There is no doubt 2018 is going to be a year of massive fear, shock, change and wasted time for even the smartest business and marketing leaders. By now we should know that when it comes to social media and digital marketing, the only guarantee we have is change. It is one thing we can count on.
Brand leaders around the globe are freaking out as they read the blog posts, watch the videos and see the tweets fly by from the Facebook fear mongers crying that the end of Facebook as we know it has arrived.
Be careful who you listen to as many of the same people who are wanting to implant your brain with emotions of fear, are the same people who have a top business objective to sell you tickets to events, courses and magic carpet rides to your one stop solution to all of your Facebook problems.
For the sake of sanity, in this blog post we are going to remove the rainbows and purple unicorns so they don't cloud our thinking and decision making.
Facebook 2018 is all About Engagement
It is true that big changes are coming to Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the news feed algorithm will be changing in a way that impacts brands and publishers. He made it crystal clear that we all will see less brand content in our news feed.
Mark also highlights that engagement is a key metric. Facebook wants to highlight user content that improves our well-being, as well as gets people talking and engaging.
I covered Mark’s announcement and what you can do about it in these two blog posts and webinars:
- Facebook News Feed Changes 101: What You Need to Know For Your Business
- 10 Power Tips to Create Facebook Content That Owns the News Feed Like a Boss
Sure, at the surface, changing the algorithm to focus on engagement and well-being may sound good to some. It’s easy to talk about engagement. They think “oh we will just create more content, and we'll be fine.” The truth is, the last thing your audience wants from you is more content.
Every social media keynote presentation deck since 2009 includes a slide on how important valuable content that engages your target audience is to success in using social media for business.
You’ll hear some preach engagement, engagement, engagement. Yes we all get it, engagement matters. Yet some of these engagement preachers are also the same folks who are using Instagram bots to drive fake engagement on their own Instagram profiles.
For some brands, focusing on true engagement works well. Why? Because people like to talk about their brand. They may like to also talk with the people who work for the brand, use the brand's products or services or are simply part of the community surrounding the brand. They have an audience, fan base, community and customers who enjoy communicating on platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram with and about the brand. Earning an organic audience and engagement comes natural for these brands and businesses.
What if Your Target Audience Doesn’t Want to Talk About or With Your Brand on Facebook?
What about the boring brands? What about the LED lighting brands, oil and gas, manufacturing, government regulated, healthcare and the hundreds of other industries, products and services that simply are not something we all go to Facebook to talk about?
Let’s get real. Let’s think about this without the rainbows and purple unicorns clouding our sanity and decision making. Let’s talk about the brands that in fact are not likely to get engagement on Facebook.
I also will succinctly address the people who don’t want to engage with brands publicly on Facebook.
A first step is to get real on your brand and your audience.
- What is your brand? Who are you? What are you about?
- How are you serving, building something bigger than yourself? Or all you all about yourself?
- What is your core value proposition?
- How are you positioned in the market?
- What unique value do you offer your ideal customer that your competition does not?
- WHY should your audience care that you are on Facebook or any other social network?
- What is in it for your audience if they engage with you on Facebook?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who are your customers?
- Are they people who want to engage with your brand on Facebook or any other social network?
- Is your brand prepared to properly engage and leverage Facebook to drive organic views and engagement as well as leverage paid media to get the real eyeballs, ears and hearts?
- What will be the business value and benefit of you gaining the needed engagement on Facebook to win an honored news feed placement in the new Facebook algorithm?
- Is the business value worth the investment compared to other marketing and business activities you could be investing in?
Reality check…not all brands are going to get massive engagement on Facebook organically. Not all brands are prepared nor will they ever be prepared to have every social media post be focused on improving the well-being of their audience. Nor will they be able to ensure every post is highly engaging.
Is Facebook Engagement Really What You Should Be Focusing On?
I want you to think about this question long and hard. I know you may want to win the top placements in the Facebook news feed of your ideal target customer and audience.
Is it likely that you will earn that placement? You need to really think about this and come to an honest answer based on more data than simply throwing a dart at the Facebook organic algorithm target board.
What About the Silent Lurkers?
Maybe your brand is similar to ours, where your target customer and audience does not often engage with your content publicly on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and even some of the other social networks?
We train and consult with brands big and small – from well-funded startups to Fortune 10 brands. I can tell you that approximately 95% of every lead we have ever received via our online channels, and every customer that has ever signed a contract with our agency, has NEVER engaged with our content publicly on Facebook.
My target and ideal client includes small business owners up to Fortune 10 brand CMOs, directors and leaders.
If we utilized only engagement to measure success with our ideal customer audience, we would not succeed as our target audience does not engage with business content on Facebook on a regular basis.
Instead we look at different metrics that determine how engaged our audiences are. We know they are highly engaged in other ways which includes up to 100,000 downloads of our podcast per month, a 58%- 83% conversion rate on all of our landing pages that offer free resources, templates and more.
We know they watch our videos, read our blog posts and the list goes on. However, they do not comment on our Facebook posts.
