Has Facebook Become a Marketing Waste of Your Time?

Earlier this year, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was justifiably proud in announcing that the popular social media platform “is now officially 2 billion people. We’re making progress connecting the world…” He’s talking monthly active users, and by far, the most popular social networking site with YouTube registering second:

The large, worldwide user count is impressive. But savvy marketing professionals recognize that FB organic reach—particularly for brands and publishers—is slipping. As defined by Facebook: “Organic reach is the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution. But recent studies find that FB reach declined 20 percent so far this year.

On the other hand: “Paid reach is the total number of unique people who were shown your post as a result of ads.” (Total reach is the number of unique people—organic and paid.) Because organic reach has been drifting downward, the “billion-with-a-b” number is useful mainly on the paid/ advertising audience side of the equation.

What to do when Facebook numbers are slipping…

Contrary to some digital-doomsayers, social media is not a waste of time. Depending on your situation, Facebook can drive referral traffic to many websites. Here are some important tips, techniques and options to enhance your social results:

Don’t rely on unpaid exposure. What worked in the good old days is not so smart today. The smarter option is to leverage your paid reach for Facebook. Even a modest budget investment can make a splash with total reach. A combination of paid and organic can produce greater results when you’ve got exactly the right mix.

Turn up the video. It’s visually apparent why hardly anyone does FB text only. Pictures, graphics, infographics and images are instantly more interesting. And taking advantage of videos and Facebook Live are often more interesting, compelling—and shareable—than other content. The view rate for images jumps better than 90 percent.

Know what Facebook calls clickbait. You may not have intended to cause trouble, but if you specifically invite users to “like” or “share,” it might trigger the FB algorithm that paints it as spammy stuff. Never be overly promotional. Instead, present unique, interesting and compelling headlines that enlighten the reader.

Tap into what’s trending. Facebook monitors timely topics and shows current trends. Be aware of what your audience is interested in and talking about and join in the conversation. (There needs to be a natural and appropriate fit, of course.)

Don’t force it if it’s not working. And when Facebook (or any other social platform) seems to be lost in left field, it may be time to turn down the volume. Before you abruptly pull the plug, it’s best to enlist some expert assistance. We can probably help with that, but talk with outside resources about the best fix options.

Constantly refine your Facebook strategy…

With over two billion users, Facebook will certainly be around for some time. But just as certainly, this social platform is changing, and will continue to change. Consider a new formula for paid advertising and organic reach that effectively maintains meaningful contact with your target audience.

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