Time.com recently reported on a study that showed a dramatic reduction in reach between October 2013 and February 2014. The study by Ogilvy & Mather found that business page updates reached 12 percent of the business’s followers in October. By February, business page updates reached only 6 percent of followers. Another study by Ignite Social Media estimates that businesses reach only 2.5 to 3 percent of their followers at any give time. Some have speculated that Facebook has dialed back business page updates in an effort to encourage businesses to pay for placement.
Whether Facebook is purposefully suppressing the majority of business page updates or not, today’s Facebook users tend to have crowded news feeds. With hundreds of Facebook friends and any number of businesses and groups, it’s inevitable that many updates will be missed. Paying for placement may be your only option.
That said, you need to be smart with your marketing dollars. If you opt to pay for sponsored posts, make sure they count. Below are a few ideas for getting more out of Facebook despite a dramatic reduction in organic reach.
- Get real about your numbers. If you have 5,000 followers but only 5 percent ever see your posts, your numbers are much lower than you may realize. At 5 percent, you can only count on about 250 followers seeing any given post.
- Consider adding an email opt-in to your Facebook page. By enticing your followers to opt into your mailing list, you are no longer at the mercy of Facebook’s whims and policies. While there’s no guarantee that your email open rate will be 100 percent, it will most likely be better than Ogilvy & Mathers’ estimated 6 percent rate on Facebook.
- Use sponsored posts wisely. Obviously, paying for a sponsored post to talk about what you had for lunch would be a waste of money. On the other hand, if you’re holding a special promotion or contest, you want as many of your followers to see and share it. Thus, you’d be smart to pay for placement when you hold a promotion. From there, as your followers share it, you’ll get even more exposure – and that exposure won’t cost you a penny.
- Use targeting when paying for placement. Facebook ads can be highly targeted. If you must pay for placement, make sure to pick the exact type of user you want to reach. You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you hone into your ideal follower.
- Encourage engagement. Ask questions, post share-worthy items, and encourage followers to respond by clicking the Like button. These actions cause your posts to be displayed in your followers’ news feeds. In addition, the more individuals engage with your page, the more likely your future posts will appear in their news feeds.
- Consider using Facebook’s comment box on your blog posts. This way, visitors to your blog can leave comments directly on your blog page. They would also be notified of new comments when in Facebook.
It’s hard to give up the idea of free promotion on sites such as Facebook. As Facebook dials back the reach of business updates, you may have no choice other than to get creative. If you must pay for placement, make it count.
Facebook is still a great place to find potential customers, but maybe not the best way to build relationships over time. Strategies like Facebook contests and promotions help you capture contact information from your fans, so you can help them become paying customers without worrying about reaching them with your posts.