Facebook Marketing Is Dead... Or Is It?
The very first legal television ad appeared in July 1, 1941 during a Brooklyn Dodgers game on a local New York channel. The 10-second ad from Bulova watches was a simple ad that showed a clock and a map of the United States, with a voice-over that said, “American runs on Bulova time.”
Over the next 10 years many more companies would jump on board in order to reach an ever growing audience of television owners. More advertising options soon became available and companies began sponsoring entire programs that showcased their products.
By the 1970s companies went from simple product sharing to catchy jingles in order to gain their audience’s attention. Advertisers knew that in order to make their products more appealing, they had to stand out.
In 1999 TiVo was introduced and the world changed forever. Consumers didn’t have to watch commercials any longer. They weren’t locked in to someone else’s schedule. They had freedom, power to move past the advertising tactics being employed and choose what they wanted to see.
Now let’s fast forward to present day…
The internet and the introduction of new media, specifically social media, changed the world yet again. Consumers had even more power to search for and find the information they wanted versus waiting until a major network decided what to share with them. Communication became instantaneous and it became easy for anyone to share new products, services and resources with the world.
In 2014 Pew Research Center estimated that 74% of all online adults use social networking sites. The rise of smart phones made networking and communication as easy as a tap of the finger. It’s estimated that 40% of all cell phone owners use a social networking site and 28% of them do so every day.
How did that affect advertising? Just like in the 1950s when Bulova decided there was a new way to reach consumers, now advertisers realize there is, yet again, another new way to reach the very people they want to share products and services with. In 2015, however, consumers have the power!
A Consumer Controlled Market
Inbound marketing has become the most effective method for gaining customers, leads, fans and brand advocates. Companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. Published blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links in the search engines. This translates into higher rankings in the search engines and more website traffic to your site. It’s estimated that 80% of people ignore Google sponsored ads and it’s speculated that you’re more likely to survive a plane crash than get someone to click on your banner ad.
What does all this mean? In 2015 creating content and participating in a way that makes people WANT to hear from you, is getting better results than basic, paid advertising spots. What happens when consumers don’t like what you have to say? They unfollow you. What happens when you annoy them with overly promotional materials far too often? They block you. They forget you. They move on. They have the power and Facebook and many other networking sites are making it all too easy for the consumer to get exactly what they want. What does that mean for marketers? Either change your ways or find yourself on the outside, looking in and watching others gain market share with your target audience.
At the end of 2013 Facebook made the decision to severely decrease the organic reach for business pages. Their reasoning was that if businesses wanted to get in front of more potential buyers, then they should be willing to pay for the privilege. Since that time, Facebook has continued to take steps to ensure that users maintained control of what they saw in the newsfeed. It became easier for users to unfollow business pages that weren’t providing the type of content they wanted to see. They decreased the reach of text posts when they determined that photo posts were getting more engagement. They made another change recently when they decided to decrease the reach of unpaid posts that looked promotional.
This weekend I read an article saying that text posts on business pages were starting to get greater organic reach because so many marketers had started using photos in all their posts. I can’t seem to go a week without hearing that video is the new holy grail on Facebook and I should be using this tactic to get more interaction from fans.
What Should You Do, Really?
Marketing may not be dead but it certainly isn’t what it once was. It’s no longer good enough to throw up a logo, do a voice over and wait for the money to roll in. You can’t rely on posting a “buy from me!” message in order to get new business. You can keep chasing tactics if you’d like. Understanding which content formats are getting the most engagement is certainly good knowledge to have. It’s important to understand as much as you can about how your audience is consuming content. Don’t rely on it to be the thing that saves your reach on Facebook or any other site though.
If the content you post is poor, overly promotional or too self serving then the method you use to convey it won't matter!
What you should do is participate on the social sites of your audience’s choice. Share good content. Help them solve their problems. Treat them like real people and value them whether they buy from you or not. Social networking sites offer so much more than just another sale. You have the opportunity to actually speak to your audience and find out what they need. Don’t assume you know what their problems are. Ask them! Then offer them real answers! Participate live as often as possible! Get involved in networking groups with real people and join Google Hangouts. Humanize your brand and get involved!
Be so good at what you do that they come looking for you and bring a friend!
Evaluate your product or service. Is it really meeting the needs of your audience? Could you be doing more? Listen to what the people in your network are saying and don’t take it personally! Take it seriously!
What are your competitors doing? Pay attention and then go above and beyond to give your audience something more. Do what others aren’t willing to do!
When Bulova released its first commercial, it wanted to be on the cutting edge of advertising in its day. It got the attention it wanted because it did what others weren’t. When the first product jingles were released in the 70s, they got the attention of their audience because they stood out from their competition and captured their audience’s attention in a new way. Today Zappos continues to lead the charge of exemplary brands who have excelled using marketing strategies and social integration with their business. They do what others won’t and so get the attention that others can’t.
There is evidence of advertising dating as far back as 3000 B.C. Since time began, someone has had something to sell. The methods they use to market have changed time and time again. Marketing has changed. It will continue to change as new technologies are introduced and consumers expectations mesh with new found levels of control over what they see online and offline. You can stick with the old ways and complain about lack of results or you can rise to new heights and evolve. The choice is yours.
How will you market your business in these changing times?
Is your business struggling for visibility? Are you looking for creative ideas that will encourage potential clients to come looking for you? We help lots of small to medium sized business owners gain visibility and increased web traffic with customized online strategies. Contact us today and ask how we can help!
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