Many brands already have a Facebook presence. A respectable number of them even has a substantial number of ‘likes’ (fans, followers, friends). They usually gather these likes by crafting campaigns and luring/forcing consumers to ‘like’ the brand on Facebook.
When you’re a smart marketeer, you’ll be analyzing your Facebook stats (or even more elaborate Google Analytics, Webtrends or other stats) to see how your Facebook page is performing. After some time after your campaigns, you’ll probably see that the number of visitors on your page and the engagement on your page are plummeting , even when your number of ‘likes’ (connected consumers) is growing.
How to solve this?
Many brands either wait for the next campaign boost or flee into Facebook Ads or Facebook Sponsored Stories to get consumers back. Sponsored stories are “(…) stories that are eligible to appear in your News Feed. These show up on the right column of pages on Facebook. The types of stories that can be surfaced include: page likes, page posts, page post likes, check ins, app shares, apps used and games played, and domain stories.” It seems a reasonable investment: a kind of advertorial 2.0, a relevant and non-intrusive way to direct consumers back to your Facebook page.
However, the problem of plummeting numbers of visitors won’t be solved via buying your way to consumer attention.
The root cause is in the fact that Facebook is all about gradual engagement. As long as consumers keep engaging with a brand, that brand will keep turning up in their Facebook News Feed. Why? Because the Facebook algoritm says so. In Facebook-for-dummies-speak: Facebook only serves content relevant for you. So, when you engage often with a friend, that friend’s posts will turn up in your news feed. When you stop engaging with a friend, posts will cease to turn up in your news feed. Same with brands. As long as a consumer keeps interacting with a brand, the brand’s posts will turn up in the news feed.
By implementing this ‘smart’ algoritm, Facebook created a nice little revenue stream for brands that want to keep in touch with consumers.
Brands that fail to engage with their Facebook fans get punished: their posts stop turning up in user news feeds. To solve that, they can buy ads or sponsored stories with Facebook.
Or just spend some time implementing gradual engagement mechanisms.
Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable. Let’s start engaging en make Facebook sponsored stories obsolete.