Every business owner with a Facebook page should spend a few minutes thinking about marketing strategy before making another post.
For most businesses, there's a good chance that almost no one will see the message — and those who manage their company's marketing and social media campaigns may want to start questioning what will give them the greatest return on their resources.
With upcoming changes to its algorithms, Facebook is no longer a social community that gives companies a free pass to the party. And spending an hour a day on social media may no longer be the best use of time.
Facebook Benefits: Down, Down, Down
Back in 2012, Facebook restricted organic reach of content published from company pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, it was reduced even more. By February 2014, according to a Social@Ogilvy analysis of more than 100 brand pages, organic reach hovered at 6 percent.
According to HubSpot, organic reach for company and brand pages is now less than 2 percent. Many industry insiders are anticipating organic reach to eventually reach zero, a concept referred to as Facebook Zero.
The problem lies in a deep misunderstanding of Facebook's business model.
Facebook is not in the business of helping people share photo's of their vacations. It is in the business of making money. And to do this, the social network needs to attract lots of traffic, gather user data, then use that data to encourage paid advertising.
Making social sharing easy and relevant is simply the method for attracting greater traffic. There is no incentive to Facebook to provide a business with free access to their users.
Pay to Stay
So if a business is not willing to pay to promote their posts or prepared to take on a Facebook paid marketing campaign, is there any reason to even have a Facebook presence? Yes, but only under the right conditions.
Facebook can still be a valuable marketing tool. Many people still visit a company's Facebook page looking for promotions, to learn more about the company, or to see how they communicate with their customers. Although they may never again see any of the company's posts, it can be highly influential in making that great first impression.
Beyond using Facebook as a promotional tool, it can also be a powerful customer service platform.
Encouraging your customers to send you feedback, questions or concerns through your Facebook page can increase efficiency and show the world you're committed to supporting your customers beyond the sale.
In addition, every business should encourage its customers to share their buying experiences with their own networks.
Have customers take photos of themselves at your business, using your products or sharing their stories of how your product or service helped them. These kinds of posts will have the greatest reach and the most influence. And best of all, at no cost.