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?
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.