We’ve all seen the decline of organic reach for Facebook pages.
I have it on good authority from inside sources on Facebook that it will continue to drop for commercial pages. Inside sources predict that organic reach will hit 0% for non-boosted corporate updates in a not too distant future.
Also, Facebook advises against paid campaigns aiming to get more likes for your page. Having many fans connected to your page simply won’t help you as much as it once did. Today that relationship between the user and the company is rather a data point used for paid targeting, not for organic reach.
Facebook is rapidly turning into an advertising platform for native content. How will this affect your Facebook strategy? There’s an ongoing debate on whether organic reach for Facebook is dead or not. Here’s the breakdown:
If you don’t pay for reach when posting your content, the sales team at Facebook will be the first to explain (if your company is a potential advertiser) that you won’t get any organic reach for “free.” Organic reach for non-boosted commercial content will likely continue to drop to 0% (“Facebook Zero”).
However, if you boost your updates and you get lots of social reactions (share, likes, comments), then Facebook will reward your campaign with some added organic reach on top. Like a bonus to encourage you to contribute great and free editorial-style content to their entertainment platform.
There’s nothing to stop people from sharing and discussing your URLs amongst themselves; some social objects will go ‘organically viral’ within Facebook — but this will be rare from a corporate perspective. Organic reach for Facebook remains a major potential, but if you’re a company publishing status updates to reach your fans and customers, you must update your Facebook strategy to a ‘Paid First’ strategy.
How to deal with Facebook Zero
You have to be prepared to pay — or stay invisible. Here’s how to rethink your Facebook strategy:
1. Dust it off and pay to play
Arguably, making companies “pay twice” was sort of a douchebag move on Facebook’s part. However, getting emotional or angry won’t make much of a difference; Facebook’s too big and powerful to care — and they will get away with it whether you like it or not. It’s better to spend your energy on being constructive.
2. Facebook’s ad platform is smart
“The first fix was free,” but now the fun’s over. Instead, brands have gotten access to a fantastic advertising platform. And there’s a skill to getting the most out of it, so it’s time to start learning.
3. Organic reach is mostly dark anyway
Facebook’s still a major referrer of traffic to corporate websites. Not because of what brands publish on their pages, but because people share links between themselves on Facebook. And this has always been the major Facebook opportunity for brands — word-of-mouth.
- Dark Social — The far side of online sharing
- Storycrafting — how to get people to talk about your startup
4. “Fool me twice, shame on me”
Social media sites, just like any other company, must monetize their communities somehow. The bait-and-switch strategy (get people through the door and then change the rules) is not uncommon in social media. You must make sure that your brand leverages existing opportunities — without putting all eggs in one basket.
5. Build your own brand audience
If all social networks were to disappear tomorrow, how would you reach your online community? If you haven’t already, you need to take measures to establish means of direct contact (via email, for instance) with your brand audience.