in the food arena.
For me, organic is always best.
Yes, you can reach more people by paying for posts but those connections tend to weaker than people who naturally find and resonate with what you’re putting out there.
Much like genetically modified crops there can also be nasty side-effects from using paid posts on Facebook, like becoming overly reliant on paying for digital attention.
Although the web is viewed as an instant success type of platform the reality is, building up a solid digital entity requires a healthy dose of both patience and diligence.
Understandably, many page owners who have large audiences are in an uproar.
If there’s one main takeaway it’s to never become heavily reliant on just one acquisition channel.
If you’re using social media as part of a broader marketing strategy make sure to diversify the channels you use and make sure you prioritize building your brand organically.