Guest opinion: Why you need to revaluate and 'pivot' your Facebook strategy

Zuni's Mike Zeederberg talks about why Facebook is still a vital part of a brand's social media and marketing strategy

“Facebook used to be a space for brands to connect with their followers and fans – now we are an advertising platform.” This was part of the opening address from Stephen Scheeler, Facebook’s head of ecommerce, at a retail marketing conference in May.

His comments confirmed a trend we’ve been seeing for a while. Facebook has been progressively changing its News Feed algorithm to reduce the organic reach of News Feed posts, with average organic reach dropping from 16 per cent in Feb 2012 to around 6.51 per cent in March this year. Facebook is on record as saying it is likely to go as low as 1 to 2 per cent.

There has been significant outrage from brands, and even God is complaining and getting his disciples to remain loyal by suggesting they get notifications.

More recently, Facebook has made further adjustments to the algorithm to discourage unwanted behaviour from brands, punishing likes and share begging. The net result is that it is now extremely difficult for brands to easily and freely access the follower communities they have painstakingly spent time and money building up and reaching organically.

In a blast of ‘unintended consequences’, the new algorithm has landed up annoying Facebook’s user base rather than being seen as a benefit, as evidenced by this petition on Facebook (and its accompanying irony), receiving more than 250,000 likes and 624 ,304 shares.

Overall, Facebook’s moves to quickly commercialise and monetise post-IPO are leading it to change functionality and reach in ways that seem to be frustrating both users and paying customers.

Read more: Suncorp appoints content marketing consultancy Edge to deliver Business Insurance Hub

So should brands pull up stumps, take their bat and ball, and move on? Should we look Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube to create owned communities that can drive earned media? Not at all; that much reach isn’t easily given up. But brands should be rethinking how Facebook is used, and start seeing it as a hybrid paid / earned / owned space with its own unique needs and characteristics.

The key strengths of Facebook are the level and length of engagement users have with it, and therefore the ability for advertisers to target niche groups of people in an ongoing manner. Those groups of people include their own followers, as well as tight segments and ‘look-a-like’ audiences.

While user satisfaction (anecdotally) is decreasing, it is still the 800-pound gorilla of the online space. But rather than seeing it as a channel within the owned media content marketing strategy, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure marketing budget is allocated not just to follower acquisition, but to generate the reach required that drives audience engagement and gets the message out there.

At the same time, Facebook also has unique content requirements in that the best performing ‘ads’ on the social site are those that sit in newsfeeds and have a strong content message, rather than a brand product message. The need to keep creating content for the space therefore remains. It’s how that content is funded and how its performance is measured that is changing.

Read more: AMI former chief Mark Crowe joins Brand Finance Australia as CEO

Facebook plays an important role in reaching both current and prospective customers, and brands need to ensure their media, advertising and content teams have a cohesive strategy and approach to the platform to ensure they get the most out of it.

About the author: Mike Zeederberg is the managing director and joint owner of Zuni and oversees the development and delivery of most client strategic work. He has more than 13 years experience in the interactive marketing industry, both in digital integration and management roles with traditional agencies such as Batey Ads in Singapore, Brann in London, FCB and as Managing Partner of Euro RSCG Interaction in Sydney, as well as leading a digital pureplay agency during his 3 years as MD of Profero Australia.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

5 things marketers need to do to get better in buy in when presenting

Presentations are a marketer’s best friend. They can be a concise, targeted and effective form of communication with the potential to make a real impact on your audience.

Emma Bannister

Founder and CEO, Presentation Studio

How to overcome negative habitual thinking

One of the greatest challenges facing senior leaders today is what’s going on in their own head.

Lisa Stephenson

Author, success coach, consultant

The purpose of purpose

Everyone knows the 4 P’s of marketing: Price, product, promotion and place. There is now a fifth ‘P’ in the marketing mix.

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

clearly someone who's jealous and only comments from the safety of being behind their keyboard

Peter Sibson

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

haters gonna hate

David Bentley

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Social Media is platform where people get connected to each other from the world and share their views and thoughts on any product. Socia...

Tejas Potfode

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

We can't overlook mobile. Each passing day people are on their phones more and more

This Is My South Bay

What the 5G revolution will do to mobile marketing

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in