According to the latest data, Facebook use accounts for 27% of all time spent online. With 1.3 billion users on the social media behemoth, marketers can use the platform for campaigns to highly targeted metrics. Let’s have a look at some of Facebook’s most recent developments and the lessons marketers can take from them.
Nearby Friends Develops Markets And Integrates On And Offline Experiences
Last week we were also introduced to the latest of Facebook’s products “Nearby Friends”. This newest feature allows subscribers to find friends who are in close proximity with them. Users receive notifications when their friends are nearby. And, of course, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for marketers, particularly those that want to sell ‘spontaneous buys’. Search Engine Journal explains how the new feature works:
If there’s a friend nearby you want to meet up with you can share your precise location for a set period of time, like if you’re going to be somewhere for the next hour. When you share your precise location, the friend will see on a map exactly where you are which helps you find each other.
The feature can be switched on or off if you want friends to know which area you are in. It also shows when friends are traveling and which places they are visiting, if they choose to activate it.
For marketers, it signals two key things: firstly that engagement is now paramount and social media is becoming completely entrenched in our lives. Secondly, it opens up new networks and dynamics for marketers to explore.
Building An Online Audience Or Buying One?
Ten years into Facebook there are many businesses that are spending a decent chunk of their marketing budgets on growing their Facebook pages. But the experts say that paying for Facebook likes is not a shortcut to success, and more of a budget waste. What you should be investing in is advertising to get legitimate customers to be your fans. Paid ads are an expensive way to build a brand says James T Noble:
Because the organic (free) reach of your Facebook posts is low and getting increasingly lower. In fact, just two-years ago, it was estimated that your page posts reached around 16% of your fans…And these days? That number is between 1-5%.
Realistically, only 1% of your fan base is likely to see your posts now, after the updates made to the Facebook news feed. So, if you are investing a significant part of your marketing budget into getting more likes, is it really worth it?
There is, of course, the argument of branding and public perception. No self-respecting modern business wants to claim ownership of a social media page that has 11 followers, so of course, paid advertising is used as a means to communicate the size of a following or the value of a brand’s social penetration.
Facebook Makes It More Difficult For Businesses To Engage
Unless a business is already established and ‘popular’ online it can be difficult to reach out. Your content can be completely engaging but if your audience is not big enough the effort is largely wasted. If your product or service exists in a small niche it can be even harder.
Many critics have said that businesses have been forced into paid advertising as a result of organic posts not getting sufficient exposure in newsfeeds.
The reason that Facebook is on such a major drive to reduce spam in the newsfeed is to keep its own customers happy. And believe it or not, 1.3 billion people have quite a lot of sway in the greater scheme of things. In its never-ending quest to ensure that its users get more of the content they want, Facebook has been clamping down on business pages that use spammy practices to generate more exposure for themselves. So what exactly do you have to be careful of if you don’t want your posts to be flagged as spam?
Link Baiting Is Out
Link baiting is the practice of getting people to distribute, like, or comment on the post and it is one of the practices that Facebook is clamping down on. As Hubspot points out:
Because users are more apt to respond to posts that directly request action — in marketing, we call these “calls-to-action” 😉 — and Facebook’s algorithm rewards posts that generate more engagement, like-baiting is a tricky way for brands to get featured in the News Feed more often and seen by more users. Sneaky, right?
Content That Is Frequently Circulated
Frequently circulated content is when brands re-use the same things over and over. Facebook is now reporting brands that do this in order to improve the quality of the newsfeed. You know those memes you’ve seen 300 times before? Those are also ‘out’.
Links That Are Spammy
Spammy links are those that lead you to believe you are clicking on one thing and then actually take you somewhere else. To date, the crackdown has already seen users’ trust levels increase by 5%, with more people feeling confident enough to click on a link that navigates them away from Facebook.
Overall, the changes are only really going to affect business pages that have been using malicious practices or trying to fool people into supporting them. If you have been playing by the social media rules you probably have nothing to worry about.
If you do find that more of your posts are being reported as spam you should probably consider brushing up on the basic social media etiquette and how you should be looking to attract more likes online.
The truth is that likes are useless if they are not coming from interested, buying customers. And, just like trying to reach out to customers in the real world, this takes a lot of time, research, and effort to get right. If you just can’t get it right consider weighing up the pros and cons of your social campaigns and consider if other channels would be more effective at getting your messages out there.