Is Facebook really on the decline as a major Social Media Marketing Tool?

Is Facebook dying? Well, at least for digital marketing? It doesn’t seem true because Facebook was a pioneering digital marketing platform and remains the largest social media network. However, Facebook has been decreasing organic reach, making it useless. Organic reach is your visibility on your liker’s News Feeds – you post something on your page and it gets disseminated across News Feeds of people that have stated, by liking your page, that they are interested in your content and staying informed. This also makes you visible to your fans’ friends, and so on.

A new Facebook algorithm has slashed this effect and your page posts will reach approximately 1 percent of your fan base (in March 2014, a 6.5 percent organic reach was reported, down from 16 percent in February 2012). If you have 10,000 likes, only 100 of those will see your post appear in their News Feed. Have less than 10,000 likes? In that case you may reach a few dozen people at most, unless you pay to promote your post.

Facebook Front Page

Facebook digital marketing is no longer the cost-free godsend that it was once considered. Companies marketing on Facebook know to promote especially important posts from time to time, but now a post can be rendered pointless unless you pay for it, every time. This is no threat to large corporations like Nike, Paramount Pictures, and McDonald’s, among others, who have seemingly endless marketing funds. This transition is hitting small to mid-size businesses who cannot afford to promote every post, and Facebook users that earnestly desire to stay connected with the companies and causes that matter to them.

Instead of being mad because a free service is disappearing, companies reliant on Facebook digital marketing are concerned with the money they have already invested into Facebook. Posting is free and was effective at the height of organic reach so companies invested resources like personnel, time, and money into developing a lucrative Facebook presence and original content.

Some companies have noticed for a while that paid advertising on Facebook does not reap the anticipated benefits, with some sites going as far as hinting that Facebook may be complicit with click farms, and many are ditching the social media network altogether. Last month, Eat24 posted a hilarious but too-true break up note to Facebook on the food delivery site’s blog before they deleted their fan page with more than 70,000 likes.

Like and Share Thumbs Up

The Facebook digital marketing problem seems insurmountable, but it’s still not too late. You may be able to improve your Facebook marketing results by re-strategizing. The purpose of your Facebook page is to share content that your specific fan base will find interesting. Try sharing a variety of content to find what fits your customers. Play around with posts by including links, photos, and videos and monitor activity to see which posts were the biggest successes. If a post is particularly popular, pin it to the top of your page so it is the first thing people see when visiting. This will be your first impression on new visitors.

Find the best time of day for your posts, too. Social media sites and various resources for digital marketing professionals tell you that Facebook posts are best done at a certain hour and Twitter posts at a different time according to user activity peaks. However, this does not work across the board. A mother of a newborn checks her Facebook at a different time than a truck driver. Think about who you are trying to reach and nail down specific post times. This may require some trial and error, but you have Facebook analytic tools to help. Also track click-through traffic with Google Analytics to see exactly how many of your site visitors were generated by social media.

Social media on Smartphone

Another popular method of reaching more interested Facebook users is to create some contest hinged on sharing the post. For example, an online shapewear retailer is trying to capitalize on wedding planning season and increase sales of its bridal corsets. The shapewear company can post a picture of a bridal corset or even a photo of a beautiful bride without a care in the world, least of all her figure on the big day. The contest will award a lucky winner with a free bridal corset, and to enter people just have to share the post. Here you instantly have mass sharing with the content appearing on personal Facebook pages across the country, reaching a large audience. You can run this type of contest by offering a coupon or other incentive – or you can just run a photo contest or another fun program to excite and grow your fan base without losing a penny.

Most importantly, stop relying solely on Facebook. Social media networks and marketing toolshave exploded over the past few years. Try a multi-network campaign connecting all of your platforms. You can also leave Facebook altogether and try to be an early adopter with the next big platform.