More and more users are quitting Facebook cold turkey and finding new networks to obsess about. My advice — Don’t delete your Facebook page… yet! In this post I’ll explain why I’m still a big proponent of Facebook and its ability to reach current and potential customers. That said, I do think that all marketers should be developing a social media back-up plan.
3 Facebook Challenges
Newsfeeds are filled with advertisers; content we don’t care about; and updates from people who you forgot why you’re Facebook friends in the first place. From a user standpoint, I understand why some people are leaving Facebook.
But, from a marketer’s standpoint, the Facebook advertising platform is incredible and possibly one of the most targeted digital advertising platforms available to marketers!
I believe that marketers have 3 main challenges with Facebook:
- Organic reach
- Content oversaturation
- User decline
If you’ve spent any time running a company page, you’ve noticed that your organic post reach is on a scary decline. You’re not alone. On average, company posts are only being seen by 3-6% of your followers. That’s a huge drop from 30-50% back in the good old days of company Facebook pages.
Brands and social media marketers who spend hours creating high-quality, relevant content may be wasting their time if they are not also putting some advertising dollars behind those posts. Today, it’s just part of the game you have to play.
Takeaway: Develop a monthly budget just for Facebook advertising to support your content creation efforts like blog posts, eBooks and videos. It will pay off. You just can’t rely on organic efforts anymore. Start on the lower end and adjust your budget depending on the results and ROI you begin to see from Facebook PPC (Pay-Per-Click).
Have you logged on to Facebook lately? You may see an ad, or two or forty! Some users aren’t as turned off as you may think. Many people would rather see ads that are relevant and are more conversational than ‘BUY THIS CAR NOW!’ (When you’re not even in the market for a new vehicle).
Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates the advertising. Ads clogging up newsfeeds has been a huge turn off for many users, especially digital natives, who are ‘too cool’ for Facebook. Like TV, your message gets lost in the mix. It’s generally ignored because people have learned to identify ads. They certainly aren’t as obvious as traditional advertising or banner ads but we know when we’re being sold to.
Takeaway: It’s important make sure you truly identify your audience and also have a message that’s going to stand out among the noise. Understand what your audience wants and is interested in and target them that way on Facebook. The targeting options are amazing. You can get as refined as their shopping habits, unique interests, the age of their kids and the type of car they drive. Scary for users, but for marketers, it’s a dream come true.
Decline in Users
It’s no secret that many people feel ‘stuck’ when it comes to their Facebook profiles. Many are hitting the ‘logout’ button for good. There is also concern about the lack of new younger-generation Facebook.com users.
It’s important to understand this trend. We all saw what happened to MySpace. My 13 year-old-nephew has never even heard of MySpace. Facebook is HUGE and it will be a long time before it becomes the next ‘MySpace’. That doesn’t mean it’s not important to know when to diversify or even jump ship. You want to make sure your ‘lifeboat’, aka exit strategy, is ready when that time comes.
Takeaway: Start exploring and develop your social media roadmap for the next 1-2 years. Be ready to adapt to social media trends and new platforms. Conduct market research to see how your target audience uses social media. Where do they go? How long do they spend on each platform? Which ones do they like the most and why? What apps are on the home screen of their phone? If you want to know what direction to head with your social media marketing, ask your audience and watch their every move.
Don’t Abandon Facebook, Yet
I don’t recommend that you jump ship (yet), but I do encourage you to get out of your “Facebook comfort zone” and start investigating other channels where your potential customers hang out. For example:
- Digital natives? They love quick, unscripted content from platforms like SnapChat, Vine and YikYak. They spend more time watching YouTube videos than they do actual TV.
- Business professionals? Maybe you’re not focusing enough time and energy on LinkedIn.
- Trying to reach media sites? Twitter is a gold mine.
- Stay-at-home moms? You MUST be on Pinterest.
- Those in their 20s? Instagram is your sweet spot.
I encourage marketers to get a head start on adjusting your social media mix to be ready when the big fall of Facebook comes. It could be tomorrow, it could be in 5 years, but bottom line: be prepared. Your audience is on social media; it’s just a matter of finding where they are and what appeals to them.