Facebook has been slowly but surely limiting the organic reach of brand generated content to its fans. Today, brand posts average about 2% of fan eyeballs… however, over the next few months, organic reach of brand page posts is predicted to be 0% – hence the nickname “Facebook Zero.”
Facebook has some good, and some not-so-good reasons, for limiting organic reach of brand posts. First, the social networking company wants to de-clutter individual newsfeeds to create a higher quality end-user experience. This tactic ensures that the content shared is most relevant and engaging to the user who will be receiving the information in their personal newsfeed. Sounds altruistic enough, right? However, the second reason Facebook is limiting organic reach by brands is so they can make money. Can’t blame them, can you?
Chances are if you’ve spent the past few years building a strong following on Facebook, this news is disheartening. Facebook says that in order for brand content to be seen on fan newsfeeds, brands will have to pay up.
While this isn’t ideal news from brands, brands are learning a few things about the good, the bad, and the ugly side of marketing.
Lesson #1: Survival of the Fitness (or Most Relevant)
While in an ideal world brands wouldn’t create content that is outright spammy, unfortunately they do. If fans turn away from Facebook because it’s become overrun with spam-like content, then the time and money brands spent building a fan base on Facebook would be for naught. If you’re willing to pay some money each month to Facebook, your posts will be seen by a larger percentage of fans. This is forcing brands to think long and hard about what kinds of posts they put up because their hard earned marketing dollars are being spent on it.
Lesson #2: Better Content Rules
Facebook’s algorithm makes it so the best content rises to the top. That means a really good post that gets lots of likes, comments and shares will more likely achieve much more organic reach than the average 2% reach. Again, this is forcing brands to post quality content (vs. quantity).
Lesson #3: Social Media Is Not Free
Brands were so quick to abandon expensive advertising for free social media. In fact, brands moved to social media so fast that newspapers and magazines (which depended on advertising revenue to stay afloat) fell hard and fast. Facebook is putting the brakes on that mentality (at least a little bit), retraining brands to pay for marketing reach. Nothing is truly free. (And a word to the wise for all the brands who jumped ship from Facebook for another “free” social media platform, don’t you think all those other platforms are watching Facebook and considering a similar business model. You’ve been forewarned!)
Lesson #4: Consider Who Owns Your Media
Remember, when you post content on your own website and blog, you own the content. No one can take that away from you or start charging for people to see it. But when you rely on social media platforms owned by Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other rising social companies, you are relying on their business models, which, as we’ve seen, can change on a dime.
Lesson #5: Don’t Be Social Media Dependent
While I toyed with calling this lesson, “Don’t be Facebook Dependent,” I do believe other social media platforms may soon follow Facebook’s lead. So I decided to call this lesson, “Don’t Be Social Media Dependent,” because I believe that a good marketing strategy never relies on one piece of the marketing pie. Rather, a good marketing promotion strategy involves a variety of tactics. Customers are finicky, and marketers should be careful not to put all their marketing eggs in one basket.
What else have we learned from the coming of Facebook Zero? Are you being smarter about how you market? Are you finding it easier to cut through the clutter on Facebook? Please share and learn from others too!