Once started as a face-to-face book for students and now an important marketing tool for all major companies that focus on consumers. Recent posts such as Fan penetration on Facebook decreased by 42% since August and Facebook Admits: Expect Organic Reach for Pages to Continue Declining and Dutch young people turn their backs on Facebook en masse point to a major decline in the natural reach of Facebook pages.
In contrast, the reach that you get through viral content and fan interaction is growing, according to the first message. The second message is less positive: if you do not pay for Facebook Ads, only 1 to 2% of your fan base will see your messages. Somber news for company pages. What about Facebook as a company?
First some Facebook figures
It is a social media site like Myspace and Hyves once were. The number of daily active users in the Netherlands is 6.1 million, according to Marketing Facts. In 2012 we spent 24 minutes a day on social media, (according to the SPOT time use survey), 62% of which on Facebook (15 minutes). That is average for all Dutch people, including those without a Facebook profile.
Facebook as a platform therefore has a huge reach. The bond we have with it is social because we maintain contacts and relationships with it. As a result, it has the feel of a living room rather than an office. The companies present mainly present themselves there, sometimes take actions, inform about their services and products and there are few other companies that can directly link revenue 1 to 1 to their Facebook profile.
Do you remember before?
With your Facebook page you reached all your fans by default. As a user, you saw it when someone liked a page. Not many companies were active yet. Facebook was a free extra communication channel for your company. Like and win promotions were rare. Oh well, then luckily it was still normal.
A like has become worth less
In the meantime, our attention has become scarce. Facebook is established. We hear more about new platforms (Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine ... etcetera). A like has become less valuable: you politely liked the hobby club of your niece or the company page of your hairdresser. But you don't necessarily expect it to affect your timeline. It is already busy there. Facebook wants to show you as many relevant messages as possible. Which you will like. And interact with it. Because your attention is worth money.
Advertising messages and advertorials are getting fewer and fewer responses. We live in a communication age where according to Google top man Eric Schmidt every 2 days just as much information is made as from the beginning of society until 2003. Where you used to reach the entire Dutch population by advertising on 1 TV channel, you will have to dig a lot deeper into the pouch for that same range. Quantity no longer works so well. Personalization and quality do: the relevance per person.
How to continue on Facebook?
The use of social media is, as with any means, a consideration between benefits and burdens. If you want to keep the same range as before, you have to adjust. That means investing, and that can be a sour apple for companies that have already invested in getting likes.
With Facebook ads you buy back the organic reach that you once had with your company page. On the other hand: because it costs money, a barrier is placed between paying companies and non-paying companies. And then your message stands out more. But the following will also apply here: qualitative content wins over non-qualitative content.
5 tips for more relevance
How do you get more viral range? You need to become more important for your audience to stand out. Consumers only want to connect with a limited number of brands. How do you turn your Facebook page into a channel that is more valuable to your audience? 5 tips in the form of questions: as a company you will have to make the considerations yourself and find your own answers.
What passion do you have in common with your target group? Which "shared purpose" do you connect? What does your shared vision of the world look like?
2. Inspirational story
What is your story? In what context is your company? How do you inspire your audience? Imagine 2 fans of your company page who talk very enthusiastically about your Facebook post ... what are they talking about?
3. Stop selling
In which ways can you sell without selling hard? How do you influence your clients' decision-making process? Exactly on what basis do your customers buy?
4. Added value
What is your added value? How do you make that customer relationship more valuable? How do you make a good tip of your product or service that friends like to share with each other?
5. Customer information
What do you know about your customers? What is the profile? What does the customer journey look like? What works and what doesn't?
Being successful on Facebook becomes more and more an art ... and especially hard work. For small businesses and your niece's hobby club, with less time and money available, Facebook is less likely to become the preferred means of communication. An email newsletter, alternative platforms, or just plain paper are then the considerations in my opinion.
Read also Facebook interaction: 13 perspectives for new ideas to increase interaction on Facebook and thereby gain more reach.
Source cartoon: Tomfishburne.com