Facebook is still the most reliable and effective social channel for brands. As long as you’re willing to pay for it.
That doesn’t mean Facebook is gouging anyone–it just means organic social on Facebook is no longer worth the effort. We’ve known for a while that the organic reach of brands is shrinking, and Facebook’s latest updates may further impact organic social for brands in the early part of this year.
What’s the solution? Companies relying on social advertising should begin by deciding how to invest in paid social in a cost-effective way. Be wary of faddish tactics like chatbots. Finally, investigate audience targeting to help stretch your advertising dollars.
Know Your Worth
Facebook is still far and away the social media leader when it comes to user base and customer engagement: as of June of last year, Facebook’s closest competitor for users is YouTube, with 1.5 billion monthly users to Facebook’s 2 billion. That makes Facebook a safe bet for paid advertising. Of course, it’s worth auditing the activity of users on each social channel your brand uses for customer and prospect engagement. If Facebook isn’t at the top of your list, look into other channels that could be a better fit.
Beware the Bots
Chatbots were once the next big thing in Facebook advertising. Ideally, they’d allow brands to use AI to address customer needs and ask routine questions. But things don’t appear to be turning out well for chatbots–and until the machine learning used to power them is improved, you should put your ad dollars into other tactics.
That doesn’t mean brands should abandon Facebook as a social channel for discourse. Instead, staff your Facebook page with someone who can field questions and requests in real time: not only can you learn from the requests your brand receives, it’s a low-cost way to engage customers and get valuable feedback.
Draw Your Customer Bullseye
Most social channels provide ways for marketers to build audiences for ads and posts. Target audience building doesn’t just give you better odds at finding the right customers–it also helps you track which messages are best received by various types of prospects and customers. And by narrowing your field of targets, you’ll be able to spend less money on better leads.
Facebook’s algorithms may change throughout the year, which makes success on Facebook a moving target. But marketers who can devote time to monitoring ad performance and talking directly to customers can grow their audiences with Facebook.
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