On a platform where the success and growth of your business is so contingent on Facebook’s pay-to-play culture, you might find yourself asking why we still bother investing the time and resources to post organic content. Earlier this year, we spoke with our Facebook representative concerning new changes that will further affect organic reach. With the changes imminent, it’s time to revisit the case for staying active on the platform and consider what immediate steps we can take to adapt to the latest round of changes.
Building a Community
Maintaining a Facebook presence is about building brand awareness. With 80% of consumers claiming they are more inclined to purchase from you if they find a credible, authentic Facebook page associated with your business, Facebook is still a pertinent component of your marketing strategy.
A brand’s social media is the first place potential new customers go to evaluate a business they’ve been introduced to. In fact, research shows that 60% of consumers will visit a Facebook page before visiting a brick-and-mortar location or website. Not only does social brand awareness shorten the sales cycle with moderation tools like chatbots, but visitors will look to more socially-competitive brands without it.
Cultivating a Facebook following also fosters a brand community, strengthening your relationship with current customers and attracting potential new ones. When a brand is present on Facebook, it provides customers a place to engage with the business, gives them a channel to ask questions and leave feedback, and gives you an opportunity to build trust with them every step of the way.
Each organic post is a reminder to your customers that you’re a relevant and active part of the community as they scroll through their newsfeeds. Organic content is a great way to play on relevant current events, build brand awareness by educating customers on the services you offer and increase engagement on a steady basis. Ask for feedback and include calls-to-action in copy to boost engagement and gather insight from your followers.
A Facebook presence doesn’t just strengthen the connection between the brand and the customer, it connects existing and potential new customers to one another. According to the social proof principle, as explained by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.” [Buffer].
With the data showing that 38% of customers use online reviews to research brands, products or services they’re interested in buying, the social proof phenomenon comes into play when visitors see positive reviews on your Facebook page and a large number of followers on your social platforms. It’s also the reason why influencer marketing is so effective.
Measuring The Results
When it comes to measuring the ROI of your efforts, Facebook analytics offers a number of ways to evaluate your results. With the latest round of changes taking effect, it’s especially important to pay close attention to these insights over the coming months.
The easiest way to measure the success of organic posts within the platform is through Facebook insights. Here you can analyze the number of people reached, link clicks and engagements — including likes, comments, reactions and views (if application).
These audience insights shine a light on important information, such as who is visiting your page and what types of content are resonating with your audience. This information is also crucial when building audiences for paid marketing and retargeting existing Facebook fans.
Google analytics is another useful tool for tracking social efforts to web traffic and conversions. Look for UTM codes in links on client’s paid social posts to ensure trackability. If you’re unsure whether your client is tapped into Google Analytics, the Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension allows you to see whether they have it installed or not.
When it comes to analyzing the ROI of paid Facebook posts, Facebook Ad reporting allows you to measure the performance of past ads and optimize future campaigns based on the results. You can also review the number of leads and conversions brought in by ads created.
The Facebook pixel allows you to track events on your website using a piece of code. When a visitor takes an action on your website, like making a purchase, it triggers the pixel and reports the action. This can be attributed to your advertising campaigns, as well as posts through custom conversion events, which is the same as UTM events [Facebook]. This feature is incredibly insightful for learning about your website traffic, creating custom audiences and optimizing ads.
Impending Algorithm Changes
Despite the importance of posting organically, driving organic traffic might already feel like an uphill battle. Today, Facebook’s average organic reach is 1.6-2%, meaning only 1.6-2% of your fans are served your organic posts on their newsfeed, and these numbers are expected to decrease with the new changes.
“Organic engagement is a real tough thing to produce sustainably,” Mark Zuckerberg has said in regards to organic posting. “Pages creating posts that people generally don’t interact or comment on will see the biggest decreases in reach.”
Businesses can expect to see less success with using social for content distribution and should place more emphasis on spreading content via micro-influencers, connecting 1:1 with customers and creating value in private-messaging contexts. Comprehensive campaigns that use a cross-channel approach with social and other forms of marketing activity produce higher ROI.
Content to avoid:
- Creating posts for the sole purpose of pushing people to buy a product.
- Contest and giveaway posts.
- Posts that link to outbound content.
A lack of social media performance will have negative effects on a website’s SEO ranking, as this component of Google Search Ranking reflects a reduction in referral traffic. Marketers must connect the dots and show how social is not only building brand awareness or offering customer support, but also driving tangible cost savings and lifts in sales.
Adapting Your Efforts
While the future of organic traffic might look bleak, only time will tell what effects these changes have on organic marketing. In addition to paying close attention to shifts in organic reach and engagement, consider building these recommendations into your current strategy to help mediate any forthcoming changes:
- Experiment with organic targeting through Restricted Targeting and News Feed Targeting once these features become available in Canada. These tools allow you to share organic posts with specific people in the newsfeed and their friends based on age, location, interests and activities. Organic targeting also allows you to target Top Fans.
- Consider exploring indirect marketing (such as blogging) rather than putting your efforts towards blatantly selling.
- Focus on meaningful interactions, like attracting post reactions (which outweigh the value of traditional likes), and creating compelling content that initiates conversation.
- Maintain a focus on social advocacy by sharing reviews, testimonials and other user-generated content.
- Since targeting specific offers to particular audiences drives greater ROI, stay focused on paid advertising, sales funnels and lead ads.
If you do see a dip in organic reach and impressions, consider implementing these tactics to help mediate the discrepancy:
- If you’re not already sharing Instagram Stories to Facebook, this is a simple and economical way to distribute content across both channels.
- Ensure your Facebook Messenger is activated and monitored daily. Quick response times and personal replies are a simple way to foster brand relationships on a micro level. Learn more about utilizing Facebook Messenger to its full potential here.
- Joining and participating in relevant Facebook pages as a brand is a great way to share applicable content outside of your own page. Sharing credible, relevant and engaging content can accelerate your growth and improve reach. On the flip side, appearing pushy or spammy will get you kicked out of such groups — it’s a balancing act.
- With the social proof principle in mind, we recommend building a few close relationships with micro influencers who are passionate about your brand. This close community of ambassadors can provide brand exposure to their followers with honest reviews of your products. Consistent collaborations with the right influencers can be powerful if their enthusiasm is genuine.
If you are still in doubt about making changes to your approach to Facebook this year and into 2020, it's best to talk to a trusted expert about your specific situation and strategy. We help hundreds of businesses across Canada stay ahead of these changes and regardless of whether you are one of them, feel free to get in touch for some no-obligation advice.