Facebook recently confirmed that they’re removing the ‘friends of fans’ metric from Page Insights on July 10th. The metric intended to express a Fan Page’s total possible reach; however pages would be able to reach these people only if all current fans saw and interacted with the brand’s content and then all of those fan’s friends saw that post in their feed – which we know is highly improbable.
Is the removal of this statistic an admission that the fan page is essentially dead? We already knew that most people, if they ever go to a fan page, only go once. So the most effective way to reach fans has always been through the News Feed. However, the potential reach of a brand’s Facebook post has been significantly reduced over time, making it harder and harder for brands to organically extend their reach.
Branded content is useless if no one sees it or interacts with it.
So what’s a brand to do?
A recent report by Forrester stated that between 85-90% of consumers don’t trust posts by brands on social networking sites. In a world where consumers are increasingly skeptical of advertising, brands today face a significant challenge.
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“Brand-led advertising online and offline has lost its allure,” says Tracy Strokes, Forrester Research Principal Analyst. “Today’s consumers decide where, when, and how they want to engage with brands. With multiple interconnected devices at their fingertips at any one time, these perpetually connected consumers can opt in or out of content as they choose… Marketers face a higher bar to engage consumers, who have more media options than ever before.”
It’s clear that consumers today are tuning out traditional advertising. In this always-connected digital world, the reality is that today’s consumer controls the conversation, and they trust messages from people they know. Brands need to figure out how to leverage their advocates and prompt them to share their stories – not visa versa.
Intel is one brand that is doing just that. Last fall, Intel launched a word-of-mouth campaign to spread the word about Intel-based tablets. Allowing internal and external influencers to share the brand story resulted in over one million social endorsements and over $5 million in earned media value. The brands that will win in this next phase are the ones, like Intel, that are able to leverage brand advocates and inspire them to share their messages.