The PR BlogDigital PRSocial Media ManagementFacebook Zero: Your First Fix Was Free

Facebook Zero: Your First Fix Was Free

To stay in the Facebook game, you must now pay to play.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

No more organ­ic reach for busi­nesses — Facebook Zero is here to stay.

Facebook has suc­cess­fully framed the decline of organ­ic reach for Facebook Pages as being con­cerned for the users, prom­ising more vis­ib­il­ity for posts from your social graph.

But from start to fin­ish, this has been a bait-and-switch cam­paign by Facebook to attract brands with organ­ic traffic and then, once these brands have grown depend­ent on that traffic, pull out the plug.

So, Facebook is rap­idly turn­ing into an advert­ising plat­form. How will this affect your Facebook strategy? 

Here goes:

The Decline of Organic Reach on Facebook

We’ve all seen the decline of organ­ic reach for Facebook pages. 

I have it on good author­ity from inside sources on Facebook that it will con­tin­ue to drop for com­mer­cial pages. Inside sources pre­dict that organ­ic reach will hit 0% for non-boos­ted cor­por­ate updates in the not-too-dis­tant future.

Also, Facebook advises against paid cam­paigns aim­ing to get more likes for your page. Having many fans con­nec­ted to your page won’t help you as much as it once did. 

Today that rela­tion­ship between the user and the com­pany is a data point used for paid tar­get­ing, not for organ­ic reach.

More “Paid-First” Strategies

There’s an ongo­ing debate on wheth­er organ­ic reach for Facebook is dead. Here’s the breakdown:

If you don’t pay for reach when post­ing your con­tent, the sales team at Facebook will be the first to explain (if your com­pany is a poten­tial advert­iser) that you won’t get any organ­ic reach for “free.” Organic reach for non-boos­ted com­mer­cial con­tent will likely drop to 0% (“Facebook Zero”).

However, if you boost your updates and you get lots of social reac­tions (shares, likes, com­ments), then Facebook will reward your cam­paign with some added organ­ic reach on top. It is a bonus to encour­age you to con­trib­ute great and free edit­or­i­al-style con­tent to their enter­tain­ment platform.

There’s noth­ing to stop people from shar­ing and dis­cuss­ing your URLs; some social objects will go ‘organ­ic­ally vir­al’ with­in Facebook — but this will be rare from a cor­por­ate perspective. 

Organic reach for Facebook remains a potential. 

Still, if you’re a com­pany pub­lish­ing status updates to reach your fans and cus­tom­ers, you must update your Facebook strategy to a ‘Paid First’ strategy.

How To Deal With Facebook Zero

You have to be pre­pared to pay or avoid becom­ing invis­ible on Facebook. Here’s how to rethink your strategy:

1. You Must Pay To Play

Making com­pan­ies “pay twice” was a douchebag move on Facebook’s part. However, get­ting emo­tion­al or angry won’t make much of a dif­fer­ence; Facebook’s too big and power­ful to care — and they will get away with it wheth­er you like it. It’s bet­ter to spend your energy on being constructive.

2. Facebook’s Ad Platform is Clever

The first fix was free,” but now the fun­’s over. Instead, brands have got­ten access to a fant­ast­ic advert­ising plat­form. And there’s a skill to get­ting the most out of it, so it’s time to start learn­ing. Facebook have sev­er­al free online courses.

3. Organic Reach is Mostly Dark Anyway

Facebook’s still a sig­ni­fic­ant refer­rer of traffic to cor­por­ate web­sites. Much of this is dark social. Not because of what brands pub­lish on their pages but because people share links between them­selves on Facebook. And this has always been a sig­ni­fic­ant Facebook oppor­tun­ity for brands — word-of-mouth.

4. “Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me”

Social media sites, like any oth­er com­pany, must some­how mon­et­ise their com­munit­ies. Facebook’s bait-and-switch strategy (get people through the door and then change the rules) is not uncom­mon in social net­works. You must ensure that your brand lever­ages exist­ing oppor­tun­it­ies — without put­ting all eggs in one basket.

5. Build Your Own Direct Audience

How would you reach your online com­munity if all social net­works dis­ap­peared tomor­row? If you haven’t already, you need to take meas­ures to estab­lish means of dir­ect con­tact (via email, for instance) with your brand audi­ence.

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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