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It seems like it’s been around forever (although I still remember managing Myspace pages for businesses; but that’s a story for another time). For any entrepreneur with their own startup or small business, creating a company Facebook page is one of the few must-have requirements. Many businesses rely on their company Facebook page in lieu of a website. There was a time when Facebook first burgeoned onto the mainstream scene that many businesses considered the number of ‘likes’ their page had as the ultimate status symbol.
My, how times have changed.
The past 12-18 months have seen the Facebook honeymoon come crashing to a halt. Relying on college interns to post funny memes on a regular basis just doesn’t cut it anymore. With all the continuing headlines about the dwindling impact a “like” has nowadays, it’s easy to understand why you would be sitting there dazed and confused.
Well, the past is the past. We’re here to look ahead and point you in the right direction to maximize your Facebook ROI in 2017. Because no matter what you hear, there is a tremendous ROI opportunity to be had with Facebook in the future. You just have to know where to spend your time and money.
So let’s look at the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY of Facebook in 2017 for startups and entrepreneurs. As a special bonus, we’ll even reveal the SECRET to ROI SUCCESS for Facebook in the next 12 months.
Despite the doom and gloom you may hear about regarding Facebook’s reach, there is still plenty of ‘good’ out there when it comes to this social media mainstay. First, no matter how “uncool” or “old” Facebook may be to some user segments, it still is hands down the #1 social media platform in the world with over 1 Billion users visiting it every day. While the younger audience segments are flocking to Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook still delivers a tremendous opportunity for any business looking to showcase their brand to an audience segment.
While Facebook is no longer the new kid on the block, they are continually pushing the limits of future technology and features. The majority of users utilize Facebook’s mobile app, which is a key factor to their continued success moving forward. Virtual Reality, the next big thing in consumer technology, was introduced to Facebook in May 2016 and is expected to grow substantially in the near future.
Facebook offers many user-friendly features and settings that allow a business to showcase their product or service in a compelling manner. For example, you can personalize the call-to-action button in your profile page based on the type of action you want your users to take. For example, you can have them contact you, download a free offer, etc. You can also gather valuable insights into the behavior and demographics of your page followers from their analytics metrics. Finally, you can still use your page as a bulletin board posting the most relevant and topical news and content surrounding your business or industry.
There are also a number of advantages that local business can and should capitalize on to increase engagement. Local Facebook pages have 5x the reach, 8x the engagement level, and 40x the overall impact that regular business pages have.
While it’s easier for a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) business to create engagement on their Facebook page, there are plenty of tactics that B2B (Business-to-Business) pages can pursue to make an impression with their followers as well. Plus, there are free tools available to specify which types of followers will see your posts, to increase the ratio of engagement and interaction your posts get.
When you are posting content to your Facebook business page, always choose quality over quantity. Facebook has changed their algorithms so that the more people who really love your content and engage with it, the more likely they are to see your content again in the future.
When businesses and publications bemoan the death of Facebook’s impact, they are referring to organic reach.
Facebook defines organic reach as “the number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event.”
In plain English, think of organic reach as the amount of engagement and interaction your post garners without you having to spend any money on it. You probably noticed how Facebook slowly moved towards the “Boost Your Post” offerings. This is the revenue model Facebook pursued, and the reason the organic reach for businesses has dipped to almost non-existent.
OK, time for the really bad news!
All the people claiming Facebook is dead for business in terms of organic reach are correct. It is dead. Case in point: your Facebook company page now has a less than 1% organic reach. That means if you have 100 followers, and you post something to your page, only 1 person will see that post initially. If that person does not comment, like or share that post, then you’re screwed. You’re only option is to pay Facebook to “boost” that post, so you can get more exposure.
Even worse, the power of “likes” has plummeted as well. According to a study by SocialSamosa, only 1% of users who like a company’s Facebook page will actually visit their page.
Which brings us to the ugly truth about Facebook in 2017.
The age-old question of “do Facebook ‘likes’ deliver any kind of ROI?” has been answered in an astoundingly loud and clear fashion.
Facebook ‘likes’ offer little to no true ROI in 2017, for the reasons we stated above.
