For the people who track these things, the number of fans reached by an organic Facebook Post has been steadily declining. A study published by Ignite Social Media reported that the organic reach of pages had fallen by 44% on average – with some pages showing an 88% decline.
While Facebook is not forcing people to pay for ads, a spokesman for Facebook told AdAge: “We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”
While it is disappointing for those who have tried to capitalize on the free part of Social Media Marketing, it is not that surprising. As the largest social media platform, most companies have figured out that Facebook is THE place to be if they want to attract the attention of potential customers. Facebook attracts a very large and diverse audience, many of whom are eager to learn more about their favorite brands and learn more about those they are not as familiar with. If you think about it, it would be impossible to add every piece of information shared on a Facebook Page to everyone who liked the page or knows someone who likes a page.
While not all posts in the Newsfeed will be paid advertisements, Facebook has admitted that they will be looking for “quality” content. How they will assess this quality is not clear, but more newsworthy and interesting posts may win out.
The best strategy, moving forward, may be to regularly publish valuable, original content that does not only hawk your brand, but adds value to your readers. However, those who are serious about Facebook Marketing should also consider allocating a portion of their marketing budget to paid Facebook advertising, including ads in the Newsfeed, and promoting the most interesting or important posts. Also, encourage your Page’s fans to share your content. Shared posts from person to person are not affected by Facebook’s new algorithm. Finally, it might be time to hire a Social Media Manager, who understands how Facebook Marketing works and can monitor and tweak the Page to get the most value from it.
The potential audience delivered by Facebook is just too large to be ignored. And, according to research from Forrester and Wildfire, people are more likely to purchase and recommend brands if they are socially engaged with them.