You’ve spent countless hours and good money on your Facebook marketing strategy. You prepared highly targeted and strategic advertising campaigns to drive up your like count and you come up with engaging content to post regularly. You boost your posts when you see a dip in organic reach and you’ve been consistently advertising to new prospects for months.
So why does your Facebook engagement continue to drop?
Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site with more than 1 billion active users to date, the possibilities for reaching your target audience are endless. It’s become one of the most integral pieces of the marketing puzzle for businesses and brands around the world.
Facebook has more than 15 million business pages to date and its $1.8 billion overall ad revenue was up 66 percent in Q3 of 2013. What does that say about Facebook? It says there are a lot of Facebook business pages and a lot of them are spending money on advertising.
Let’s talk about Facebook advertising.
When Facebook first launched advertising for business pages, the goal was to gain fans through people liking your page via targeted advertisements. This type of advertising is still prevalent, however, now you also have the option to advertise to your existing likes through sponsored stories and boosted posts.
Why would someone pay to reach someone who already likes their page?
That’s why – on average only 16% of your fans see your posts… organically. Facebook’s solution to that problem?
So, now you’ve not only paid for your fans, but you’re going to pay so that your fans actually see what it is that you’re posting.
This causes a problem I like to call the “diluted Facebook audience.”
What is the diluted Facebook audience?
When you post on Facebook, Facebook distributes your post to a small percentage of your fan base (apparently that small percentage is around 16%). Facebook then gauges the reaction of the fans who do see the post in order to determine if your post is engaging enough to show to more people. The more people that like, comment or share your post, the more likely it is that Facebook will continue to show that post to more of your audience.
If you have fans that you obtained without any proper strategy, they will probably not like, comment or share your posts. This results in Facebook showing your posts to less people overall, including those that may have been engaged the entire time.
Breaking it down.
The more fans that you reach that are not interested in your page, the less Facebook shows your posts to those who might legitimately be interested in your page. This results in a need to “boost” posts and invest in sponsored stories (which are going away) to receive any type of engagement at all. The more you boost your posts, the more your posts are shown to potential uninterested fans resulting in more of a need to continue paying for more advertising.
Since there isn’t a way to delete all of the people who are not engaged with your page, your diluted pool of fans results in you losing out on organic reach while forcing you to advertise to achieve any level of engagement.
So, what do you do when you find yourself with a diluted Facebook audience?
Unfortunately, when your pool of Facebook fans has become so diluted you can’t achieve any organic reach, it’s time to start over. I don’t mean delete your page and start from scratch, I mean get back to the basics.
- Do not ever, ever buy Facebook likes. Click-farms still exist, so be careful when hiring social media management companies that promise things that don’t sound realistic (they might be buying your likes and wasting your money).
- Stop advertising through Facebook’s advertising program – poorly. No, I don’t think that Facebook advertising platform is completely fraudulent, however, if you aren’t targeting your ads properly and if the ads don’t seem to be converting into engagement from users or website traffic, you need to step away from the Facebook advertising until you rid yourself of the diluted Facebook audience.
- Don’t boost your posts unless you have a really good reason. If you have average engagement regularly and you really want people to see this one post (perhaps it is an event or a large announcement), then sure, boost it. However, if your engagement is practically dead and the only way you’re receiving any sort of Facebook fan interaction is through boosting your posts, you should reconsider. Work on your organic reach and keep “boosts” for special occasions.
- Don’t use irrelevant and aggressive contests to gain fans. For example, if you’re a car dealership, don’t run a contest to gain fans by giving away an iPad! You aren’t going to find yourself with new likes from an audience that cares about the cars you sell, you’re going to find yourself with new likes from an audience that wants to win an iPad!
- Produce informational, educational or interesting information that is relevant to your business in some way. Don’t use Facebook strictly as a sales tool, however the content you produce should be relative in some way to your audience and your business.
- Finally, and most importantly, use offline marketing strategies to grow your online audience.
The bottom line.
Focus less on the number of Facebook fans that you have and more on the number of engaged fans. If you take drastic measures to drive up your numbers but the likes coming in are not by engaged fans, you’re going to end up with the diluted Facebook audience problem.
Here are some sources that spurred this blog, provided me with numbers and have quality information for consideration:
- Facebook’s Q3 ’13 Beats With $2.02B Revenue, $0.25 EPS, With 49% Of Ad Revenue Now Via Mobile (Tech Crunch)
- Facebook: 15 million businesses, companies, and organizations now have a Facebook page (Venture Beat)
- Facebook Fraud Response: Are Facebook Ads a Waste of Money? (Jon Loomer)
- Facebook Fraud. (Veritasium)