Facebook made more shifts at the beginning of January 2015 that impacts Facebook Pages.
What should your business do going forward with your Facebook Marketing?
In this article you’ll discover what has changed and what every business needs to know to change your Facebook marketing to what works today!
What has Changed on Facebook:
Facebook outlined a change that went into effect in January 2015. They announced that they were targeting three types of posts to reduce reach for based on data from users. These include:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
So the short recap is that doing a “Selly sell” pushy post is going to hurt you. Your business page could see reduced reach of posts if you do this consistently.
As well, context is critical! Contests are fine to use if they are relevant to your business. A photographer outlining a session discount contest IS relevant. It simply requires adding enough detail in your contest post so that it is not spammy. A post with “Enter to win a Gift Card” is not enough information. Just use common sense in outlining what your contest is about.
The last part about replicating copy from Ads is also common sense. Don’t copy others material and do not reuse the exact same content from ads. I believe that is self-explanatory.
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Let’s dive into more specifics on changes from 2014 that impact 2015 marketing on Facebook…
One of the biggest changes on Facebook in 2014 was the decline of Reach.
Reach is the amount of Facebook users that see a post a Page publishes. This started with Facebook making changes to their algorithm in early 2014, and has continued with further updates.
More than 70 percent of all companies across 104 industry designations had a decline in organic reach of 30 percent or more in the past year! Most businesses that are new to Facebook marketing assume that the majority of fans see their posts, and it comes as a great shock to learn this is not the case.
Facebook Crackdown on Like-Baiting
In April 2014, Facebook announced a change to try and provide better quality content in the Newsfeed by cracking down on what they called “Like-Baiting” posts by Pages. This was aimed at stopping Pages from trying to “game” engagement by getting fans to comment in a way that wasn’t natural or authentic. See the example below of the type of image post Facebook wanted to eliminate.
Banning the Like Gate
Finally, one of the most significant changes in the last half of 2014 was the announcement and November 5 implementation of a ban on the use of “Like Gates”. Facebook’s developer blog outlined the following:
You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.
This impacted the common practice by many businesses of “gating” content and special offers so that visitors needed to “Like” the page to gain access. Since “Likes” were a primary measure that many businesses used to evaluate the “success” of their marketing on Facebook, this removed one main method that those marketers could use.
All of these changes impacted the core of what many Facebook marketers focused on: measuring success on Facebook by tracking reach and fan growth. My position is that the focus on these items needs to end so I’m fine with the changes that Facebook has made! Not sold on my opinion? Facebook Ad’s expert Jon Loomer adds his voice to this cause of ending focus on superficial metrics of reach and Like as well in, “It May Be Time for You to Quit Marketing on Facebook.”
Marketers need to stop focusing solely on their “Facebook marketing” and shift their focus broader to their overall integrated online marketing plan!
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Facebook Marketing Tactics for 2015
Moving from only Facebook Marketing to Integrated Online Marketing
So what are Facebook marketers to do in a “Post Like-Gate” world? Give up? Move on?
The answer is that they must adjust and focus on a integrated marketing plan! Marketers should not focus on Facebook alone in their marketing. Gone are the days of “How can I develop a great Facebook strategy?” and they must be replaced by “What role can Facebook play in my overall online marketing strategy?”
Facebook experts like Alex Houg and Dennis Yu of Blitzmetrics outline this type of strategy as “omni-channel” marketing. At the core of this type of strategy is content. Quality, helpful content is the driver from which all other aspects can then flow, including what you share to Facebook.
Bottom line: Quality content gives you relevant and helpful resources to share on social media, including Facebook!
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3 Campaign System
Content as Foundation:
Content is what you create on your blog and in your resource center. It is primarily articles and posts that answer questions and offer resources. In integrated online marketing, your website content is your foundation!
Today’s Facebook marketers need to be producing content of value on their sites that they can share. Quality content is much more important than whether post reach is down by 15%.
Sharing Quality Content:
With regular, quality content being created, the sharing of this to social media networks, including Facebook, then becomes a key means of outreach and initiator for engagement. This helps a business build their audience and engage their audience around the content they have created, and, it helps drive traffic back to the website!
An integrated online strategy that includes Facebook will utilize Facebook to drive traffic to the businesses’ website. The website should be the “home base” and the core focus of one’s online strategy, and Facebook becomes an area to increase the exposure of your website content, as well as a way to interact with fans around your content topic. When that content is high quality and of value as resource, without being overly sales focused, it provides the foundation for the next step in new Facebook marketing: amplification.
Amplification of Top Content with Ads:
Facebook provides a tremendous opportunity for any business to reach their idea customer audience. The targeting provided in the Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor enable any business to overcome organic reach limits, and reach with laser accuracy the demographics desired. From location to job titles, income levels to interests, it is amazing the precision that is possible!
Many marketers on Facebook in the past have been reluctant to use Ads, thinking that Facebook is a free platform and they should not have to use ads. However, those same marketers are willing to spend for other types of marketing such as Google Adwords and social media management tools. It’s time that those marketers realize that there is tremendous value and opportunity in being able to reach your ideal customer audience with your best content!
Facebook Ads can and should be used as part of today’s integrated online marketing strategy. Even with a modest budget of $30 per month, ads are valuable because of the precision targeting available.
I recommend using ads for two types of posts on Facebook. The first type is specific content that is tied to your overall online marketing strategies. When sharing a quality post that can help your audience move to your website, this is valuable and worthy of using ads for. The Ad type to select from for this purpose is the “Send people to your website” type. (For more help on setup of Facebook Ads, go here.)
The second type of post to use Facebook Ads for is a post that has sparked quality engagement. By example, look at the image below. This small business was sharing photos from a recently completed project and the post received some initial comments and likes. Based on this positive momentum on the post, the company decided to then amplify the ad to their ideal audience. This resulted in further comments, engagement, and tremendous reach. It’s a matter of piggybacking on what is already working to extend it even further!
The third part of the integrated marketing funnel is the conversion funnel. After building and reaching your ideal audience with quality content and bringing them to your web properties, then using lead capture methods to move fans and visitors to your email list is the next step. When this occurs, marketing automation with automated email nurture campaigns can help solidify the relationship with the potential customer, build further trust, and ultimately allow for the sales offer.
Lead capture methods can vary by industry as to what will work best. It can be coupons or ebooks, webinars, or other resources. Read more on Lead Capture options >>
In this example below, the blog serves as a resource center for outdoor living design. While the products they offer are lattice to use with fencing, decks, railings, pergola’s and more, the content is of value to many, it is then shared on Facebook, and when visitors come to the site they have opportunity to receive a free download that adds them to a email nurture campaign.
The Overall Digital Marketing Funnel:
This model shows the steps of an integrated online marketing approach that includes a thorough strategy connecting content on the website with Facebook posts, lead capture, and email nurture. (Read more here)
In combination, this provides a powerful online means to reach and connect with potential customers. I recommend that businesses using Facebook also use two of the best tools that are available now, Facebook Ads and Facebook video, to help increase their post visibility and getting in front of their exact ideal audience.
So what about you?
Are you moving on from targeting only fan growth and watching reach, and integrating your online marketing where tracking leads capture and website traffic from Facebook become more powerful measures of success?