Should Businesses Abandon their Facebook Marketing Efforts?

Should Businesses Abandon their Facebook Marketing Efforts?
By Katie Dahlstrom

By now we have all heard about the decline of Facebook’s organic, or unpaid original content ‘s reach due to algorithm changes. Most recently, popular food delivery service, Eat24, wrote a public letter announcing their “breakup” with Facebook because of the change. Should we all just keep complaining and threaten to abandon our business pages a la Eat24? Or should we figure out a new marketing strategy to work with the algorithm as opposed to against it?

Let’s first break down what the organic reach decline really means. In short, Facebook implemented a new algorithm for how visible your page’s posts are, which supposedly factors in relevance and page authority among countless other factors. Whether or not your fans “hide” a page post, the completeness of your page profile, and whether or not the fan base of the page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality pages, matters in optimizing your reach.

Facebook’s decision to decrease business page organic posts left many brands wondering if they should abandon their Facebook marketing strategy and switch their efforts to an alternative social media platform. They had spent countless time and efforts building and curating their fan base for their content to not reach their fans in the end. Despite changes, however, Facebook is not going anywhere anytime soon, and your business still needs to hold a presence.  As long as you have target audiences there, you should be there.

You do, however, need to make some adjustments. Following are some practical tips to work with, not against, the new algorithm.

  • Play around with different posting times: A recent article brought about the idea of posting at non-peak times. It suggested the idea that contrary to popular belief, posting at non-peak times may actually be to your advantage due to less competition. You would essentially be competing with less brand-page posts, possibly increasing the reach or visibility of your post. As this is just a suggested idea, it is important to test posting at different times and see what yields the best results for your business’ page.
  • Conduct regular social data analysis: Your brand should be continually researching and re-evaluating what is relevant. This can easily be done by evaluating what content got the highest engagement and what content did not.
  • Increase social care: Give your target audience a chance to initiate their own engagement by creating Facebook contests, brand discounts and loyalty points.
  • Tag other brands: Starting in February, Facebook made a small algorithm tweak to brand page reach. If a brand tags another brand in a post, fans of both the pages have the chance to see the post. To increase your page’s reach, be sure to tag relevant and popular brand pages in content. For example, if you are teaming up with another local business for an event, or your content involves a client, tag them.
  • Revise (or create) your ad budget: while you may have previously gotten away with using Facebook as a free marketing tool, your brand’s page success will now be a combination of higher quality content with some being promoted posts and strategically paid ads. Let’s face it, we are used to shelling out cash for more traditional advertising, why should Facebook ads be any different?

The big question, however, to ask ourselves before even implementing workarounds is, “are brands overreacting to this change in algorithm?” When marketers use other marketing tools such as Marketo or MailChimp, we pay a monthly fee to cover access to these services.

Facebook has proven itself to be more than a social media platform, but a necessary and helpful marketing tool both in community management and lead generation. To say it is comparable to Twitter or Google+ would not do justice to its analytic and targeting tools. Brands should take this decrease in organic reach as their call to pay for this service that was previously, and debatably unjustly, free of charge.

While we may not all agree with Facebook’s new algorithm, as long as our customers are users, we must learn to work with it. Biting the bullet and incorporating strategic and well tested paid ads, along with higher quality promoted posts can help keep you from becoming a Facebook has been, or worse, a disgruntled “ex.”

Katie Dahlstrom is an account planner with esd & associates. She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of a variety of projects, both client and internal. Katie works alongside the Communications team, increasing media awareness, brand recognition and audience engagement.