by Geoff Gillette
Over the past few years, many companies have been working to foster a following on Facebook. It was a way to directly communicate with consumers, give out special bonuses to those who showed their brand allegiance and in general it was just a good communications channel.
That channel has shrunk down with time (and numerous alterations of Facebook’s algorithm determining who sees what) to the point where 85% of your followers won’t see your posts unless you pay for it. People love being able to communicate on this social media platform, but they sure hate being forced to pay for it.
Is it worth it to keep Facebook if you’re not going to pay?
Big companies with gigantic marketing budgets can afford to promote their posts, but smaller companies are being forced to ration the posts they promote for when they can get the most bang for their buck. Others are steering away from Facebook entirely, because of the hassles involved with trying to get their posts in front of target audiences.
But really it’s not necessary to give up completely or blow your entire ad budget because no matter how Facebook tries to monetize (and let’s be fair, they are a business trying to make money) your company’s social media presence, there is one thing their algorithms can’t control.
Word of mouth. Clever companies are staying solid with the social media ROI because they are using this time-honored method of getting the word out. Instead of people gabbing over the back fence about this product or that, people are hitting the ‘share’ button on your posts.
So why would they do that?
It’s pretty simple really, enlightened self-interest. Companies that are making the most out of the restrictive reach are using their customer’s interest in getting something for nothing. In the case of BottleRock Napa, they managed to get their post shared over 2,000 times because they offered a chance at free tickets to the event if a person shared the post. Even with only a fraction of their 79,000 followers seeing the post in their newsfeeds, they managed to leverage that into almost 4,000 unique actions, whether it be comments, likes or shares. That’s getting the word out.
Because Facebook has strict rules about contests, you have to be careful when using that type of post to boost engagement. There are some third party companies out there that will host contests and such to drive up followers and post engagement, but it also requires expense.
Barring contests, there are many ways to get people engaged with your brand and get them to share. Start a dialogue, ask a question, invite customers to be part of the creative process of your business and they will respond. And in many cases share your question or survey with their friends.
In the long run, using Facebook to develop brand identity and loyalty has gotten much more difficult with the company trying to push businesses into promoted posts. But it isn’t the end of the line just yet for organic reach.
Think creatively and think about what your customers will respond to. And then work on getting that word of mouth.
Let us know in the comments, do you think organic reach is dead or can it still be salvaged?