“The free ride for brands is over”

Only 16% of brand posts are seen by its fans….Facebook has altered its algorithm a few months back, so your wall isn’t spammed with free “posts” – or free ads – from brands (or companies).  Your wall-update only shows your interests/friends and post related to this.  For an average person this sounds ok, but for brands this “s*cks” big time…Especialy those who thought Facebook was a free ride for distributing its (advertising/brand) messages.  Off course Facebook doesn’t want to be an “earned” channel only, the want to be “paid” as well, so by adapting the algorithm for wall posts, brands aren’t shown that often on personal walls, except when a brand/company is sponsoring (paying Facebook to push) its post, to show on people’s walls…So is the  free ride really over?

Off course not! This only shows that Facebook wasn’t a free ride at all….and just doesn’t work as any ordinary marketing channel from the past.  Facebook is a social network which connects people with similar ideas, interests, hobby’s, …. It’s a community builder.  Most communities are built around like-minded people who share a common connection. So building a community as a brand or a company is quite difficult, since these are not ‘real-life’ persons. Brands or companies can be the common connection between people, thus the connection being the beginning of a community. Brands and companies can drive this community but not only by sharing brand messages (or even worse brand advertising or promotion).  Brands got to share their community with their “fans” who participate in the discussion, share pictures, share thoughts, …. Get a true brand engagement going, instead of focusing on the number of fans and likes.  When your fans are engaging with your brand or company they will start sharing and participating in your messages, which will show automatically on their wall, while “likes” just don’t show on a wall at all (and thus can’t drive attention or traffic to your page).

So is the only way out, buying sponsorships for your post to show up on your fans walls? Off course not, you have got to rethink your own messages (as you should have from the beginning). Facebook (and other social media for that matter) aren’t your average advertising media as you know from the past.  With social media content and context are very important.  So only building a (social) advertising campaign on Facebook won’t do the trick, you need to share relevant content which can be of interest for your community (besides brands/companies messages). This way you can drive traffic to your page for content, and if you do a better job, you have them participating in your content though sharing, reacting, … Instead of pushing your message to your audience, you pull your audience into your message (=community), and if you can engage your audience they will become part of that community and share your content with their community (instead of you pushing your content into their community).

As a brand you really need to rethink the way you communicate on social media, away from the traditional push marketing and into building a content strategy.  It’s better to build a community of a couple of hundred who is active, sharing and a true brand ambassador, then having a community of many who are just sleeping and don’t show any brand engagement at all.
How to do this? Build a (content) strategy for your Facebook channel, with some simple rules:

  • post regularly (more than once a week….you need people to come to your page on a regular basis)
  • use images (are ranked higher and easy sharable)
  • be direct in connecting with your audience (ask them to participate in your discussions, posts, …)
  • avoid continual self-promotion
  • …don’t use Facebook as your only channel!

Sources:
Facebook & the 16% solution – http://hightalk.net/2012/10/29/facebook-the-16-solution/?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=hootsuite_tweets
Facebook Brand Posts Only Reach 16% Of Your Fans – http://www.simplyzesty.com/facebook/facebook-brand-posts-only-reach-16-of-your-fans-infographic/
Facebook Tells Brands the Percentage of Fans Who See Their Posts – http://mashable.com/2012/05/24/facebook-post-reach/
Image: http://www.ngsmarketing.com/small-business-local-marketing-the-malaysian-way/

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Posted in Flat Business
39 comments on ““The free ride for brands is over”
  1. Anca Mihaela Scutaru says:

    I think that this will change, for sure. Facebook will do something to keep gaining using this way: advertising for brands. For example….I always play games on facebook…but when I finish those 5 lifes, I need to watch to an ad, to gain a life. I think facebook already started do something to solve this problem: advertising.

  2. Waia Polymeridis says:

    I am also a user of Facebook but I tried to avoid advertisments with my setting. I have to say, that it works really fine for me. Only small advertisments next to the news feed are displayed but when i am honest, I do not recognized them before the article. I think the opinion that advertisments on Facebook are not effective enough is true. I am a good example for that :-).
    Nevertheless I know brands who already rethinked their marketing stragety in social medias. Most of them created a fan-page on which you can get in contact with the brand itself. Due to this they have an increasing of their community because a lot of people want to be part of the brand.

