Is Facebook leaving businesses feeling unappreciated?

Facebook MarketingHave you thrown hundreds to thousands of dollars at Facebook Ad & Marketing campaigns only to feel like you’re not seeing any bang for your buck? You are not alone. In a recent report done by Forrester.com, business executives felt that Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity.

Although small business & brands have reaped the benefits of positive social relationships with consumers on Facebook for years, there has been a lack of real results on the social network. But why is that? Facebook gives businesses access to the largest audience in media history, but more and more businesses & brands are finding that Facebook pages are a bad investment. In fact, in the same Forrestor.com study, it was found that posts on Brand Pages were only seen by 16% of fans. We, as businesses, are running paid ad campaigns to build our fans so that we can engage with them, but Facebook is not delivering the content. Everyone who clicks the “Like” button on a brand’s Facebook page is volunteering to receive that brand’s messages, so it only makes sense that fans should get to see every update.

Instead, Facebook has shifted its focus to promoting posts. To get fuller exposure, businesses now have to spend even more money to promote a single post, photo or video. Many small businesses or new brands are already spending a huge chunk of their Facebook marketing budget on tiny sidebar ads that try to garner “Likes” by potential customers. Does it not seem redundant to first pay for an ad that increases your fans, and then pay again for those very fans to see just a single post on your business/brand page?

Facebook Post PromotionFor the mere sum of $5 – $300, you can “Promote” a post, whether that’s a link to your blog or website or an interesting photo/video/sales ad, with the promise of having your post reach from 500-50,000 people. This actually ends up being close to $6-$10 CPM, which is generally what large brands or corporations pay for premium ad inventory. For a small business, the return could be far too minimal to even consider. Compared to alternatives such as Google Adwords or other options for promoting your ACTUAL website, Facebook ad costs are unreasonably expensive.

Most businesses & brands are under the impression that they pay for an ad to help increase page likes which will create a database of users that can be connected with at will. Instead, Facebook has made it so that businesses are paying to build a list of people which can then be advertised to (at the business’s expense of course).

A few weeks ago, Facebook hammered another nail into the coffin of small business pages by introducing News Feed FYI. The new algorithm that shows relevant & responses on users’ news feed has caused a business’s or brand’s organic reach to decrease on average of about 44%. Some even have seen decreases of up to 88%!

Luckily, with all of the negative aspects of Facebook for businesses, there is no need to give up hope. There are a few ways you can still see success on Facebook, even with their new algorithms, and no, you don’t need to pay.

Brand Advocates, or people who highly recommend brands and products without being paid to do so, are a company’s most engaged, loyal and valuable customers. They act as a volunteer sales and marketing force that will connect with their friends, family & acquaintances to promote your products or services with little to no prodding necessary. In fact, a Brand Advocate’s recommendations are the number one influencer of purchase decisions and brand perceptions in nearly every product category; from electronics, to travel, & consumer goods. While ads can be ignored or skipped, a friend or family member’s recommendation on a product or service is much more likely to be followed.

So, how do we reach these Brand Advocates? Facebook actually has a successful way to do this. Sharing an offer is a great way for companies to get noticed and to stay relevant. These offers will fuel Advocates with the content you want shared, which their friends will be able to see, consume and possibly even act on it. Companies that systematically identify & energize Brand Advocates are seeing at least a 10X ROI in media and sales value, according to an analysis done by imediaconnection.com on the Zuberance-powered advocacy program. That means the ROI is exponentially greater than just focusing on promoting posts or Facebook ads.

Rich Media Ad

An example of a mobile Rich Media Ad – Credit: allfacebook.com

Interactivity also plays a huge role in the success of user engagement. Rich media ads that allow users to interact and then share their results are becoming increasingly popular. For example, a user sees an ad for a new Chevy Spark. By simply interacting with the ad, they can change the color of the car as they please. If they want to then share this personalized ad, the ad will ask permission & then share the personalized ad on the user’s news feed, which is seen by family & friends. These rich media ads combine tailored audience building & premium placement in the news feed with a very rich & engaging ad creative.

The company PointRoll has had some very measurable success with rich media ads.  A large retail brand hired PointRoll to create a rich media ad campaign that would work to drive reach & exposure on Facebook mobile. According to their results, they successfully garnered a reach of more than 8 million users, and the click-through rate was a whopping 17.28 percent.

So while focusing on Facebook Ads & post promoting may not fare well for small businesses or brands, utilizing Brand Advocates and Rich Media Ads has proven to be quite successful.

Tell us how you feel? Have you found much success on Facebook?

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