I even had one GM of a Fortune 20 brand tell me he followed me and lurked on my Instagram and Twitter profiles for 6 months before contacting our agency for consulting and training services. Had I only been focused on engagement metrics to make Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook news feed algorithm happy, I would have never landed such an amazing client.
The client didn’t need to see massive engagement on my Instagram page. I didn’t need to buy into the fake Instagram followers, fake comments or engagement. He liked the fact my profiles and our agency profiles were real, transparent and offered massive value that helped him decide to buy because of who we are. He liked the photos with our family, team and communities we serve.
Do You Know If Your Ideal Customer Engages with Your Type of Content on Facebook?
This past week I spoke at an event in Banff, Canada – The Gathering, on the topic of influencer marketing.
The room was filled with 1000+ marketing leaders (CMOs, VPs, Directors and managers) of some of the worlds largest brands in the world.
I asked them a question straight out… “how many of you engage with business content on Facebook?” Less than 1-2% raised their hand.
So what does this mean to me? It’s simple. This room was filled with 100% of my target audience. They were crystal clear in that they do NOT engage with business content on Facebook.
Does this mean that they do not read it? Nope. Does this mean that they will not click over to iTunes to subscribe and download a podcast they find on Facebook? Nope. Does this mean that they won’t watch a live video or recorded video? Nope. Does this mean they are not in the B2B camp that is watching our LinkedIn videos earning between 10,000 and 50,000+ organic views each? Nope.
Their answer simply means they are not likely to engage, comment or share the content with their friends publicly on Facebook.
Many of them came up to me after our presentation and told me they found that question very interesting and it opened their mind to a new perspective on how they should look at engagement, particularly on Facebook. As our research had shown many times prior, they also told me that they often share content on Facebook, but they will do it privately via Facebook Messenger with colleagues, family and friends.
What does Facebook owe you?
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of a social media network that hosts over a billion users. With this community, comes power. He and his team can make these decisions when and how they like and they will continue to do such.
Facebook owes you nothing. It’s funny to see the marketers complaining about how they can no longer get free reach and visibility for their brand on Facebook. Would you say the same thing about a TV or radio commercial, industry magazine or email newsletter? Chances are you would not. You don’t expect free advertising.
Would we walk into the office of an attorney and expect to get free consultation and services? Heck no.
So why do we think Facebook owes us free reach and visibility to our target audience?
Don't Sell Your Brand's Soul to the Facebook News Feed Algorithm!
Many marketers are making big plans of how they are going to put everything they have into owning the new Facebook news feed algorithm. Many will waste loads of time and money when their resources could be far better spent on other priorities.
Some marketers believe there are only two options. One being to get everything they need for FREE from Facebook. The second is selling their brand's soul to the Facebook algorithm with all resources being put into finding a way to make Facebook organic reach work for their business, one way or another.
The truth is you don't need either to be successful. You need to develop your own social marketing mix and priorities that will inspire, attract and engage your ideal audience and dream customers. You can’t expect Facebook to do this for you!
Yes, there is incredible opportunity for you to grow your business using Facebook marketing.
Yes, at least for the short term, Facebook is going to require that your content is highly engaging and gets talked about and shared to earn those top of feed Facebook spots.
The question you must answer is… is it worth the investment for you to put massive time, resource and financial investment into trying to earn the top news feed spot organically?
Or are you better off investing that same money on other investments that may provide a higher return such as:
- Facebook and other paid media
- Content on other platforms where you still get organic engagement
- Blog and other content on the platforms that you own
- Podcast content
- Video content
- Influencer marketing
- Email marketing
- Optimizing conversion funnels
- Co-marketing with industry leaders and partners
- Event marketing
And the list goes on and on…
I can’t give you the answer for your specific business and situation in this blog post. I don’t know your brand, products, services, goals, objectives, customers or audience. The good news is you do.
You need to roll up your sleeves and develop your own strategy and plan. Copying your competition or the top Facebook fear mongers is not going to help you achieve your goals, period.
Maybe it's time to gain a new perspective. Facebook is not THE solution for all of your marketing. It is a COMPONENT and PART of your marketing plan.
It's not what Facebook can do for you, but instead what can you do with Facebook!
Yes, there is still opportunity to leverage Facebook for business. However, figuring out howto leverage Facebook is going to require you dig deeper than simply reading Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook announcement.
What are your thoughts? What are your plans for achieving success in the social and digital world this year?
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- Facebook News Feed Changes 101: What You Need to Know For Your Business
- 10 Power Tips to Create Facebook Content Like a Boss
- The Last Thing Your Target Customer and Audience Needs From You is More Content
- Why, What and How of an Audience First Marketing Strategy and Plan
- Hiring a Social Media Agency? Answer These 10 Questions First
- 3 Things You Must Know for a Successful Social Media Marketing Career
- 5 Reasons You Need to Get Serious About Building Your Personal Brand
- 10 Proven Strategies to Get Your Social Media Budget Approved (podcast)
- 10 Habits Highly Effective Social Media Marketing Leaders
- Audience Analysis Worksheet (worksheet to help you prioritize your niche)
- Content Editorial Calendar (12 month editorial content marketing calendar template)