Considering Abandoning Facebook?
Over the past few months, pretty much every brand and social media marketing agency has considered abandoning Facebook because of the volatile relationship most social marketers have developed with the social network. This relationship, in the context of a Facebook status update, would most certainly be “It’s Complicated”. The truth is, we’re all frustrated with our Facebook Page organic reach plummeting to 1-2% levels. The world’s largest social media platform has shifted from offering unlimited access to your followers, at no cost to you, to a full on pay-to-play media platform. It might be the time to ask; is abandoning Facebook is in your company’s best interest?
Many high profile individuals and companies have publicly expressed their frustration with marketing on Facebook. Even as early as November 2012, you’ll recall that Mark Cuban ranted about Facebook driving away brands with its monetization strategy. Then there was that high profile break up letter to Facebook from Eat24, the top rated delivery and takeout app for iPhone and Android devices. Even social media rock star, Jeff Bullas had his say about why you should forget Facebook.
But is giving up on Facebook really the best alternative? Isn’t that sort of like playing with the kids in the park and then taking your ball and running home crying when things don’t go your way? It kind of feels like that to me. Are all these frustrations against Facebook and declining organic reach legitimate? Do social media marketers and CMO’s have due cause to be pissed?
Why Abandoning Facebook Is A Bad Idea
Ok, let’s understand one thing. Life, as well as Facebook, aren’t fair. It is what it is. The News Feed algorithm is a pain in the butt no doubt. The lack of transparency surrounding social search and search algorithms in general is annoying as hell. But again, it is what it is.
At the end of the day, we have all either built a solid and engaged following of Facebook fans and ‘likes’ over the years, for free mind you, so why stop now just because we have to pay to play? Here are several reason why I believe giving up on Facebook is wrong and could be detrimental to your business.
Facebook Isn’t Perfect
Facebook was never meant to be an digital advertising medium for brands and businesses. At the end of the day, Facebook is a social network where you share photographs and your life experiences. Brands just hijacked this and started promoting products and services to individuals that may or may not have even been interested.
Because of this, Facebook introduces EdgeRank, which later became the News Feed Algorithm. It was something they had to do in order to filter the hundreds and thousands of status updates any given user would receive in their News Feed each and every day, let alone each and every hour. There’s just too much information being shared on Facebook by individual users and businesses.
This algorithm was created by humans after all and that itself can create imperfections. This algorithm supposedly shows users what they want to see, when they want to see it.
The other thing to note is this algorithm has no predecessors. It’s revolutionary in that it can’t be modelled after anything simply because there is nothing to model it against. What an interesting concept that is huh? Who would have ever thought that we’d need to record social activity while creating a custom and targeted news feed, for over one billion humans around the world.
This whole idea is bound to come with imperfections. Trial and error is has been a huge part of social media platforms and social media marketing because this is all new territory for us all. Facebook is also a public company and because of that, they must take into account and value the interest of their investors. Because of this, Facebook will always be a fluid company, consistently changing, with a few imperfections. Get used to it.
What You Lose By Giving Up On Facebook
This boils down to one major tactic for me. Have you ever experimented with advertising on Facebook? I’ve written on this blog before that the secret to increasing Facebook organic reach is targeted Facebook advertising. There are also a few other things you can do to survive the declining organ reach.
Before you get started, be sure to research the at least 10 Facebook advertising options that are available. I want to pint out 2 extremely useful and awesome re-marketing tactics that you can use if you stick with Facebook. They all revolve around “Facebook Custom Audiences”.
Re-Target Qualified Visitors From Your Website
This is on of my favourite Facebook marketing options. It’s incredible and will likely freak you out a little bit in an Edward Snoden/NSA type of way.
Did you know that if someone visits your website and views a page featuring one of your products or services and then before contacting you, downloading some useful content you provided, leaving an email address for you, or ultimately purchasing your product/service, that you can target them with a customized Facebook ad/offer/discount?
Facebook allows you to target visitors to your website, who arguably are the most qualified, with a custom Facebook ad in their News Feed. If some of their friends have liked your Facebook Page, that ad they see will further be validated as the ad/offer will come with social proof by saying “[friends name] like [your company page]”. Talk about a trusted testimonial!
This example of how Facebook can offer your company qualified leads, along with social proof, after a potential customer has left your website, is a huge potential for sale and a major reason why you should stick with Facebook marketing.
Re-Target Your Email Database
I’ll assume that you have a clear email capture form on your website home page and/or sidebar/footer. Whenever someone subscribes and leaved their email address, you can then target this individual directly with a customized and targeted Facebook ad directly in their personal News Feed. This is incredible marketing, if targeted effectively.
If you’re into segmenting your email list and email marketing, Facebook has targeting solutions to help you promote your services more efficiently. if you have different lists that users can subscribe to, you can target each segment accordingly.
For example, if someone subscribes to receive your weekly podcast, you can send them an ad tailored directly to promoting your latest podcast or blog. Another user could have signed up to receive your blog articles. You would target this person with an ad that promotes your latex blog content.
Other Facebook Targeting Options
Another plus to Facebook advertising is the ability to drill down and target your customers. While this may lower the total number of people that see your ad, I think it’s best this way and I’m sure you’d agree. Why not target 1000 qualified users rather than blowing your ad budget advertising to 100,000 users that may or may not be interested in your services.
Facebook allows you to target based on job title employer ,activity, interests, and general demographics like age, income, education, location, language, etc. Just think about being able to target qualified Facebook users for a reasonable fee, and where ether spend most of their time online – on Facebook.
There’s also another option that is totally legit and can really help you increase your reach and therefore, ad targeting. Why not target Facebook fans of your competitors!!?? Facebook doesn’t allow you to do this but with some innovative thinking, you can learn how to steal a competitors Facebook Fans.
An article by Jonathan Payne on Business2Community.com sums this all up best with this:
“Facebook is THE most targeted, powerful, and affordable advertising platform in the history of mankind.”
The Important But Low Profile Stuff You Give Up
While there are many major things you risk losing if you abandon your Facebook marketing, some of which we discussed above, there are also a few other things worth mentioning that you may not have thought of. Some of these include:
1. Two way communication with your customers.
2. Monitoring the social conversation online around your brand.
3. If you’re really only reaching the reported 16% of your total fans, sure that sucks but why would you want to abandon 16% of your fans? Ask yourself if you’d ever abandon your customers on any other marketing platform?
You Can Get With This, Or You Can Get With That – The Choice Is Yours
I’m hoping the above shows you clearly what you’d actually be losing if you decide to abandon Facebook. Trust me, I too have had that thought. But then I started thinking and realized that it’s ok. Pay to pay actually works well on Facebook if you use custom audiences. Facebook advertising can be successful and reasonable in price.
If you have any questions with Facebook advertising or custom audiences, please reach out and contact me. I’d be happy to tell you all about it and show you case studies on the ROI that VPDM has generated for our client’s Facebook advertising campaigns.
If you have thoughts on custom audiences and social media advertising in general, please share them in the comments below.