A new blog published by Ignite Social Media contains some information that’s likely to be pretty frightening for companies with Facebook brand pages.
You can read the article yourself for the full stats, but here’s what I think is the most important:
- Across 21 brand pages analyzed by Ignite, organic reach declined by an average of 44 percent since December 1. Yes, that’s a drop in reach of almost half.
- Today, brand page reach is approximately 3 percent. That’s down from 16 percent in 2012, and essentially means that a brand can now expect to reach only 3 of every 100 fans. Ouch.
There’s a lot of other good data in the post–and I encourage you to read it–but the findings ought to have companies with Facebook brand pages scrambling to recoup their losses.
So really, what’s a brand to do?
Although Facebook has been going through a lot of algorithm changes recently, this one sticks out because it’s affecting nearly everyone in a negative way. We’re seeing similar statistics across the board with several of our clients; so clearly, whatever is happening with Facebook’s brand pages isn’t just some small blip on the radar.
I won’t speculate as to what exactly the reason for this big change is (although most of us are hoping that it’s accidental, and that Facebook will put things back to normal). It’s in Facebook’s best interest to fix this problem–they could very easily see a huge drop in ad revenue if brand pages continue to have 3 percent reach–but even if they fix the algorithm soon, there are still a few important takeaways from what’s going on right now:
- Platform diversity is (still) essential. When Facebook shut down for a short period of time a few months ago, we reminded our readers to be present across several social media networks–not just Facebook. What’s happening now only reinforces that idea. Having a strong presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and yes, maybe even Google+ is a good idea because it puts you in front of many different audiences, and also because it will ensure that your brand suffers less in instances like these. Having all of your eggs in one basket leaves you much more susceptible to catastrophic failure.
- Sometimes, being good at social media just means riding it out. While it is essential to be present on many social media platforms, a bad week (or month) hardly means that you should abandon a platform. Especially on Facebook, social media can come and go in waves, meaning that six months of solid growth and exposure could easily be followed by a slump. Don’t be afraid to stick to your guns and ride things out if you’re seeing bad stats, as usually, you can recover fairly easily simply by continuing to be persistent in posting and in content.
- You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with ads. There are a lot of reasons that ads on Facebook can flop, just as there are a lot of reasons that your page views could be suffering. Although in this case, there’s clearly something going on that’s affecting companies all across Facebook, in other instances where you see a drop in traffic, don’t be afraid to switch things up and see what you can get to improve. There may be a lot that goes into ads being displayed on Facebook’s end, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t switch things up on your end, too.
- Good data means everything. The final conclusion that we can draw from everything happening here is that good data is absolutely essential. With the tools out there today, there’s no excuse for making social media-related decisions without hard data backing them up. No one would have known that this drop was happening across the board if they weren’t keeping track, so if you’re not already taking down every last statistic that you come across on all of your social media networks, now is absolutely the time to start. Doing so will lead to more informed decisions, and much less hand-waving when something like this happens.
It’s unfortunate that Facebook brand pages are taking a hit across the board. It’s especially unfortunate for those brands that are pouring lots of money into advertisements on Facebook, only to be given a 3 percent reach in return.
With that said, as unfortunate as it is that this is happening on Facebook, sometimes, it takes an event like this to remind us of best practices on social media. Companies with Facebook brand pages should be using this as an opportunity to revisit their practices on social media and make sure that they’re active on other platforms. And if you’re not, start doing so now so that you’ll be prepared if and when another big drop like this happens again.
Going into the future, these observations and tips should continue to have value. Good data will always be important, as will knowing what’s going on across every platform, as will making your company active on more than one social media network. Those things will always have value, and that’s especially true in events like these.
While I’m not sure what this means for the future of Facebook brand pages–although I’m optimistic that Facebook will see what’s going on and make things better–I do know that now is as good of a time as ever to review and make sure that your social media is up to spec.
And if it isn’t? Don’t worry–but don’t wait until the next time this happens to get things right.
If you have any questions about best practices on social media, or if you’d like to know about any of the services we offer here at Social Media Contractors, reach out to us in the comments or on Twitter and let us know. We’re always here to answer questions, and would love to help you make the most of your brand’s presence on social media–despite whatever may be going on with Facebook at the time.
Image credit: CC by Storm Crypt