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Frustrations in Facebook Marketing

Facebook has announced major changes to the way their News Feed algorithm would be prioritizing posts in the future. This announcement is in response to criticism that Facebook’s current algorithm may have prioritized misleading news and misinformation, consequentially influencing the 2016 American presidential election and fueling political discord around the world.

Posting to his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

This change would effectively prioritize posts made by friends and family, while reducing the appearance of non-advertising content posted by business pages. Facebook has assured paying advertisers that their content would remain unaffected by this change.

Facebook’s history of declining organic reach

Marketers have long been aware of the decline in Facebook’s organic reach, or the ability for your post to appear in the news feed of someone who likes or follows your page. Over the past three years, organic reach has declined to about 2 percent. It is likely that organic reach to eventually arrive at zero; for all intents and purposes, we’re pretty much there already. So, this announcement may seem more like revisionist history than genuine altruism.

However, it’s hard to fault Facebook’s allegiance to their audience. Ostensibly, this move will put the most relevant and desirable information in front of their users, keeping them engaged and on the site.

The continued attraction to marketers is obvious. Facebook remains the largest and most popular social media platform on the planet. In the third quarter of 2017, there were 2.07 billion monthly active users. There is a lot of tempting potential in those numbers. Even a one percent reach would mean access to more than 20 million people, possibly including CEOs, business leaders and decision makers, right? However, the days of easy access are long gone, and Facebook has clearly evolved into a pay-to-play format.

Should businesses stop posting unpaid content?

No, definitely not. However, it may be time to analyze statistics to see if changing the format of posts can support a decrease in the quantity of posts. Currently, Facebook is pushing Facebook Live and Native Video, so these content categories are receiving preferred placement. If Facebook is a significant venue in your marketing mix, now would be a great time to start researching and investing in these types of communication.

Also, you should analyze your approach to potentially increase engagement. Instead of simply preaching to your audience or making blanket statements, use your posts to create a sense of community, no matter how small. Nurture your community members, encourage interaction and challenge them to engage. For instance, Facebook recently introduced the ability to create audience polls using GIF animations.

Don’t forget your page is also an informational resource for potential clients and future employees. People may use your Facebook page to research your company’s values and corporate culture. In this respect, your Facebook page is an invaluable source for branding. Use your page to champion causes and promote ideas that are important to your business.

Marketing effectively with Facebook

Facebook advertising isn’t necessarily the right move for every company, and your efforts and investments won’t necessarily be justly rewarded with a flood of conversions and ROI. Facebook ads are a great way to generate warm leads, but this effort usually needs to be augmented by additional nurturing through a full-scale marketing funnel. Like all other marketing avenues, you should research the pros and cons to make an informed marketing decision.

If you’re going to use Facebook as a part of your marketing mix, you’re going to need to accept the fact that you don’t own the platform or your audience, and you don’t make the rules. You must determine what you want to achieve and then consider how Facebook’s business goals, both now and in the future, may impact your plan. Following and maintaining an understanding of how Facebook approaches their user experience will help you to get the most out of your Facebook marketing experience.

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