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Does Facebook still work for marketing?

By Jonathan Sweet

Can you still generate organic reach for your company on Facebook?

That's the big question lately as the social media giant once again tweaked its algorithms, which has resulted in a precipitous drop in reach for most companies.

This is a big deal for the marine industry as more and more companies are relying on Facebook as a key part of their marketing plan. In our recent marketing survey (full results to be published in March), 72 percent of Boating Industry readers reported using Facebook as part of their marketing efforts. That's up from 55 percent a year ago. In the same survey, 8 percent said it was their single most successful marketing tactic in 2014, double the 4 percent who said that in 2013. Finally, 55 percent of readers said they plan to use Facebook more for marketing in 2015 than they did last year (only 5 percent plan on using it less).

If you're like most people, you've noticed how since January most brand pages have vanished from your Facebook news feed -- and the same thing is likely happening to your company page, especially if your content has been at all promotional.

According to Agorapulse's Facebook Page Barometer, the average post now reaches 16.4 percent of fans, and has engagement with 8.6 percent of them. In general, the smaller number of fans you have, the larger percentage of fans you're reaching. For example, posts by pages with less than 1,000 fans are reaching 24.9 percent of them, compared with 9.9 percent of those with 10,000 to 50,000 fans. You can benchmark your company page on the site as well, which could be a useful experiment to run.

The reality is Facebook is making the transition to embracing the "media" part of that whole social media idea. And that means they want your money. If you really want to reach a large number of people, even those who "Like" you, you've got to cough up the cash. That said, Facebook advertising is very inexpensive and can be targeted very specifically, so you can experiment with it and not break the budget.

So no, organic reach isn't dead, but it can't be the only thing you count on anymore.

2 comments

  1. Good sound advice. Amazingly no one, maybe a bit harsh, lets say not many get it. I ranked #2 for yacht, yachts and yachting on google in 2000-2005. Now maybe 1,000...if Im lucky. I remember as Google made the switch from "pure" SEO (not the right phrase but best I can come up with) to a PPC + content model, my feelings were "forget that" Im not paying to be moved up on Google search. I WAS WRONG! There are several companies who have proven it.

    My thought was social media with its stupid cat pictures, what I had to eat pictures or "watch my kid do something I find adorable and others find boring" videos....if its the future I don't want anything to do with it...again I WAS WRONG.

    Im happy to explain to anyone who wants, no bs, no strings attached how social media is the future.. I make $ selling yachts (thats it) and I can tell you my hardcore social media "experiement" has proven to me that the next step in marketing is without a doubt social.

    Im easy to find and happy to talk to anyone in the boating industry about it anytime. The beauty of social is more people, equals more recognition, equals more money for all.

  2. Good blog, Jonathan. But I would also mention that while these facts are strictly accurate, they're also on a sliding scale.

    For example, if you produce or curate amazing content, you're going to see your organic reach shoot far above 17%. If you share mediocre (or worse!) content, it will be far below 17%. Your audience engagement (high or low) based on your content is a better indicator of reach than the "Facebook average."

    Although Facebook has made changes that affect us as businesses, it's up to us to produce better content and engage with our audiences more, not to blame our low organic reach on the algorithm.

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