Psst – I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Facebook marketing isn’t dead.
You’ve probably heard a lot of doom and gloom recently about Facebook’s prospects. Ominous “facts” about the younger generation shrinking on the platform, and an increasingly inactive user base.
You might even be forgiven to think that Facebook is going down the way of a particularly famous MyPredecessor.
Well, don’t sweat it – as always, the press is just doing their job, and the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Nearly 3 billion people are using Facebook as of a few months ago – that’s almost half our global population. And while activity in North America has certainly seen some shrinkage in the last few years, it’s little more than a pittance – especially considering nearly 90% of Facebook’s user base is outside of North America.
So, no – Facebook marketing isn’t going anywhere. Especially when you consider how deeply coupled Instagram is to Facebook – and let’s face it, with the precipitous decline of Snap, Instagram is the king of social.
So, now that we’ve dealt with the doom and gloom nonsense, let’s get to the meat of this article: how do you (organically) grow your Facebook marketing presence in 2019?
As it turns out, the strategies that worked a few years ago don’t seem to hold as well nowadays. Let’s find out why, and what you can do instead.
The Problem: Declining Reach
The average organic reach of a brand on Facebook has precipitously declined in the last few years – in fact, it’s dropped nearly 200% in the last 2-3 years. The tinfoil-hatted among us will of course quickly point to Facebook’s supposed lowering engagement (see: doom-and-gloom myth-busting above), or the more cynical crowd might suggest Facebook is throttling organic in favor of paid promotions.
Neither of these appear to be the case.
[ Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/tnxRFtXI9dI ]
As I’ve described already, Facebook’s “per-capita activity” may be seeing slight shrinkage, but it’s volumes continue to rise. And the conspiracy of Facebook’s shift towards paid, well….although something similar is probably happening, there certainly isn’t any objective proof you can point to.
The answer, as our old friend Occam would probably be fond of, is much simpler than either of those: there’s just a lot more competition. There are tens of millions of business pages competing for space on Facebook – that’s an order of magnitude more than it was just 5 years ago.
So the “problem” of the old techniques isn’t in the techniques at all – it’s just in execution. If you want to stand out from the field and make organic work, you just have to be better.
Rough, I know.
Unconventional Ideas Win Facebook Marketing
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Social media is an incredibly young discipline, yet most organizations treat it like its the study of arithmetic. The “rules” that you’re taught were barely invented 4 years ago – it’s crucial in this day and age to start breaking them.
For starters, one of the biggest mistakes companies make is focusing on ancient demographic personas. If you’re constantly chasing the same demographics that your organization has been chasing for decades, just now doing it online, how can you expect to stand out from the field?
In fact – it’s becoming increasingly clear that the access granted by social media is opening up brands to demographics they didn’t even know they had.
Consider the 2015 super bowl, one of the most memorable in recent history. Guess what the top 3 most engaged demographics on Facebook were for the event?
- Women, ages 25-34
- Women, ages 35-44
- Women, ages 18-24
So while 99% of companies did what they always do, and marketed their Superbowl social presence towards middle-aged men, the smartest brands went after young women and scored big.
Here’s another example: peak times.
For ages, the common convention has been to post during peak hours. It’s an idea that’s a relic of the advertising age – after all, you wouldn’t want to run TV ads on the 2 am slot, right?
Well, as it turns out, the same idea doesn’t really hold on social media. Part of it is just sheer volume – the 2 am social media volume is bigger than even primetime TV, and the “peak hours” on social media are so ridiculously competitive it’s nearly impossible to find a niche
Consider Jon Loomer (Facebook master extraordinaire) results from an experiment posting in peak hours vs. the midnight shift:
Brands that learn to play risky (and hire people that are good at taking those risks… I’m looking at you, Subway), tend to win out. Consider the rise of brand-on-brand violence on social media – these oddly satisfying & transparent tweets against competitors generate some of the most social engagement on the internet:
The rules for social media are still in their infancy. If you’re following the same rules as everyone else, how can you expect to get different results?
Something something insanity, yadda yadda.
Social media scheduling is king
There was a weird lull the last few years where it seemed people were starting to sour on social media scheduling tools. A bigger push was made towards higher-quality, bespoke content and getting away from “automation” because it “didn’t work”.
There are 2 salient points we need to make here:
- Social media automation doesn’t mean avoiding high-quality content…. It simply frees you of the time required to organize & share the more rudimentary day-to-day content, so you can focus on the killer stuff (like Superbowl memes!)
- Quantity matters – now more than ever
Gone are the days where a few posts a week are enough to keep the tides moving. Now more than ever you need a constant flow of contact to keep engagement levels up – the average post is visible on the social sphere for a matter of minutes. It’s like swimming – you have to keep pedaling, or you’ll sink.
(Or, some other less morbid analogy)
[ Image Source: https://buffer.com/resources/facebook-marketing-strategy#page-posting ]
According to the numbers, you should be posting 5-10 times a day to maximize engagement on your accounts. And here’s the kicker: that number is increasing every quarter. Seriously.
I know it sounds awful, but you really need to throw a lot of things at the wall for anything to stick. That’s the nature of social media nowadays – it’s a giant sea of noise, and only little bits and pieces will crack their way in.
So, in 2019 what scheduler should you be using to maximize your throughput? Well, you’ve got a few options.
- CoSchedule – CoSchedule has become quite popular in the last few years, for good reason. It’s probably the best choice in the menu if you’re looking for a place to run all of your content through – the scheduling part of it is a rather small aspect. So, you won’t necessarily get the control you need to maximize social, but you’ll get a bird’s eye view and control of everything in one deck.
- Drumup – It’s a bit of a shameless plug, but hey, we wouldn’t be in business if we didn’t exist on this list. DrumUp is your best option on the list to hit the volumes above because of it’s repeating scheduler and general automation tools. If you’re looking to set-and-forget it’s definitely the best option on the list, particularly if you’re looking to automate the content creation bit (which we’d recommend – it’s always better when content and social are nice and synchronized)
Facebook Marketing in 2019: Not For The Faint Hearted
The challenge of Facebook marketing is not that it’s becoming more competitive, or that it requires that extra touch – it’s because it’s so damn tantalizing.
For all it’s faults, Facebook continues to be the entry point for audiences engaging with and buying brands – particularly brick and mortar ones. It’s still essential to maintain a strong presence, and the rewards are unthinkable for those who actually crack it – the ceiling of high Facebook engagement is still much higher than Twitter or Instagram.
The key to organic Facebook marketing always boils down to what nobody wants to hear – the fundamentals. The fact is, there aren’t any tricks or hacks that’ll get you to organic growth. You need to make a lot of great posts, understand your audience and respond to them, and really deliver on quality.
Easy, right? Get to work.
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