It is no secret that Facebook is one of the top sites for surfing on the internet. They have over 618 million daily active users visiting the site to keep up with their friends and family, or to look at the latest memes (concepts that spread from person to person via the internet). They are spending immense amounts of their free time there and most users admit to checking their timelines multiple times a day. Although this huge chunk of user time means that Facebook can be used as an effective marketing channel for businesses, it should only be one of many tools in their marketing toolbox.
Unfortunately, some marketers are making the mistake of assuming that Facebook should be the center of their marketing strategy, or even worse, their only marketing strategy. Facebook pages might appear to provide a cost-effective channel for lead generation (because they are free), but Facebook actually limits a business’s ability to reach a relevant audience or to obtain qualified leads with their organic (or unpaid) posts. To add to the struggle, Facebook continues to make changes to their algorithms, thereby decreasing your page’s reach to your follower’s networks. As recently as February of this year Facebook announced to businesses that an average of only 16% of the members on their Page would be exposed on their newsfeed to the content they upload. The next step is to consider running paid advertising and promoted posts on Facebook. Based on the tremendous amount of traffic, the opportunities seem endless, and you can’t lose, right? Not necessarily.
Marketers need to keep in mind that Facebook’s exposure effect of a “Like” or “Share” is temporary at best. Marketers are limited to their follower’s networks and the room for growth of those networks is limited by how quickly they gain new friends. Since Facebook is now a social norm, marketers should not anticipate these networks to grow at an alarming rate. When you do manage to capture the attention of “friend’s friends” with their “liked” status updates, it is challenging to get them to click through on content and convert them into a viable lead. In most cases, pages or posts that are “liked” or “shared” are lost in the growing abyss of cluttered user timelines, or worse, make it on to the dreaded user “hide” list.
It is critical for marketers to recognize that Facebook alone does not provide the flexibility and value of a multi-channel, integrated marketing strategy. While it is a tremendously effective tool, it should not be the focal point of a marketing plan. Businesses need to keep the bigger picture in mind while developing smart marketing strategies. Facebook is one website, and one marketing channel; forgetting this can be detrimental. Reaching out to consumers across multiple marketing channels is critical for consistent marketing communication. Print, direct mail, email, mobile channels and micro-sites are effective tools that allow you to develop new relationships, as well as to nurture and grow the relationships initiated through social media channels such as Facebook. Best of all, these tools provide the opportunity to collect relevant marketing data about your audience. Focusing efforts in multiple digital and traditional marketing channels allows marketers to reach their most relevant demographic, cultivate qualified leads, and generate positive returns on their marketing investments. Exposure is wonderful, but it’s a small part of the bigger picture. A good return on your marketing investment is what is most important.