At the beginning of December, the world of social media marketing lit up with the announcement that Facebook posts will be getting viewed by fewer people in the near future. The news is actually not news – some social media marketing blogs have been pointing out the ever-decreasing “Reach” of Facebook posts for a couple years.
But what made it different this time? It was Facebook that announced it.
The coverage was initially provided by AdAge, who received the news in a sales deck sent to Facebook partners in November. In the sales deck, Facebook says:
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”
In the article, titled Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads, Adage quotes an anonymous Facebook spokesperson:
“We’re getting to a place where, because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”
What The Lower Organic Reach of Facebook Posts Means For You
If you’re a small business, you probably have somewhere between 50 and 5,000 Facebook Likes.
Until this announcement, the estimated percentage of Facebook page fans was somewhere between 6% and 15%. A Facebook page with 100 fans would get anywhere from 6 to 15 views. A page with 1000 fans would get 60 to 150. Certain factors might make fewer or more people see certain posts.
Facebook’s announcements says these percentages will decline even further. Some have estimated less than 4% of page fans will see your posts in the next few months.
How do you get more people to see your posts? According to Facebook, pay for ads.
What Should Small Businesses Do Now?
Stick with Facebook and pay for ads? Or opt out? Here is what we recommend:
1. Stick with Facebook, but think differently about it.
The fact that now Facebook admits lower organic reach is discouraging, but Facebook is still a great way to stay in contact with your customers. Besides, a presence on Facebook doesn’t hurt, and most people would probably think your business doesn’t exist if you don’t have a Facebook page.
However Facebook is not (and has not been) a good place to grow your business. Don’t expect sales to increase because of your Facebook page.
2. Publish content to multiple social networks.
We recommend publishing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (profile and/or company page), Tumblr, Google+ Pages, Pinterest, and Instagram. Save valuable time by hooking up your Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ Page to social media management tools, like Hootsuite and Buffer (two of our personal faves).
3. If you want results on Facebook, pay for ads.
There are multiple types of ads, most easily accessible if you go to http://facebook.com/ads/create.
The two types of ads we find most valuable for our small business clients are Page Likes and Boost Post. We recommend running ads to get more Page Likes until you have at least 200-300 Likes. Facebook Like ads can charge you anywhere from $0.06 to $1.00 per Like. This gives you an initial foundation of fans to view your content.
Then set a Boost Post ad, that runs whenever a new post is posted, for $3 to $5 per post. This means that whenever you post something to your Facebook Page, it will automatically be promoted. If you post 3 times per week (about 12 times per month), the monthly cost would be $36 to $60. This ensures that your content is getting viewed by a good-sized number of your fans each time you post.
Then supplement the Boost Post strategy with an ongoing ad budget for Page Likes ($50-$100).
4. Want to grow your business through social media? Look elsewhere.
Pinterest performs twice as well as Facebook for image-based social media campaigns.
Twitter is second-to-none if you’re looking to connect with business prospects, or PR/Media contacts.
Even if you’re interested in doing a campaign to get people to click through to your website or landing page, Facebook is not ideal. Facebook makes fewer people see content with external-linking URLs in them, and will charge you more for ads that include an such URLs. Twitter will not discourage links – and it tends to get very good engagement on promoted Tweets.
This is why our Advanced and Pro digital marketing packages include expanded services on other social networks – such as Twitter – that provide higher value than Facebook for your business growth.