The avalanche of articles announcing the imminent death of Facebook marketing for SMBs and brands (many of them by SEO providers) prompted me to write a few lines…
Facebook, strike that, Mark Zuckerberg, pressured (personally) by the recent movement against social and psychological manipulation (called marketing in the civil world ever since the first Phoenician sold a shiny bead to Spanish tribesmen for a truckload of silver ingots), has announced changes to Facebook Newsfeed. So that instead of 5% of brand (Pages) content in your newsfeed, content from the businesses will be drastically reduced to appalling 4%. Never again shall thou witness another Ad. Mark Zuckerberg has decided to kill off the only cash cow bringing Facebook over 17B of green fiat currency each year. Right.
So now that we’ve asserted the existence of aggressive Marxist virus spreading all over Silicon Valley, we can go back to analyze the important things. Business. Impact of the recent announcement to brands and businesses.
The unpaid (organic) reach of Facebook marketing has been reducing for years. SEO tactics on the traditional web much more so. Most probably with a plain Facebook post by a Business Page you will not reach more than 2% of your “like” audience. Businesses need to invest money in promoted posts and Facebook advertising to have any significant and impact-full reach. And that is a fact. No investment brings you only lost time, fueled by unrealistic expectations. You can also try email marketing (and you should) by building a growing list of your customers.
On the other hand, there is no B2C channel or media that can provide you with better, laser-sharp targeting and huge potential reach than Facebook’s empire (Facebook + Instagram + Messenger + Whatsapp). One Ad account to rule them all. And since recently, you even can measure the exact effect that your digital marketing dollars bring you in physical sales, new customers, offline store visits etc. Digital and physical worlds have really come together for the first time, challenging the long-standing position of marketing agencies, complacent in Don Draper’s cradle of non-measurability for many a decade.
So, for businesses, are there any wise, limited investment (I don’t say free) strategies left for the organic reach, not using huge ad budgets? Yes, there are, for a smart marketer with a cunning plan (most probably you have recognized yourself as a smart marketer since very few of you will think of themselves as a single cell organism). Here goes actionable stuff, the actual reason you’re here in the first place:
Instagram – when it comes to organic effect, Instagram is today close to Facebook was 4 years ago. The reach is there and organic filtering is not yet in effect (which does not mean that it’s not coming in the future). The best effect is achieved by incentivizing the user-generated content (for example in hospitality, photos, and videos of guest experiences in hotels and restaurants) and tying that content to the business’ account (hashtags, tagging..). This is both genuine and brings traffic of customer’s friends. Essentially it’s about offering a great product or service and giving customers easy tools to spread your brand. Remember that their goal is not to spread your brand but instead their own social status (brand). Fortunately, your business gets the effect – “I wanna be there too! I am also an affluent person to be looked upon!”
Messaging (Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp) – the rising tide. The dark horse slowly walking out of the stable that no one heard of but is determined to win the race. Messaging is where the customer interaction is and is exactly where you want to be to influence your customers. It’s the email of ’99. It just works. What you need is to collect and acquire (onboard) customers through all possible channels, both online and offline. Don’t forget a single touch point, of course, that includes your website and the new websites – Facebook Page and Google Maps. POS is one that is often overlooked and what better touch point than payment you have with your customers?
Bots (ok, ok, chatbots, but it’s not about chatting) – Support is your Trojan horse. Everyone has a question that needs a fast answer, in any business. Whether it’s about your working hours, delivery possibilities or can they bring Felix Tze Cat to your hotel without cleaning staff freaking out. You answer it promptly. But the trick is that at the same exact time you acquire customer’s identity and open a channel of communication. Beat that. Mobile number is your new email.
Word of mouth. Digital Word-of-Mouth (it’s 2018) – best marketing tactic ever since rumors started spreading about the Great Flood. Only today people don’t have time to talk face to face. So they talk over Messaging, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, SMS. That is your word of mouth. Delivery changed, the rest is baked into human DNA from the start. The trick here is to (besides providing an amazing service which is a must) give them tools to share super simply. One to five friends, not one to 4566. A gift. Something that makes the one to share feel important and knowledgeable. Something that takes 15 seconds at most, since patience is the rarest of commodities today.
And here, just a couple of sentences above, you have the biggest secret revealed. Content from friends and family will not be penalized, it will be even more boosted and amplified in the newsfeed.
So find the way for your Message to enter into your customer’s Digital Mouth. Since they have friends and families. A lot of them.
And find the right tools to do it in every touch-point. Did I mention we have a few?
All the best of luck in converting your clients into ambassadors, the new era of measured marketing!
Rube Huljev, CEO