Facebook is Dead for Brands, Now What?

Facebook deadIn the summer, Facebook reduced the organic reach of brand’s posts to less than 2% of the brand’s likes. With dismissal results like this, why are brands continuing to have a social strategy that includes Facebook?

According to a Facebook spokesperson, “We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”

Fast forward to the present and Facebook is reporting record growth. The company earned $2.96 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter, up 64 percent from just a year ago. So yeah, Facebook is not dead. It is just dead as a social sharing option for brands. For brands, Facebook is nothing more than another mass audience platform to deliver advertisements. Smart companies no longer use paid Facebook to produce blatant sales ads. They create paid stories on Facebook to adapt to users’ behavior. So yes, Facebook is a good platform for targeted paid media. But what should brands do to build relationships and grow their target audience organically?

A good two years ago plus, I suggested that “… Facebook May Not Be Your Brand’s Community” over two years ago. While Facebook has changed much in the past couple of years, my premise has stayed the same. And now it is punctuated more than every.

When it comes to Facebook (or any other platform) you must remember – You do not own it. You never owned the complete data set of your likes and that should have been a yellow flag all along. Facebook has changed its rules of engagement for brands more than any other social platform, but you can expect other platforms to follow course. If you want to manage your own social strategy without having your strings pulled, think about embedding your community on your own site.

The first response I get when I tell (non-strategic) people this is, “But Facebook has a gazillion users that I need to leverage. I could never get as many ‘likes’ on my own community.” And you know what … they are correct. You could never get as many followers on your own community. But your own community can still yield great results.

First off, of all the likes you have converted on Facebook, an overwhelming majority of them never really followed you to begin with. Most of them were enticed by some promotion and then never paid attention to you after that. And now with a practically non-existent organic reach, just about no one sees your post anyway.

The second reality is that if someone opts in to be a community member on your own site, they really are interested in your brand. Yes the number of onsite community members will likely be significantly smaller than the number of Facebook likes. But the community members are true brand loyalist (assuming you give them compelling information, stories, and promotions as a community member). Would it not be great if you had 500 community members and 100 of them were true advocates spreading the word about your brand? What is the value of having 100 objective people sharing your brand, marketing your brand to their friends and family?

Early this year, I gave you pointers on “Successful Social Marketing Integrating Content and Community.” In another article I told you ”Why Your Budget Must Include Website Re-investment.” Consider these two strategies going forward. Make sure the digital assets you own are most valuable and compelling to your audience. Build a marketing strategy based upon the capture and conversion of your target audience on YOUR OWNED digital assets. Then use other social platforms and channels to drive traffic to your digital asset.

In summary, let me ask you a rhetorical question … where do you think you can best monetize your target audience … on your digital asset or one owned by the other person?

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

10 Comments

Filed under community, Facebook, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

10 responses to “Facebook is Dead for Brands, Now What?

  1. Mike Poynton

    Interesting and timely post, Steve. I’m working with an animal welfare non-profit right now on some website enhancements for them where people can post funny photos of pets and also memorialize pets who have passed away. We’re building a community at their “hub” – their website. It’s exactly what you’re talking about here. I’m very excited about it. Will let you know how things turn out. Thanks for the post!

  2. Great piece ! I’ve been grappling with this, particularly because a client already has one FB property and wants another one for a second brand. I’m with you on this: I just don’t think it’s worth it to start a Page now for community. But is Google+ ? There doesn’t seem to be a natural fit for brand pages if not on FB right now.

  3. Thank you Steve – very interesting and helpful. We have several professional and/or financial service clients who want to be more socially engaged and continue to say they need to be more active on LinkedIn – what is your perspective on this? Personally I am not a great fan of LinkedIn.

    • Libby – I find LinkedIn to be very useful. I produce much content there and it has helped business networking. It is also worth noting that LI is the number one traffic driver to my blog. Best, Steve

  4. Totally agree. It’s the same for video marketing where the best strategy is to host most of your best content on your own site via a paid hosting platform and then use YouTube to capture traffic via search (via carefully targeted content) which can then be driven to your site.

  5. Nice post. Thanks for sharing.Along with this we should also give emphasis on page speed and browser compatibility of the website.

  6. Interesting article – how do you feel about the “like our page and share our post to enter a competition” marketing strategy on Facebook? Is this just an example of engaging an audience whose interest in your page will be short lived?

    • I will answer your question this way … What if you gave away an iPad to everyone that liked your page? You could get a billion likes. Will those people come back? Contests are ONLY good if you have a deep engagement strategy to follow. Contest are a good starting point, but the real value comes from a deeply engaged audience and contests do NOTHING for that. So if you want to rally up some initial awareness, a contest might be good. If you want to win customers you must think very different about social.

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