On January 11th Mark Zuckerberg announced that an update to the social media platform’s algorithm was imminent. This latest update to Facebook’s algorithm will have an impact on most businesses as it will be deprioritising posts from Brands and Businesses in favour of more personal, meaningful content.
Over the past couple of years, Facebook has made it clear that they are a ‘social’ network rather than a platform for businesses. To that end, they have been gradually reducing the visibility of posts from business pages to the point where organic reach for smaller businesses may not be worth the time it takes to create new content.
This latest change is even more worrying for smaller businesses and they will effectively be pushed out of News Feeds completely, with the possibility that they will appear in a new, separate tab which users will be less inclined to read.
No, at least not directly. Facebook’s mission statement has always been about bringing people closer together – it wasn’t started as a business network, but with the introduction of “Pages” and “Groups” businesses soon recognised the opportunity and started using the vast reach to advertise to people interested in their products or services.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that anyone can do about the change – Facebook has made the decision and it will likely stand even with significant unrest in the industry.
Just because organic reach on Facebook is petering out, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use your Business Page and all of the data and following you’ve collected over the years to connect with your customers – you’ll just need to be prepared to invest in Facebook Advertising.
Facebook advertising is a growing channel, with bigger brands and smaller businesses alike adding it to their Brands portfolio. Moving forward over the next few months these numbers are likely to grow significantly, so the sooner you can get set up and test the water, the better.
As I mentioned, unless you’ve been living in a fantasy world, you have probably already embraced Facebook and have your pages set up – after all, you are here looking for advice on what’s coming and what to do next.
Facebook advertising offers a seemingly limitless number of advertising options from different campaign types to detailed user profiles including interests, demographics and lifestyles.
Facebook actually taps into external sources for financial data, home ownership, relationship data, household information and much more – and the best bit is you can use all of this to target your paid campaigns and find your ideal audience.
Lee Valley Leisure boasts a wealth of locations from luscious green spaces and family-friendly overnight stays to action-packed adrenaline activities, including a White-Water Centre, Velopark, Park Farms, Ice Centre and Campsites, not to mention numerous parks and other ventures.
They came to iThinkMedia wanting to increase the efficiency of their campaigns and drive much more cost-effective sales using Paid Search, but because they are a not-for-profit organisation they had to adhere to strict budgets. In order to drive their costs down, we implemented a new Paid Facebook Campaign alongside their existing Paid Search campaigns.
Utilising Facebook’s granular targeting options, we were able to reach a very specific target audience, and in doing so we drove an ROI of 22:1 in 2017, up from 4:1 YoY.
It’s really difficult to say – the digital landscape is evolving at a faster rate than ever before with market leaders making constant changes to algorithms and finding new ways of engaging their users.
I expect the next source of “Organic” social reach to continue to be Twitter, or you may find that Instagram is where your customers are if your brand is very visual, but I doubt it will be long until these changes reach across to the Facebook-owned platform as well.
Either way, I would continue to test the waters with different social media platforms and consider the move into Paid Facebook Advertising as a way to expand your reach.