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

As PR pro­fes­sion­als, can we turn a blind eye to paid media?

  • Tounge in cheek, many PR pro­fes­sion­als will say, “Advertising is the tax you pay for not being remark­able.

Moving for­ward you might have to be pre­pared to pay to 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 yet anoth­er power­ful pro­gram­mat­ic 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 is 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”

Like most oth­er com­pan­ies, social media sites must some­how mon­et­ise their com­munit­ies. Facebook’s bait-and-switch strategy is com­mon among matur­ing social net­works on the emer­ging Money Web. 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 brand 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 com­mu­nic­a­tions, for instance) with your brand audi­ence.

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please con­sider shar­ing my pub­lic rela­tions blog with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. If you have ques­tions (or want to retain my PR ser­vices), please con­tact me at jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: Why We Share on Social Media

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Why We Share on Social Media

People want to be loved; fail­ing that admired; fail­ing that feared; fail­ing that hated and des­pised. They want to evoke some sort of sen­ti­ment. The soul shud­ders before obli­vi­on and seeks con­nec­tion at any price.”
— Hjalmar Söderberg (1869−1941), Swedish author

When we share on social media, we share for a reas­on. And that reas­on typ­ic­ally has some­thing to do with ourselves:

  • We share to make ourselves look smart.
  • We share to fit in and to stand out.
  • We share to express individuality.
  • We share to belong to our in-group.
  • We share to be loved.
  • We share to pro­voke reac­tions for atten­tion.
  • We share to extract sympathy.
  • We share to make us feel bet­ter about ourselves.
  • We share to get ahead.
  • We share to grow an audience.
  • We share to com­pensate for our shortcomings.
  • We share to get the respect we need.

If you can get social media to work for you, great. But you should also be mind­ful not to let the pres­sure get the bet­ter of you.

A status update with no likes (or a clev­er tweet without retweets) becomes the equi­val­ent of a joke met with silence. It must be rethought and rewrit­ten. And so we don’t show our true selves online, but a mask designed to con­form to the opin­ions of those around us.”
— Neil Strauss, Wall Street Journal

Learn more: The Narcissistic Principle: Why We Share on Social Media

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

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

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has


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