Facebook has become a home to 1 billion users and brands are well aware of the fact that their target audience is spending a lot of time here.
However as social graphs are becoming interest graphs, users are also more careful about choosing the people and friends they connect with and the brands they want to follow.
To make the work even more challenging, a recent report shows that Facebook altered its EdgeRank algorithm, the formula behind how updates are shown in news feed. Most of the community managers noticed and experienced a huge decline in the organic reach from Facebook page updates last month.
Obviously Facebook marketers’ responsibilities have scaled up and this job is more difficult than it was one or two years ago.
Facebook marketing success is not an easy road
Why is this the case?
1. Users are more experienced and smarter in using social networks.
2. The range of demographic population has already reached all age groups, including our moms, uncles and grandparents. Too much posts, photos and comments are often the cause of attention disorder and a reason why users now carefully choose how they spend time online (with friends and engaging with brands). There is an evident trend of unlikes right after a Facebook contest on particular fan pages is over. This means that brand must be more creative in their approach and plan for other strategies than “buying” fans with attractive awards.
3. Social networks are first of all, place for people to connect with friends. Most of them do not want to hear about products promotions and watch advertisments.
Companies cannot and should not apply the same tactics as in the traditional marketing. Most of marketers are acquainted of the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm. The more interaction (likes, shares and comments) on a fan page, the more its value in the Facebook formula is increased.
Facebook was very clever to introduce Promoted posts, feature that enables fan pages to promote a particular post in order to get more exposure in the news feed
4. Brands are becoming publishers and any brand is a media company now. Not anyone is capable of preparing a quality content plan and respond to audience information appetites. Fans are motivated from different ways to engage with brands: discounts and special promotions, showing association and support to a brand, expectation to get exclusive information on Facebook, to learn more about the company etc.
Like is not an opt-in as fans do not equal customers.
5. A community manager job is not a simple one. A person who is leading the Facebook community must know how to connect with an audience and communicate a brand’s message. He should not have problem with flexible working hours since this is not 9-17 job. Community manager should love people and talking with people and he must know how to put his ego aside.
In order to make sure a brand gets positive results and ROI:
1. Company must have trained, educated and capable people for social media communication.
2. A brand need to work with professionals and agencies who leave and breath social media, know their market and are on the edge of newest trends and changes.
Either way, both scenarios require more resources and budgets, something that characterizes larger companies and organizations. However, a comparison between old and new media justifies the budgets in social media. Many success cases illustrate that these channels are very cost effective and now necessary ingredient in the marketing mix arsenal.
What do you think, can small companies develop a great strategy to sustain valuable social media presence on their own?