Hello there fellow internet marketer!
Facebook is loved by small businesses, as even though large companies have bigger budgets and better marketing systems in general, small businesses can still get a lot of exposure to their potential customers for free: simply through setting up a page and ‘mingling’ with their customers online. Think of one large conference where you gather together all the interested parties in a particular passion or hobby, for example fly-fishing, and get them together into one room. This organic reach has been a huge tool in increasing exposure to small businesses over the past 10 years. That is the power of Facebook.
Well not anymore!
With the recent announcements in March that Facebook is testing and changing it’s algorithm, many small businesses are being forced to re-think how efficient Facebook actually is in terms of a marketing strategy to get to their customers easily – and without paying the earth!
These changes mean that the organic reach on a business’ page will be decreased, with only 2-6% of updates actually reaching the page’s fans depending on the number of likes that the page has! Of course this is all so Facebook can hire out the extra space in the news feed to paid advertisers, making your news feed even more clogged up than ever before.
So how will these changes affect YOUR business and what shall you do?
In our opinion, this all depends on the target market you are trying to reach, and of course your marketing budget.
Facebook used to be the perfect place to reach the young audience, back when it was the ‘hip’ place to be (it seems that young people are always moving to the next trend!). However, with Facebook constantly allowing more ads into it’s algorithm, many youngsters are flocking to sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Flickr where they can have the social network that they used to get from Facebook, before it started becoming ad-crazy.
If your businesses’ target market is the younger generation, then you may seriously want to consider whether Facebook is the best place for you to be spending your marketing budget, or spend your time building and maintaining pages and groups to reach your fans. You may also want to decide whether it is worth it to be sticking with Facebook if many youngsters are predicted to be leaving to other platforms over the next few years anyway!
However, if your target audience is the over 55’s, then you are in luck! With the numbers of over 55’s on Facebook having gone up over 84% since 2007, Facebook is still a great place to be reaching this target audience. You may still want to re-think your strategy in terms of whether you focus too heavily on free (organic) traffic, or just use paid ads, as that is the way Facebook seems to be going!
The real grey area is the ages between 20-55. Our advice would be to split-test your marketing between Facebook and other sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn to see if Facebook is worth a lot of your time/marketing budget.
It will be very interesting to see where Facebook will go from here, and if it’s audience will drop lower over time.
We are very interested to hear your stories and how Facebook’s recent changes have/haven’t affected your businesses, do drop us a comment below!
The Internet Marketing Place