  3. Magalie Descamps says:

    Most importantly I think that you have to be creative in every post. Everything you do must be unique and something to easily talk about. You have to find a way that your “fans” or new prospects create their own content like pictures and other fun stuff to share about your brand. If you manage to do so, you’ve gone a long way but the hard part is to hold on to that great strategy. Give them a reason to share!

  4. Kevin Velghe says:

    A lot of organisations still don’t get the fact that being active on Facebook isn’t that much of a big deal anymore. Every company out there has a Facebookpage, they share their statuses about small discounts, prizes to win, new products, etc. but who actually still cares? If Facebook actually did work this way, I think a lot of people wouldn’t even be using it anymore…
    Marketing yourself on social media has evolved to having your fans interact with each other about your brand.
    This is where I think Facebook made a mistake. Brands will eventually learn that people don’t really care about the brands being “promoted to their news feed” (it actually pisses me off more than anything). Having companies pay for their advertising is a rookie mistake.
    People want their brands promoted by their friends. If you want continuous advertising, you might as well watch cable tv.

  5. Helsen Jonas says:

    Yeah, this is the reason why I study Cross Media Management. I want to be part of this revolution on social media and go on the challenges that this brings along. Companies have to start thinking different. Instead of giving billions on commercials and big campaigns, they better hire someone who is educated and passioned about this new media. It’s also very important to hire someone who’s really into your brand. He or she has to believe in the story of your brand. When he/she does, it’s a lot easier to build content from the brand for the fans/ consumers/followers. With good content, you can reach everyone. Start the revolution!

  6. Mats Blankers says:

    I’am really annoyed by the recurrent commercials. I don’t think it hasn’t a positive impact on the consumer. Like Clo Willaerts writes in her book “The Conversity Model”, companies have to listen to their clients or potential buyers. They have to know on which social media they are active. They have to listen and communicate like their “social friends”, not as a company. They can react on problems by solving them or to provide a solution. When they hear positive news or comment, they can use it for a promotion. It’s important that you get a result for the time and money you spent on social media. At the end you can innovate your product or brand because you have the direct opinion of your buyers or opponents. I realy believe that this is a better strategy than just launching commercials any time.

  7. There is not much to say about this post because I completely agree with all the statements that are made. Compagnies should rethink the way they communicate on social media and start building a content strategy. Create a community that is active and let your ‘fans’ speak for you, let them really engage and believe in your product. This is the future!

  8. Hans Francken says:

    Marketing these days has become more than “Like our status!” People who are truly interested in a brand are ready to start a conversation with it. And those who are willing to interact with a brand are valuable, a company should interact with those people because they provide WOM. Give those participators a story, an experience to share and they will visit the brand page more often AND bring along new people!

  9. I never liked companies trying to ‘over’-use facebook, It’s mostly bad and not relevant content. Its better to have a good and active community & use word of mouth to to share content and ideas. Most companies really need to rethink the way they communicate!

  10. Michal Kowalski says:

    Personaly I find this trend positive, mainly because the ads are made directly for specific group of clients (fans), what makes the offer really interesting for the buyer. Furthermore, if the brand managers contact with the community, they might know what the community wants, what they don’t like etc. Great example shown to us on the course in KdG was the campaign of Domino’s Pizza. Full contact with community, effective and efficient with a lot of benefits for the clients themselves – just 10/10

  11. I think it is very funny that the companies thought facebook would be a free ride. Many companies thought that making a facebook pages would attract more people to their brand but that was wrong. Also alot of companies have a facebook page but don’t post anything.

    They all should try making conversation with their customers. As mentioned in the text they should post more times in a week and start good discussions with the people.

    Even though not many people will react. They will have a small audience but an audience that is active. With all the information they could be newer and start communicating with more and more clients untill they have a conversation company and that is what they need to be!

  12. adilkdg says:

    Companies that promote their facebook page so it gets i my timeline while i dont even have liked their page, belongs to my top 10 of the things i hate on facebook.
    I see it as spam, and thats not the way a company wants to come over!

  13. yaboydennis says:

    Facebook has always been struggling with finding a way to get real profit without pushing their members some advertisements up their noses. Facebook has come a long way trying different businessplans.
    By making brands pay they also make them think twice before posting, which is something a lot of brands could use.

    I allready see the changes on facebook sometimes. The brands i’ve liked are posting indeed much more relevant and interesting content which i turn share sometimes.

