If I were to sit down in 2012 to write this post, it would read quite differently. We once thought of social media as a place where people connected with friends and family to stay in touch and share common interests. Not long after that, we saw the great awakening of brands flocking to the platforms to promote themselves and engage with target audiences – if you weren’t on Facebook and Twitter, you were missing out on a key opportunity to connect with customers.
Then, in January 2015, everything changed on Facebook, when the social media giant announced it would shift its algorithms to bump up posts from real people, and quiet posts from brands. This shift resulted in companies (especially small businesses) struggling to reach an audience on the platform, even if the page had many followers or likes. Page managers were finding that, even with a following in the thousands, individual posts were reaching just 20 to 50 people. But not to fear, Facebook had a solution – paid, promoted posts.
Earlier this month, in an effort to “get back to its roots,” Facebook announced its users should now expect to see even less content from businesses, brands and media and more from friends, family and groups. The move is intended to encourage people to interact more with the stuff that they actually do see.
So this begs the question, is Facebook worth the time for the brands which have created 60 million currently active pages? With the odds stacked against visibility on the platform, it can still be a valuable tool, but only if your business meets at least one of the following criteria:
You are willing to pay for promoted posts. Simply put, one of the only ways to reach a mass audience on the platform is to pay to boost posts. Facebook has made big promises in the past regarding how many people can view your post – all you have to do is show Facebook the money.
You have a very large following. To address the obvious, companies with a large number of existing followers should continue to use the site. Even given the current restrictions, an organization with a million followers may still reach thousands with one post, compared to one with only 1,000 followers, which might only reach 35 to 40 people with a post.
Your competitors are having success on Facebook. If you’re trying to decide whether a Facebook page is worth your time, take a look at your competitors’ pages. If they have a large following with great engagement, that’s a good sign that your business might too.
The bottom line is that Facebook is intentionally making it harder for businesses to “organically” cut through the noise on the platform. If your company matches either of our three criteria, you can still find success there. Otherwise, consider using Twitter or LinkedIn.
At W2 Communications, we specialize in helping clients raise their visibility and distinguish their value through their digital marketing and social media efforts. If you’re interested in connecting with one of our social media experts to learn how we can assist your company, then please contact us.