As an agency professional in the business of sorting out social media for higher ed, nonprofits, small businesses and entrepreneurs, its harder and harder to find value in the pursuit of a strong Facebook page. There is definitely a unarguable value in the strength of communities, especially those who have organized outposts online. But for those who forget that the true essence of Facebook is to build and connect those communities around a common bond, Facebook is becoming a payola-like scam, it seems.
For instance, some food for thought:
Courtesy of Social Media Sun: “Facebook demotes most content that originates from a page automatically, and estimates put the amount of content that actually gets viewed by users at less than 20 percent. Previously it was most effective to send a Facebook user to your Facebook page in an ad. After the change to timeline, marketers will have to question whether they want to spend more money driving traffic to a place that will need constant investment to keep relevant. Even with 10,000 fans, brands will not be able to reach but a few of them without amping up (by paying for) their posts to sponsored status.”
Add to that recent reports from Huffington Post that state “Posts on Facebook pages reach just 16 percent of the people who have liked your page on average.”
Even further, All Facebook tells us “You aren’t visible to all your page fans when you post, and most of the fans never go back to a Facebook page after they’ve initially liked it. The average page post reaches only 1 in 6 fans. Page impressions are continuing to fall.”
What about those weekly posts? “The average Post Lifetime for a Page is 3 hours and 7 minutes,“ according to Edge Rank Checker.
With all of this in mind, Facebook may be making itself a less attractive option to those who cannot afford the time, effort, outside communication firm or advertising budget to ensure that content is seen by users. How long before the mass exodus of brands from pages to profiles, which, are given precedence in profile feeds?
Before jumping into Facebook – or, off a proverbial ledge if you already are executing your brand pages as flawlessly as possible and are getting nowhere – consider the following things:
1 – How much of your time, effort, man power and funds currently go into third-party social media networks? Its important to think about this because you are basically creating traffic for the entity, not so much your own site, which is where, arguably, you want people to go, in the long run.
2 – How creative and strategic are you with social technologies that allow users to forward or share your content? Even if you aren’t strong in social media, you should enable your audience to be so on your behalf. Make sure content has all the hooks, bells and whistles it can to be shared far and wide in a non-obtrusive or obnoxious way. Too much can be too much. Be thoughtful.
3 – Consider your content creation. How much of it is platform or vehicle focused (Facebook, magazines, etc) and how much of it can be seamlessly integrated into your own web properties? Content creation – and even curation – is time-consuming and can be outdated very quickly. How can content produced for one vehicle be multipurposed (but not spammy!), in other ways – be it multimedia content, integrated magazine content into your site, or conversations via hash tags on Twitter. Create a fluid conversation.
Bottom line? Facebook – and all social media for that matter – are platforms. They are tools to be used but not at the demise of an integrated, overall package of information and community engagement. Be sure you understand the tools chosen, the risks and the limitations to ensure the communication you think you’re making is actually that which the consumer sees.