Where does the future of social media take us? It’s virtually impossible to say. Facebook changed social media for businesses. One thing we know for sure though, is that you have to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media. Many business owners are noticing that their organic (unpaid) reach has seriously been declining on Facebook pages.
If you're one of these business owners, you are not alone. It’s not necessarily because you don’t have amazing content. Back in April of 2012, pages were reaching about 16% of their fans on average. That number has reportedly slid into the low-single digits.
For big companies that have the budgets to buy paid ads and boosted posts, this reduction may be a good thing. It weeds out many of their smaller competitors that had depended on the free reach previously enjoyed by page managers. So what does this mean for small businesses that have put a lot of time, effort, and money into building a strong presence on Facebook? Well, it means that it’s time to get creative!
Content Has Always Been and Will Always Be King
Your posts aren't showing up in as many timelines as they used to, but if you want good interaction and sharing from the small chunk of people that will see your posts, you still need to post good stuff! Also, even though you may not be getting the same amount of likes and interaction that you used to enjoy, people still want to see activity when vetting a company...These days, online research is a large (if not the largest) part of that vetting process.
Expand Your Social Media Horizons
-Are you on Twitter? Don’t let this platform become a ghost town with nothing more than an automatic feed and a stretched out, pixelated cover photo. If you are active on Twitter and have a nice looking profile, it is pretty easy to draw engagement! What good does that do? Well, remember…Social media management isn't always about hard conversions (especially not right at first). It’s less about advertising than it is about branding and trust-building. Think about it…People follow you because you post useful/interesting/funny/unique stuff. They might not need your product or service now…But they’re much more likely to come to you over your competitor when they do need it! An active, engaging, useful online presence tends to add legitimacy, personality, and trust to a company. People often prefer to do business with other people, not with faceless entities. People want to relate. Social media is a great way to give your brand a personality...The type of personality that people want to do business with!
-Are you on Google +? This is one that you really don’t want to overlook. Google Plus for Business is now completely streamlined with Google Places, YouTube, and Reviews. From the new dashboard, you can see your insights and what kind of activity your page sees. Even posting as little as once a week will have a tremendous impact. When anybody Googles your business, as long as your business is verified and you've got your Google + Business page all set, your Google listing will show your location on a map, reviews, and a feed of your latest posts. It seems as though there is less commenting/interaction on Google + than some other platforms (for now), but the number of views per month is through the roof!
Record and Analyze
Not too long ago, Facebook was pretty much the standard metric for how your social media program was faring. This has very quickly become false. It will get worse too…Many experts speculate that Facebook will decrease organic reach of pages to 0% over time. This means that if you don’t pay to show up in peoples’ timelines, you simply won’t show up in them at all. This may seem alarming, but don’t worry. We still feel that it’s good to have a solid presence on Facebook, but do not worry when you see your insights slipping. This will happen no matter how great your posts are (to varying degrees). When analyzing the success of your social media program, look to other platforms; don’t rely on Facebook. Twitter and Google + both provide insights and may provide a much more realistic view of your social media impact.
So basically what we're getting at is...Carry on! Post the best content you can come up with no matter what platforms you use. Branch out to other big platforms and have an awesome presence there. Don’t let your Facebook turn into a ghost town, but also don’t get scared when you see your reach and interactions falling. Facebook is not the be-all, end-all of social media. Just like years back when MySpace fizzled out and led way to the growth of Facebook, another platform will take its place. This may happen more slowly because although brands get the shaft with the new Facebook algorithm, individuals still interact with other individuals well on Facebook. No platform can reign forever though. You'll get through this!