First, it was the silence that was deafening. Now it’s the noise.
As we all know, social media has become ubiquitous in our lives. Facebook users are now over 2 billion strong, and a quick, informal survey in any waiting room, street corner, or airport would suggest that people are enamored by, if not hopelessly addicted to, their mobile devices.
This intense focus coupled with the ability to track and specifically target users has created an incredible amount of competition for people’s attention. But, somewhat counterintuitive to the massive influx of users and the simultaneous increase in screen time, we are clearly seeing a reduction in organic reach for social platforms – specifically Facebook. This didn’t just happen, either. Facebook organic reach has been declining for years now.
The underlying problem is noise. Hundreds of Facebook friends, liked pages, and advertisements constantly vying for eyeballs and attention. In fact, Facebook states that some users post to pages up to 80 times per day – which seems crazy – but when you consider the fact that only 5% of your followers see all of your posts on their feeds, the rationale for a high number of posts begins to make more sense. Even Facebook itself advises users “not to worry about over posting” because Facebook curates posts to be most relevant to specific users’ feeds. So not every post is guaranteed to show up in all of your followers’ feeds. This begs the question; how can engagement keep up with this continuous increase in content. The answer: clearly it has not.
So what now? Facebook is an indispensable marketing and outreach resource for small and large businesses, groups, associations, and government. We believe that successful social strategies, specifically on Facebook, must contain targeted messages to segment and to audience. The organic social approach for a small business operating in a tight knit community that sponsors events or a business with frequent updates to inventory will realize a greater benefit and reach for organic posts. Same goes for associations and in some cases government. The community dynamic of this content lends perfectly to the Facebook model.
The organic approach for large businesses on social faces the most headwind. Some industry experts suggest large enterprises should abandon organic social efforts all together, but there are some instances where organic reach for large business can still have a meaningful impact. Video is by far the most effective medium to increase reach for large brands. Original video content has a high “share” propensity. While it can be expensive to produce, the impact is often worth the investment.
It’s also important to note that developing video for organic social doesn’t need to be a six-figure production. There are many examples of low cost video that created outrageous amounts of buzz (such as Dollar Shave Club). With a good idea and proper planning, social video can be produced in short intervals at low cost and still result in big wins.
If video production is not in the cards, but reach is still a primary goal, try paid social. In conjunction with organic, paid social provides extended reach with the added benefit of contextual and behavioral targeting.
The reality is that the almost deafening noise online will only get worse for the foreseeable future. Keeping specific customer preferences and tendencies in mind when publishing social content is more important than ever. Create content that fits demographic, geographic and psychographic profiles. Multiple versions of messaging, story-telling, and/or offers, and then carefully monitoring engagement, is a much better use of resources then simply blasting out broad stroke content.