Facebook marketing is relatively new in grand scope of life yet still represents a fundamental shift in online marketing. In fact, the business of Facebook has arguably overpowered its social implications even before its IPO. Recently, Facebook made a subtle shift in its algorithm that has significant implications for marketers. Specifically, posts that show up in the News Feed will be determined by how often you interact with the publisher. You may have noticed for yourself that you don’t see updates from all your friends. In fact, if you want to see more posts from a certain person, simply go to their page and like a few posts then you will see more from them. The recent change however has a greater impact on brands. Only your most engaged fans will see your posts. This has a number of key ramifications:
1) Owned media is being devalued- You own your Facebook page (in the marketing sense) because you control what content you post there. Similar to a blog, you add content and build an audience. With this change to the Facebook algorithm your audience is further away. You will have to compete with many more posts and updates to be seen.
2) Facebook is becoming a paid channel- Facebook advertising has always been part of a cohesive social strategy but now it is even more important. Facebook has essentially increased the role advertising plays in getting seen and many pages will have to pay more to be noticed.
3) Facebook ads will be more expensive- Demand will start to increase for ad space on Facebook which will assuredly increase prices as well. So now you are buying more ads at a higher cost.
Here are a few things to consider for your brand while managing the new Facebook landscape:
1) Without an increased ad budget, the fans who interact with you are naturally the most engaged fans. Make sure you do whatever you can to own that customer outside of Facebook. Contests, sweepstakes and promotions will all help you gather email and SMS data on these fans. Once you own direct access to these fans you can can communicate directly.
2) Assess the viability of Facebook as a channel for you. Technology should always be the last consideration in a marketing strategy. If you have less than 1,000 fans take a hard look to determine if Facebook is the best place to focus your efforts. Since these changes to the Facebook algorithm entail an increased ad budget perhaps your money would be better spent on retargeting ads.
3) Expect Facebook to continue to shift. Facebook has not changed as much as Google in the last few years but be sure to stay informed of new changes. Both sites can change overnight with little or no warning so be sure you have access to the most up to date information about the changes and their impact on your marketing.