If you are a brand you too have lost access to your fans on Facebook. You have spent dollars / pounds / euros driving your fans to Facebook. Sure you did. They provided awesome tools for communicating with your customers and fans. Out went email (and old fashioned postal) addresses. And in came social media. You probably didn’t realize it, but you have been transferring your wealth, your fans, to Facebook. And once they have them, they are not going to give them back. Tons of companies have created businesses that are dependent on the social media eco-system. Dependency as in drug addiction. Maybe that is why it is so hard for people to see their relationship with social media for what it is. They are hooked. Not just you and me, who can’t stop checking our phones.
Here are a few facts. Facebook organic reach has dropped to nearly zero. Latest research shows that less than 1% of Facebook fans see posts from the Talent (musicians, athletes, brands) they follow. A band with 3 million fans would have to pay approximately $15,000 (£9k) to make sure their fans see a single post on Facebook. The more fans a page has, the more it costs to advertise per like. And with all of Facebook’s recent announcements it is likely that in 2015 there will be no more free posting on Facebook pages.
Facebook executives drew a line in the proverbial sand when they announced their plans to restructure the way posts placed by brands appear in newsfeeds. As if it hasn’t been hard enough to gain organic reach, Facebook has essentially closed the door on anything other than paid advertising. Starting in January, as Facebook told marketers, if you want to reach customers on Facebook, you’ll need to buy an ad. This change could arguably be long overdue for commercial brands raking in revenue at minimal advertising cost, but if you’re a band on a budget or a musician trying to jumpstart a career, and you plan on using Facebook to reach your fans, it looks like you’ll need to adjust your finances accordingly.
Reporting a 64% increase in advertising revenue, a total $2.96 billion in Q3, Facebook says that the shift in exposure is not a ploy for more advertising revenue, but rather an answer to a survey posed to several hundred thousand Facebook users who reported being unhappy by the amount of promotional posts infiltrating their newsfeed. But, in the same breath, Facebook has been tireless in the promotion of their new advertising features resembling the platforms Messenger App notification invite. Regardless of which side of their position carries more weight, Facebook is changing the game. Again. Ad prices have already climbed in price by 274% in the last calendar year, but what users are going to find, is that they can’t afford to ignore the data that having 1.35 billion global users provides. Facebook has the monopoly on targeted social media promotion – they know it, and they’re going to make you pay for it because they can.
Creative Content is King
Traffic will be re-routed significantly in the absence of paid advertising, but organically engaging content will still get you mileage.
Build a Budget
If Facebook isn’t currently a factor in your advertising/promotional budget and you still hope to maintain or increase your reach, you’re going to need to change that. Start constructing a strategy now so you can seamlessly implement it in January.
Identify a Target Market
To continue to efficiently reach your audience, you’ll have to employ the use of Facebook ads. Knowing who you’re trying to reach, why you’re trying to reach them, and how you intend to do so are all pieces of the puzzle you’ll need to have in place come January.
When push comes to shove, you get what you pay for – and what Facebook has is unparalleled access and the upper hand on their genre of market product offering. Recently, Brian Boland, a Facebook Vice President told The New York Times in defense of the company’s move, “An ad maker doesn’t want to serve content to people who don’t want to see those posts.” In response to how this change will affect businesses and brands who rely on Facebook to reach their consumers, he minced no words, “If we are not growing your business, stop spending with us.” Facebook claims that the shift in paid advertising will help advertisers reach the right audience and will allow for better analytics and data tracking than a standard boosted post. While their statement may prove true, it feels like Facebook flexing their money muscles while the rest of us find a way to pay for their gym membership.