1. Facebook deliberately limits the amount of your followers who will even see your content (less than 1%)
2. Those who do ‘like’ your page are 99% likely to never visit your Facebook page again
This is where many entrepreneurs and startups are getting ripped off, even to this day! Marketing agencies across the country are promising tremendous brand exposure, charging $2,000 – $5,000 per month, and when it’s all said and done all you have to show for it is a few thousand Facebook ‘likes’. Which wouldn’t be that bad, except that your actual posts have zero likes, comments, or shares. So that means all the money that agency charged you to grow your followers was literally worthless because they are not engaging with your content whatsoever.
There are still companies out there who will offer to “sell” you fake ‘likes’, to help you feel less insecure about the small number of followers your business page has. Again, like with SEO, this black hat technique is a waste of money that will hurt your brand and reputation in the long run.
Do not EVER spend one penny on Facebook ‘likes’. There is no ROI in it whatsoever.
THE SECRET TO FACEBOOK ROI SUCCESS IN 2017
You may be wondering what value Facebook could possibly deliver your startup business at this point, after all this doom and gloom.
Well, the great news is that there are two very clear venues where Facebook will deliver tremendous value for your company in 2017.
1. Facebook Ads
I. Facebook Ads
Remember, when it comes to organic reach, Facebook is worthless, and you should spend NO time or money on ‘likes’. However, paid advertising is a different story completely!
Again, because Facebook is the largest social media site, and because there is so much invaluable data regarding each user’s demographics, interests, etc., Facebook offers the unique ability for you to specifically target display search advertisements to exactly the specific audience segment you desire, more so than any other platform (including Google).
Selling used violins? No problem! You can run ads to people in the age range you want, who expressed an interest in violins, composers, etc.
Want to drive more business to your local gym? It’s simple!
And remember how we stated that Facebook skews older than Snapchat or Instagram? Well, Facebook acquired Instagram, so you can actually run ad campaigns on Instagram from your Facebook Ads account as well!
There are a variety of different ad platforms that you can choose from, including:
• Page post engagement
• Page likes
• Clicks to website
• Website conversions
• App installs
• App engagement
• Offer claims
• Video views
• Local awareness
And just like Google Adwords, you can run split testing on your ads to determine which headline or image works the best. You can pause or end campaigns whenever you want. You can set your own budget, at your own pace.
All of these characteristics are exactly what a startup should pursue with paid advertising. You are throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Facebook advertising allows you to test out campaigns, offers, calls-to-action, etc. and adjust accordingly. It truly offers an ROI unlike any other digital advertising channel in 2017.
The power of video on Facebook has exploded, and will only continue to dominate in the next 12-24 months. Facebook has seen a 75% increase in video posts from 2014 – 2015. Users watch more than 8 Billion videos every day on Facebook. Whether you are posting non-paid, ‘organic’ content; or running paid ads, video is the can’t-miss medium that you need to be employing.
Facebook is very aware of the success that Snapchat and Instagram have amassed. And they are very aware of the power that video plays in this relationship. Facebook has been very concerned internally with the rapid decrease in unique postings on their site over the past few years. The majority of posts are actually just re-posts or links to stories. Fewer people are actually sharing updates on their lives or posting unique content about their lives. And Facebook knows that is the key to engagement.
That’s where video comes into play.
Video is engaging in a way that text or even photos are not. This explains the big push towards Facebook Live, and even their 360 video offering.
Facebook is so keen on promoting video, that if you run a Facebook ad that has video in it, your ROI will skyrocket beyond what it normally is with a standard ad. If you conduct a Facebook Live stream, Facebook will boost the exposure that stream receives beyond what any other type of post would get.
The key is to embed the video directly into Facebook. Don’t just post a link to a video on YouTube. Actually save the video to Facebook and then post it. Your organic reach and engagement will skyrocket as a result.
Facebook organic reach is dead. Long live Facebook ads and video!
Startups and small businesses need to be smart with their marketing and advertising budgets. Don’t waste your resources on ‘likes’. Focus on crafting compelling Facebook ads with engaging headlines, captivating calls-to-action, and relevant landing pages. And be sure to harness the power and opportunity that video offers, because it won’t last forever!
Ready to learn how to see a positive ROI from Facebook in 2017? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation today!