For businesses, nonprofits, bands, consultants – anyone using a Facebook Page – Facebook is now pay to play. Things have been moving this way with increasing changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm (which determines what information shows up in users’ News Feeds). But the death knell for “free marketing” on the platform has come with stirrings and rumors that Facebook is about to decrease organic page reach to only 1-2% for Pages. In fact, research shows that organic Page reach is already hovering around 4%.
There may be some social media “gurus” out there who will try to tell you that you can combat this and maintain your reach by posting more times per day, encouraging Likes and Shares, tagging people in photos, blah blah blah.
Sure, those things still help significantly right now. A recent post I made on my nonprofit’s page got a good number of shares which increased the reach of that one post by 1000%. For real. And when I post a photo of my band, reach and likes go up when I tag the band members.
But these are temporary workarounds to the growing problem of diminished reach. And I have no doubt that Facebook will enact measures to prevent even these tried and true methods from working very soon.
The solution? Well, you’re probably not going to like this answer or at least feel that I’ve teased you with the title of this blog post. But my solution has more to do with the overall social media success of your business or organization. And it’s this: spend less time posting on Facebook, and when you do post, pay to boost it.
There is no longer any point to maintaining a daily posting schedule on Facebook if those posts are only going to reach 50 or 100 people. Unless you have a large number of fans for your Page (like, over 10k), you can still promote a post for a relatively small amount – usually starting around $15.
The trick is that those posts need to really drive ROI, or at minimum have a clearly documented deliverable for your organization. Look at it this way: you used to have to buy email lists (maybe you still do). Now you can use a paid Facebook post to encourage email list signups, drive traffic to your website or to drive donations, sales or whatever your goal is.
The good news is that since you’ll be spending less time on posting to Facebook, you can spend more time on another channel that is more effective for your organization, be that Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest – or developing a more robust website or email marketing strategy.
I have no plans to totally abandon Facebook in my overall social media strategy, but I do plan to use it even more strategically than ever before – and bring my dollars to the table when I want to play.