You probably know that organic social media reach isn’t as powerful as it used to be. For years, marketers and advertisers were able to reach a huge audience without spending a single dime. It was free, and we loved it.
Now things have been turned on their head. And at a time when more and more research is showing the importance of keeping an engaged audience.
The Death of Organic Reach on Facebook
According to Social@Ogilvy, organic reach is on the decline. In 2012, around 16% of followers were engaging with brand page posts. That number had declined to 6% in February 2014 for smaller pages and just 2% for pages with more than 500,000 followers.
In February of 2014, Ogilvy reported many large brands’ Facebook posts reached just 2% of their fans, and falling by about .5% per month. Another report from Forrester showed that only .07% of many top brands’ Facebook fans actually interact with their posts.
It’s only getting worse.
As Facebook continues to grow, we can only assume new algorithm changes will be implemented to deal with the sheer volume of posts. Unfortunately, you should expect to see your reach continue to drop. Obviously, you can’t rely solely on organic posts to reach fans on social media. The days of the free social media ride are long gone.
Now you’re facing the question of how can you continue to rely on Facebook as an effective marketing tool if you can’t reach all of your beloved fans and followers?
The Answer: Paid Ads
Facebook has a massive audience, reaching almost 1.5 billion active users in the second quarter of 2015. There is plenty of room to expand your following and engage your fans, but you have to be able to reach them.
The solution is paid advertising.
Incorporating paid ads on Facebook into your social media marketing strategy is a must. Not only can you reach a huge audience, but there is also a wide range of ad formats available. This allows you to align your ad sets with your specific objectives.
Some of the most common ad formats are:
- Clicks to Website
- Page Post Engagement
- Page Likes
- Local Awareness
- Video Views
As you can see, these ad formats vary, and there are still a number of them I didn’t include in this list. Most likely there is something you can use to drive your marketing objectives, whether that is a click to a website or attending your custom event.
Having said that, Facebook ads are only as effective as your ability to identify and reach your specific audience. If you can’t get your ads in front of owner-operators or contractors, there’s no point, right?
Fortunately, Facebook’s paid advertising platform presents some rich targeting options, which help ensure your investment is well-spent. You can target and reach users based on:
- Connections (to either include or exclude people who have already liked your page)
- Email Addresses
- Phone Numbers
- Website Visitors (Tagged Audiences)
- Mobile App Users
How does this empower your Facebook presence?
Organic posts on Facebook still have their place. While you might consider organic reach dead, if you’re creating quality content, you’re probably going to reach a larger section of your audience.
You still need post high quality, relevant content on Facebook.
However, you also need to look at how investing some of your budget into paid advertising can affect your larger marketing goals. Utilizing a paid and organic marketing strategy can help you drive specific, cost-effective goals on Facebook.
To illustrate this point, Facebook has two case studies worth looking at. On one hand, you have Cadbury, who was able to hyper-target 16-24 year-old users in News Feed ads, rivaling the results of their TV efforts. On the other, Salesforce was able increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of the leads they generated through paid ads on Facebook.
The key is to hyper-focus on your core audience and set specific goals.
Sure, in the past, organic posts were more than enough to make Facebook a powerful marketing tool. But things have changed. Facebook is now a massive, public company that has to worry about stockholders, revenue, and audience engagement. That means they’re going to keep making changes.