Facebook has proven to be a very good Chameleon in today’s social space. While its constant change isn’t meant for camouflage, it’s mainly meant to keep their users on their platform for as long as possible.
This could be a real pain for marketers and business owners. As soon as we begin familiarizing with a new feature, Facebook introduces a new one and we all have to start all over again.
I don’t blame them though, the playground is changing really fast with the introduction of new platforms each day and if they don’t stay relevant to their users, some other platform will easily take over. That’s why you see the company spending $19 billion dollars to purchase WhatsApp. If you can’t compete with it, then BUY IT!
That being said, what exactly should you be focusing on in 2014 concerning Facebook marketing?
1- Pay to Play
Yes, yes, you’re upset of how Facebook is constantly reducing your posts reach, but hey, they’re trying to stay relevant to their users and it’s really hard to do that with their users liking hundreds of pages!
This is becoming a major trend in 2014 and beyond. The days of reaching your prospects for free are gone. In order for you to be able to reach the rest of your fans (around 90%), you need to pay!
Paying for reach isn’t a bad thing as many would like to think. If you’ve cultivated a targeted fanbase, then the more reach you’re going to have, the better results. Jon Loomer ran an advertising campaign promoting his product. The very interesting thing about his case study was that when he targeted his fans with ads, he got a 45.9X return on his investment (he spent $207 on ads and made $9,481.50 in revenue!!!). However, when he targeted non-fans, do you know how much transactions he got? NONE!
This proves that if you really spend time and effort into building a loyal community, it will pay off. Facebook may raise the bar as high as they wish, but you’ll always stay immune to their changes if you focus on your community!
2- Invest In Assets You Own
As a small business owner, it’s not practical to always pay to promote your posts. With bigger brands spending more to compete for a place in the newsfeed, a small business owner will have no other choice but to invest in assets they really own!
By assets you own, I’m talking about your email list. You should spend more effort into building a targeted list of prospects and customers that will continue to fuel your business. No one knows what changes Facebook might bring to their platform, so it’s safer to exploit these social platforms so you can build your own platform.
There are many ways you can get your fans to subscribe to your email list. The most effective of them is running giveaways on your page. You can also use the promoted post feature to promote your different lead magnets whether it’s a new video series, an ebook or a simple coupon code.
3- Don’t Try to Game The System
People have been doing this with Google for ages now. If there is anything to learn here, it’s that if you don’t focus on the user experience and benefit, the system will always beat you.
On Facebook, businesses and marketers have been trying to game what was called EdgeRank and now the “News Feed Algorithm” for years. Affinity was a great factor for getting your posts shown to your fans, so marketers did all that it takes to get more likes, comments, shares…etc. However, the new algorithm has more than 100,000 factors for Facebook to determine whether your post is worth appearing in your fans news feed. Does that sound familiar?
Yes it does!
Google did the same when spammers started to use black-hat methods to acquire more links which were a major ranking factor for Google. After that, Google introduced a series of updates (Panda, Penguin, EMD…etc) and all pages that focused on anything but the user experience got wiped out from the SERPs.
What to learn here is that you shouldn’t try to game the system and instead focus on the user experience. David Oliver, Chief of Police at the Brimfield Police Department in Ohio was able to build a very engaged community of more than 140,000 Facebook fans, although his town has only 10,600 people. Most of his Facebook posts go against what marketers advise as best practices, yet he managed to build and maintain a large community of very engaged people using only the department’s genuine voice!
4- Visual Continues to Rise
Last year, we saw an increase in reach for text posts. After testing that, Facebook realized that text posts don’t perform for pages as well as they do on personal profiles. In the beginning of 2014, Facebook decided to limit their reach so businesses can use the visual rich feature that shows wide images with link posts.
All the indicators show that the online world is becoming more visual and the reason is simply the “Short Attention Span” of today’s user. Images and visuals in general are very easy to consume while text takes too much time (YES, we’re becoming lazier).
With Facebook introducing video ads in their news feed as well as their failed attempt to acquire SnapChat for $3 billion. If this shows anything, it indicates that you should invest more in visual because it will continue to rule!
That being said, which Facebook marketing tactics do you think will be the most effective in 2014? Leave a comment below!
Image Credit: birgerking