  14. pauwelsnick says:

    A lot of company’s over use facebook and they don’t know how to use social media. I think a lot of people see this as spam and amateurish. So if they are not doing well on Facebook their brand value will then fall.

  15. Jassin Uddin says:

    I think all companies should use Facebook for advertising purposes, but not in an irritating way like it is now often the case. Advertising may not lead to spam. But again: everyone has the choice which company they like, which one they allow to appear on their wall and which ones they want to delete. So in fact, there is no real problem as long as you understand the rules of Facebook.

  16. Shahin Koobasi says:

    Companies over use social media and specially facebook for shouting (marketing). It’s good to be promoting your brand but not in a one way manner, we have tv for that. We want to go to their facebook page for questions, complains and such. They have to communicate with us.

  17. Carla Moya says:

    I think social networks are very important for the knowledge of a brand or company, however, as the responsible of advertising for Coca Cola, “social networks are not a magic wand. But they can do what you do best.” Coca Cola has 55 million fans on Facebook, but how can you measure how many consume their drinks? Facebook still can not answer this question. They have studies about fans versus non fans and they see that the followers are two times more likely to consume and 10 times more to buy. In conclusion, social networks are very important to be in contact with your customers or potential customers, but it has not to be the only thing you do.

  18. Geoff Hendrickx says:

    Most of the companies over use Facebook. When a company posts to much advertising I just unlike the page. When you are a big company and you don’t know how to use Facebook you have to invest in professionals who know what they are doing. So the messages are more effective and people won’t immediately unlike your brand when you keep them interested. So when they come to you with questions trough social media you can help them as fast as possible.

  19. Stefaan Tiepermann says:

    I think useless Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are a common problem. It’s not that hard to name some companies who have a Facebook and Twitter but don’t have any content to share. Bank of America has 5000+ followers on Twitter but hasn’t tweeted. Not surprising. They don’t have any content to share with their followers. So either these sort of companies should create content with a nice twist or just admit that they are just jumping on the social train. Without thinking first that is.

  20. Max Heylen-Buelens says:

    I think the best way to spread content of your company, is indeed with social media. But paying loads of money just to appear on a screen of someone that doesn’t give a damn, and scrolls/clicks away the advertisement without remembering something of it at all. It is much better to spend this money on creating a campaign that media users find funny or spectacular, or worth sharing. This way, they will care about the information your company wants to spread, and they will even share it!

  21. Annelies Mampaey says:

    Some companies are really over doing it. That wouldn’t be a big problem if they were doing it right. Unfortunately they still believe in the old marketing strategies. They are convinced that they achieve people if they like your Facebook page. That is a real joke. I liked a lot of pages but visited them just once. If they post too many advertisements, I will delete the page. That means I’m not convinced of the product and the company. You really need to catch my eye if you don’t want to be boring. Leave the old strategies and put some time in your costumers.

  22. I see the advertisements on my timeline as spam! Never clicked on the Like-button or visited their page! If I like a brand and want to be up-to-date with that brand it’s news and stuff, i’ll like it myself.

  23. Annelies Mampaey says:

    Like Jo Caudron wrote is his book, advertisements aren’t relevant enough. The internet is full of it. They really need to change their way to get in touch with their buyers. Facebook could be a real help with it. They know exactly who their users are. They could get the advertisements by the target audience. Caudron has some really good advice. We need to go back to basics. Instead of trying to get as many likes that is possible you really need to create a relationship with the customer. You need to be like a market vendor. Listening and going into a conversation is very important. You have to know your audience. The digital world is very dangerous, if your customers aren’t happy, they will tell it to the whole internet.

  24. Jasmien Hendrickx says:

    I see advertisements on my timeline as spam. I blocked almost every newsfeed of the brand I liked. Yes I’m a fan, but NO I’m not interested in your advertisements. Therefor I have a television. Facebook is a good medium to start discussions, but don’t use it for your traditional ‘push’ advertising. Me, as a consumer, am tired of this kind of marketing. I find it relevant that companies try to have interaction with their clients, and offer support through social media. But try to imagine why they already have programs like “ad-blocker”? 😉

  25. Yolanda Van Mechelen says:

    One of the best things Facebook has done recently, we’re already overwhelmed with advertisements on Youtube or other websites. I don’t think we have to be bothere with more advertisements on a website we go to communicate with our friends. As a XM student this might sound strange but as a facebook user I’m all for the change.

