Why Facebook is still worth talking about
Given that in December 2013 Facebook had 1.23 billion active users, with the fastest growing demographic being between the age of 45 and 55, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume your target audience is a part of that number. And, if they’re a part of that number, to want to figure out a way to reach them.
If you don’t already have a corporate presence on Facebook, these figures, coupled with the fact that Facebook users spend an average of 17.39 minutes every day on this platform alone, should be enough to press you into taking action.
If you do have a Facebook Business Page and some semblance of strategy, there are some things you should know about the News Feed. These things will pertain to whether/not you get seen.
Is Facebook the social version of Google Adwords?
In light of recent events – mainly a change to Facebook’s News Feed ranking algorithm – what is and isn’t displayed in your news feed are primary factors forcing businesses’ world-wide to reconsider how they treat Facebook.
In previous years, it was easier for marketers and agencies to tell their clients HOW the ranking system worked – post often and post interesting and so long as you’ve got followers, your posts will probably be seen. This is no longer the case and although some may say that you just have to understand EdgeRank (the name given to the algorithm that Facebook users to rank stories and posts in a feed) in order to rank, Facebook no longer uses this terminology in house and now has tens of thousands of factors that contribute toward how a post ranks in the Feed.
According to Lars Backstrom, Facebook’s Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking, there are as many as
“100,000 individual weights in the model that produces News Feed. The three original EdgeRank elements – Affinity, Weight and Time Decay are still factors in News Feed ranking, but other things are equally important”.
If you have no idea what EdgeRank is or was, a good starting point is to have a look at the ‘What is EdgeRank’ site. It will give you a basic understanding of these core terms and how different types of posts are weighted in the News Feed. Of course, as Facebook says, there are many other factors that contribute and this has continued to remain the case with new changes including ‘Story Bumping & Last Actor’ and ‘News-worthy Content’ to name but a few.
Given how many factors contribute toward getting seen in the News Feed, the real question remains: Should you invest time in organic (non-paid) posts to your Facebook Business Page in the hopes of getting seen in the Feed?
Toward the last half of last year, Komfo, a social marketing firm, decided to study why so many marketers were complaining about a “significant and frustrating decrease” in ‘fan penetration’ ( a term used to indicate the percentage of fans a brand page average reaches with its content). They did a study of 5000 Facebook Pages (of varied sizes) and found that between August 2013 and November 2013, there were indeed some significant changes, namely:
- 42% decrease in Fan Penetration
- 31% increase in Viral Amplification
- 28% increase in Click Through Rate
While the decrease in Fan Penetration is somewhat unnerving, the fact that virality and engagement have gone up, is cheering. However, if your goal is to reach as many people as possible, you may not want to rely on non-paid content alone as, according to Komfo, probably only 14.5% of your fans will see it.
“In Komfo we do not doubt that the survey shows that there is no “free lunch” on Facebook anymore, and companies have to start investing in Facebook advertising if they want to reach the right audience with their content.
However, it also shows that the Facebook’s algorithms, that control what we see in our newsfeed, have been improved. Facebook has become better at showing a page’s content to the most engaged users.”
This is where Facebook’s Paid Advertising platform comes in…
If you haven’t yet changed the way you think about Facebook, it may well be the time to do so. Facebook’s setup is no longer so dissimilar to Google’s own Adwords platform. Interestingly Google and Facebook are coming at the problem from two different directions. Google began with ads and rolled out social, Facebook began with social and rolled out ads, perhaps one of the main reasons that marketers are still treating these platforms differently when the truth is they’re not. Both companies are trying to make as much money as possible with targeted advertisements that are arguably beneficial for them and for those investing in this scheme. Just as it is with Google’s paid ranking system, Facebook too will give prominence to those that are likely to spend more and who will produce more ‘relevant’ content that generates real engagement (actions like shares, likes, comments, etc).
What this now means is that if you want people to see your posts – the posts you make to your Facebook page and for that matter, across Facebook, you’re going to have to start paying. Pay to boost your posts. Pay to boost your events, your coupons and your page.
A word to the wise
Before you go out and spend a fortune on Facebook ads, keep this in mind: Facebook’s News Feed ranking algorithm displays only that information that it believes the user wants to see. This means that if a user decides to ‘hide’ your advertisement, you’re a lot less likely to come up in their feed again, in spite of the fact that they’re STILL following you. Therefore, err on the side of caution and make sure to check your reach month-on-month. As with any type of advertising, don’t spam people. There is too much creativity in modern advertising to be dull and if you’re dull you’re far more likely to get put in the ‘spam folder’.
Our advice and a ‘5 Step Facebook Advertising Process’
For this section we’ve included a graphic as well. Save it and use as a reminder, OR download the PDF, print it out and stick it where you’ll see it. Otherwise, if you’d prefer, simply go ahead and read the process below.
First ensure that the content you post on Facebook is of interest. After all, why is anyone going to like it, share it or follow you unless this is the case? Plus, the more interesting you make your content and the more useful, the more likely your fans will be to check back in with you on your page, especially if they’re worried about missing out on offers, news, etc.
Second, set aside a monthly budget to begin dabbling with. It doesn’t have to be large – even £100 will do.
Third, start by boosting posts and by setting up paid Facebook ads to increase your overall exposure. If you’re no good at creating images that will attract potential customers (for the paid Page ads), outsource the work to someone who can. The same goes for the content within your posts
Fourth, refine. This process will be different for every company. Facebook has a brilliant advertising platform for ‘
How can Xanthos Help?
We can work with you to create a social media marketing strategy that is right for your company. We can also work with you on a content marketing strategy and on producing all of the relevant materials to suit it. If you’d like to find out more, give us a call, or tell us what you’re looking for by filling out our contact form on the contact us page on our website.