I originally wrote this post in Summer 2012 and I wanted to put it out again because a few weeks ago I read this article on AdAge Digital, "Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads". I have seen quite a few fanpage owners ranting about how their posts are not reaching as many fans as previously and that something was going on. Well, Facebook has finally admitted their plan (which I knew was coming a few years back when they went public), which is to make you buy ads and promoted posts to reach your Facebook audience.
Developing social media strategies for churches was originally something that I did out of necessity because I would be one of few people working for a ministry that knew how to utilize social media. As these strategies started to show some measures of success, I would analyze, optimize and repeat. A good social media strategy is to provide inspiration, information and communication to the variety of networks that you are one. Once you provide that then analyze the results, fine tune your approach and then repeat the process. This always works, even though Facebook seems to be changing the rules.
Once Facebook went public, they changed from a focus on connecting people as a social network, to a profit minded, business entity. Facebook’s initial IPO was good but immediately their stock started tanking and they were losing market cap value. Many people wondered if Facebook even had a business model and what exactly were they selling.
Well Facebook does have a business model, and they sell you the ability to communicate with millions of people all around the world. Their Facebook newsfeed is their “Golden Goose” and millions of businesses strive to get their content into people’s newsfeeds. Facebook uses an algorithm called Edgerank to determine what information appears in your newsfeed and what doesn’t. Therefore, if you have 1000 friends on Facebook, you may only see the posts from 270-300 of them, based on who you communicate with the most. Likewise, if you are a fan page, and you have 1000 fans, on average about 125 of them will see your posts, based on who interacts with your page the most.
Now, here’s the kicker, Facebook has a “Promoted Post” option where they will “SELL” you the ability to have your post viewed by more people. So, not only do they not let your post be seen by all the people that have “Liked” your fanpage, they sell you the option to make that possible. From a business perspective, I must admit, I like it, but from a Facebook user perspective, this sucks.
Therefore, there are options such as Facebook NewsFeed Optimization where you actually have to develop a content strategy to push out high quality visual content via Facebook (ideally photos and videos), make a call to action in the post so that people interact with it (share or like this photo, click this link), and even promote the post to increase engagement. This is the new Facebook, it’s time to adapt.
**Another key point I want to add is that I am going to advocate that all the ministries, churches and organizations that I work with and speak to at events, please diversify your social media networks. Do not put all your eggs in Facebook's basket. If you have the resources, please use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and/or YouTube... (as well as Instagram, Pinterest and Vine).
For more information on this and other Social Media topics, get your copy or How to Get One Million Social Media Fans today.