  26. Jesse ten Hoor says:

    I expect the web-based advertisement industry to become more and more tailor-made. Consumers will end up feeling flooded with adds, which, from a brand’s perspective, is quite a bad thing. I think websites (such as Youtube, Facebook and so on) will increasingly ‘scan’ their advertisers and become more selective. Personally, I think that’s a great thing. Like I said, it won’t take too long until consumers will turn their backs at the advertisers.

  27. Monaa says:

    All that advertising that pops up on my facebook are really annoying. I think that some companies over do it all. When a company page post to much advertising, i simply unlike the page. Because it just spams my wall and i get annoyed by it.

  28. Devin Hendrickx says:

    Even facbook is testing their boundaries of how many advertisement they can allow for people will be leaving Facebook. I have heard that they are thinking of adding advertisement with sounds on the homepage. I think Facebook can go pretty far before people actually will be leaving facebook. Because it has become a habit to go on Facebook on a weekly basis and people don’t like to break habits. For example Youtube, we all love Youtube but Youtube is full of advertisement but a huge amount of people are still using Youtube on a daily basis.

  29. Vince Campforts says:

    I don’t like adds, I use AdBlock+. If you use FireFox you can install this addon and it will block all adds on facebook, youtube, blogs, it even blocks the annoying commercials they play on youtube.

  30. Nowadays Facebook is going through so many changes involving privacy and advertisement that I cannot keep up with it anymore.. Companies can now pay to ‘push’ their ads so that you are always confronted with them. I try to ignore them, and am succeeding at that. Still sometimes I notice the little ads on the right-hand side, but I tend to ignore them. Most brands have their own Facebook page now, but that doesn’t say much. It is about who is controlling that page. Is the person active? Does he ‘tease’ readers to come back and visit the page? In my opinion there are still a lot of good conversation managers needed, especially for advertising a brand on Facebook. I think they CAN make a difference.

  31. That Facebook’s publishes ad’s is hateful, but understanding. They also have to make profit and because they can reach so many users, many companies will go with hem. They just have to pay and Facebook spread the message.

  32. lislot says:

    The ads that start popping up on every single website you visit, annoy the visitors. The companies should think of a more creative way to make some publicity instead of annoying people over and over again.

  33. Alexander Seibel says:

    Facebook is a real good opportunity to make marketing/business. To show people new products or better try to get information to build the product they need. The last sentence is the most important: don´t use Facebook as your only channel. Companies have to take care of it and don´t focus just on Facebook. Imagine that for some reasons the activity of companies on Facebook will be forbitten. Whats gonna happen with the company? Facebook is a nice tool, but the other ones are important aswell.

  34. Michael Sickinger says:

    The advertisements which are made on the side, I don’t really notice. Popups will be closed quickly without reading them. On my point of view, creative advertisement like a cool video (maybe on youtube) and share this on facebook is a better way. If the video is good people will share it and many people will see it.

  35. Benjamin Karl says:

    Content marketing holds a big chance for companies as well as for the customer. The idea of advertising that really concerns you and gives valuable information has a multible time that value than just some pop up windows that just disturb. For example: the gopro camera, they frequently posts video from outdor activities that you like and want to share with others.

  36. Manuel Frey says:

    Social Media Marketing especially over facebook definitely brings companies more value. Today, brands increase “fan counts” on average of 9% monthly, increasing their fan base by two-times the amount annually. But nevertheless it is very important to be creative and indivudual in ads or posts. And I think if users are really annoyed by ads they can just use Adblock+.

  37. Marc Eberle says:

    brand = social media –> you need Content to make it transparent for the consumer or user – consumer/users see Advertising without a Content as SPAM and nobody wants to read or see SPAM (bad influence on the brand)

  38. Hatem Louati says:

    People are always scared of receiving personalized adverts. But why? I think it’s great that somebody tells me what could be really interesing for me. I like these kind of ads…

  39. Alexander Ceulemans says:

    Very interesting blog post as I am an administrator of two Facebook pages myself for my musical projects. When Facebook changed the algorithm I was asking myself the question “why?”. It was indeed frustrating to remark that just a selection of fans saw my posts on their wall. Since that moment I’m trying to improve my posts and keep my fans interacting with the page. Creating a valuable fanbase has become an interesting challenge to me.

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