Do Your Facebook Fans Matter?

What’s the point of having fans if they’re not seeing your content?

I know, I know. But what about all of your fans? All that time and money you spent building up 1,000, 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 100,000 fans. What’s the point of having fans if they’re not seeing your content? If you’re managing a Facebook Page for your business and you’re frustrated, you have every right to be. It’s a grieving process most people are going through. I would start by reading up on grieving and loss at WebMD. Better now? Let’s move forward!

Your fans used to see the majority of your content.

I mean, they did Like your Page. They opted in. Simple, right? Wrong. And for the advanced few, you learned about Edge Rank– in part explained by Alex Houg of BlitzMetrics. Not all content is created (weighted) equally. So you knew the right type of content to post, the best times to post, and occasionally “boosted or promoted” a post to give your content the strength of a rocket ship. At any rate, your fans saw your content and all was good in the world. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that organic reach on Facebook has dwindled down to nothing- sometimes lower than 5% and the likelihood of that trend continuing is 100%. What do you do?

I need to preface this. I’m referencing brands that have fewer than 10,000 fans. These are the small business owners and NPO’s that are probably most affected by the changes on Facebook. Personally, I’m of the mindset that not enough people are seeing my content organically and that Facebook is 100% a pay to play platform. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and a post gains some organic traction but I’m not putting my faith in that- especially If I’m looking for the ROI on Facebook.

Content is still king.

You still have to create engaging content. There’s no way around that. Don’t think that you can Boost a post or create an Ad for content that is crap and expect great results. Go ahead and try it. Your cost per engagement and cost per impression will be really high. Yesterday I met with a plastic surgeon that was talking about his practice and how they’ve started to use Facebook. He got excited that he could pay $30 and his post was seen by 5,000 people. A whopping 6 people liked the post and the traffic was driving fans away from their website. Super fail. If you create fun and interesting content, target a custom audience, and have a strong call to action, you’ll likely see your engagement levels where they should be. Moral to the story- there’s no point in trying to polish a turd. Create great content geared towards custom audiences with the right type of Ad and you’ll see impressive engagement numbers.

Define your audiences.

Yes, that’s plural. You have several audiences. It’s not just the people who like your page. It’s your email list, fans, friends of fans, non fans and all of the interests and demographics that connect them. All of your fans do matter- they’re just going to be used differently now. In the past, you could post a picture and a large percentage of your fans would organically see it. Now you have to pay to have them see it. Break up your current fans into custom audiences that fit the different products and services you offer and allocate a % of advertising dollars to engage your current fan base.

Facebook has some powerful tools if you know where they are and how to use them.

Facebook is open about teaching users the importance of defining your audiences so you can (pay) market to them. Here’s a good over view. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Power Editor, you should. BlitzMetrics can show you some creative ways to define your audiences by using Power Editor here. You can even import your email contact list and engage them as well- Find out how many are fans, where they live, what products they buy, the competitors they like, their income, the car they drive, etc. And then you can set up different message paths based on this. If that important piece of the puzzle is not in your current email marketing strategy, make it a priority now. Slightly off topic but still related- you should also consider the size of the audience that you’re targeting with your ads. Some ads can hog the inventory away from the other ads in the campaign.

Bottom line, there’s no way around having to pay for your fans to see your content. It’s now the rule and not the exception. So if you’re going to pay, keep your cost per engagements as low as possible by defining audiences that are most likely going to be a customer of your product or service.

Use the right type of ads.

Facebook ads have changed and for the better. Campaigns, Ad Sets and Ads. Get to know them! Facebook has a wide variety of ads that can meet any performance outcome you can think of. Facebook lists the different types of ads available here.

Restaurants are always looking for ROI on social. It’s difficult to know who saw your Tweets or Facebook posts and decided to dine in because of the content. Recently I did a Facebook Offer for 50% Off lunch and dinner excluding alcohol. We put $60 towards a Sponsored Story on anyone who claimed, commented, shared or liked the offer within 10 miles of Nashville. 777 people claimed the offer! Not only that, over 300 people redeemed the offer before the expiration date and they brought their friends. During the slow months of January and February, we ran these once a month and our sales were enough to put us back to where we were late Fall…. all for $60. How’s that for ROI! Here’s how to be successful: Force the customer to make an impulse decision. We’re a nation of Grouponers. We’ll claim anything that says 50% off. But we’re also lazy and will let many deals and coupons go to waste. To get people to actually use the deal, you need them to make YOU a priority. If I remember correctly, we posted this deal Monday night and it was valid Tue-Fri of that week. People who probably weren’t going to dine in at The Slider House became paying customers and brought their friends who didn’t claim the deal.

Did you know that Facebook has its own remarketing pixel?

Essentially this allows you to advertise in front of individuals that have visited your website. Wouldn’t you consider these as qualified leads since they’ve already sought after your information? Absolutely! Don’t know if your ads are working for you? Here’s some tips that Alex Houg recommends. And for goodness sakes, stop thinking about all your marketing channels as silos. Your email list, your web traffic, Facebook audience etc. can all work together now and Facebook has the Ad structure to accommodate.

There is a growing frustration for marketers, brands, and general users on Facebook. Don’t believe me, read this epic story of a brand breaking up with Facebook! The comments at the bottom are even better. Anyways, You should feel lucky that you’ve been able to market to your fans for free for so long. I mean, really. Of all the advertising methods out there, Facebook allows you to track measurable results and allows your content to be seen by a large number of your fans for free. But Facebook marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. You’d be surprised with what you can do with $5 or $10/day. Focus on creating great content, building and defining audiences that make sense and using ads to convert them from fans to customers.

I stay up to date on Facebook marketing by following BlitzMetricsInside FacebookAlex Houg and Dennis Yu

What issues are you having with Facebook?