Have you recently noticed your Facebook fan reach and engagement slow down a bit or maybe even drop off drastically?
I have and that’s because Facebook’s latest update to EdgeRank is trimming the fat so to speak. Facebook’s algorithm tool EdgeRank determines what shows up in your fans news feed.
First, you may have noticed your fan count dip a bit as they removed thousands of fake Facebook accounts. Yes, there are companies who make money creating fake accounts just so brands can get their like number up. Truly organic and quality, I know.
Secondly, Facebook is making it a bit more difficult to reach the fans who have little to no engagement with your brand page.
Basically, going forward your posts are only reaching those fans who are most likely to engage with you – like, comment or share – based on the fan’s history with your page.
So if you have fans who liked your page months ago and they haven’t engaged with you since, your brand posts will not show in their news feed. Out of the gate your Facebook posts are only reaching 5-20% of your fans.
Quality is now more important than ever
Brand pages in the past would run ads to acquire likes, and then post content for those new fans—engaging or not they would see it.
With the newest EdgeRank update, to reach non active fans with a status update brands will have to run sponsored post ads to reach those very same fans they acquired through paid Facebook ads in the first place.
Facebook is double dipping our ad dollars.
This is the model and mindset for brand pages that is going to have to shift.
The emphasis will need to be on the quality of content attracting quality fans from various brand outlets and properties – the fans who are most likely going to engage with you.
Instead of driving likes from Facebook ads or sweepstakes we’ll need to rely on other existing channels—email marketing, fan influence, website communications, content on our blog, value from within other social channels—to attract quality likes.
This has always been an option, but I think you find this to be more of an appealing option because of two reasons—
1.) it’s not costing you direct advertising dollars, mainly just resources, and
2) you know they’ll be more apt to engage with you on Facebook because they most likely have already engaged with you elsewhere.
Facebook has the user experience on their mind while seeing dollar signs
This latest EdgeRank tweak is sitting nicely with everyone around the Facebook table except for the marketer.
The user’s news feed is becoming less cluttered and more relevant with what they are most likely to interact with.
Brands and marketers are having a much harder time getting in front of fans – therefore our next move is to spend ad dollars and promote what we really want our fans to see. Score for Facebook and Wall Street!
This isn’t the first time Facebook has done this tweak. It first started with social gaming and social reader applications—limiting their news feed presence.
What are we as brands and marketers to do?
Facebook’s Marketing tips give you four steps to establishing a brand presence; 1.) build your page, 2.) connect with people using ads, 3.) post quality content and engage, and 4.) influence and expand your reach through friends.
If you are a small business or entrepreneur just launching your business this is a realistic approach. Though I might switch number 2 and 4 – putting paid at the end of the spectrum.
If you are a small business that has an existing customer base and looking to approach the Facebook space or enhance it…
Here’s 5 steps to tackle it:
1.) Build your page
First and foremost.
2.) Connect with your most loyal customers
Start at the core of your business. Run email campaigns to your most engaged subscribers (and/or customers) to drive traffic to your Facebook page. Create display promotions on your website. Have in store and point-of-sale Facebook messaging.
3.) Engage your audience
Provide relevant, educational, shareable and entertaining content that your targeted fans will find interesting. Content is always the foundation to any web initiative.
4.) Influence reach
Now that your most loyal customers like your page, influence their friends.
5.) Run Facebook ads
There is a suite of Facebook advertising options you can take advantage of that allow a very targeted reach (will save the details of each option for a later post).
These five steps rely on your existing foundation of loyal consumers.
Don’t pay attention to the number of fans you have or want, put your focus on the quality of your fans and the quality of your content.
Drive influence and build advocacy.
Can you honestly blame Facebook?
Facebook is finally coming up with a model that enhances the user experience while having Wall Street do fist pumps.
Without a well rounded user experience, there is no Wall Street and there are no marketers.
This is a good thing for marketers and brands
I truly believe that it’s a good thing for marketers and brands as well. It’s going to hone in on the quality aspect.
It’s not so much a numbers game of who can get to a million likes. It’s about sparking true social engagement. Those with smaller, more quality likes, have higher engagement rates.
This is a space for conversation, not broadcast. It’s time we as brands think of our fans as people – person to person, not brand to person.
Quoted from Facebook, “…all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”
Brands are people, they have always been people. We have just always referred to them as companies.
This latest Facebook algorithm change definitely makes it much more difficult for us as marketers and small business owners to reach and engage with new fans.
But I truly believe, if done correctly, you will find yourself in a much more engaged and loyal community—it just might not be as large (quantity) as you had hoped.
What are your thoughts?
Are you an upset and frustrated Facebook page owner or are you finding where the opportunity lies?
Image by khalid Albaih