Don’t blame Facebook: it is simply killing what was always a stupid idea
Let’s be honest. Using a brand Facebook page to reach your consumer audience was always a stupid idea. Organic reach, as it is now called, has always been a waste of time. It hasn’t been Facebook and its actions over time which has made it so. By finally making Facebook a pay-to-pay venue, Facebook has simply done the decent thing and killed something that should never have been brought to life in the first place.
Now Facebook’s motives for doing this can be questioned. They say it is to improve the user experience, I say it is to improve the shareholder experience – but that is a subject for a whole new (old) post.
Facebook has form in this respect. When it introduced Timeline a few years back it killed off the idea that the objective for brands was to try and make your Facebook page look like your website. Do you remember that time? We even had respected digital consultancies lauding those brands that had overcome the ‘static format’ of Facebook in order to create ‘brilliant’ Facebook pages. I guess the logic went like this: here is this thing called Facebook which we don’t really understand. Here is this thing called a website which we do understand. Make our Facebook page look like our website and ‘hey prestos’ we can therefore understand Facebook. Stupid, but none-the-less a lot of digital agencies made a lot of money helping brands do this – so not so stupid from someone’s perspective I guess.
Again, Facebook said it did this to allow users to tell and record their life stories within Facebook. I say they did that to encourage users to input more data into Facebook – but that is the subject for a whole new (old) post.
Social media is not a space where audiences naturally exist. Creating audiences in social media is always going to be a fruitless task. Engagement rates with brand Facebook pages have always been miniscule, expressed as a percentage of your total ‘target’ audience (this dates back way before Facebook started making it difficult to create ‘engagement’ with ‘organic’ posts). Social media is not a medium of distribution, it is a medium of connection. The name of the game is not channel and message / reach and frequency – it is about behaviour identification and response. The world of social media is a world of the individual, not a world of the audience. Traditional media is a high reach but low engagement space, social media is a low reach but high engagement space. You can only use social media effectively to deal with very small numbers of people at any one time, but the value you can (must) create from these contacts therefore has to an order of magnitude greater than that when all you were doing was pushing content at them. This has been the subject for a whole old blog.
So don’t blame Facebook for finally killing your organic Facebook engagement content brandfill nonsense strategy. Facebook is simply doing you a favour.