Over the past year, marketers have been living in a new reality. The days of free, organic reach on social networks have been quickly coming to a close. It was great while it lasted, but many have been warning all along that it’s not wise to build a presence on a platform someone else owns.
Still, it was one of the most effective ways to reach and engage customers and prospects. But according to a white paper published earlier this year by Social@Ogilvy, our models need to change. Over the course of last year, the reach of even the largest pages dwindled from an already dismal 12.05% to an almost non-existent 6.15%. Jay Baer of Convince and Convert even pointed out in hisReachpocalypse post that when charted against Facebook’s growing stock price, it’s impossible not to see the correlation and that this trend is not going to reverse itself.
Social@Ogilvy’s white paper, Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach by Marshall Manson confirms what many marketers have been fearing:
Facebook Zero is a reality now facing every brand and business with a presence on the platform. Action is required, and specific decisions will need to be made with regard to content planning, paid support for social media activities, audience targeting and much more.
Ads are Not the Answer
It’s possible to look at this new reality and just be angry. They got us hooked, then essentially threw up a pay wall between brands and the 1.3 billion users of Facebook. But for marketers, the imperative has not changed: Be where our customers and prospects are. Interact. Build relationships. It’s still of vital importance. But how? Even ads with social recommendations are still interruptions. Facebook seems to be forcing us down a path that users and businesses alike see as a necessary evil. We can do better than that.
Don’t Get Mad. Get a New Perspective.
I’d like to propose we look at this problem from a completely different angle. From the very beginning, we set up pages and built our followings so that we could move away from interruptive ads and truly interact with customers and prospects. We began creating content that we hoped our followers would like and share. We wanted our relationships with our followers to be organic too. We didn’t want our page’s shares to end with us. The goal was for strangers with no connection to our brand to hear about us from friends who recommended our content in hopes that they would begin to build their own relationships with us.
Yes, Facebook is forcing brands down a new path, but there’s a fork in the road. There’s another path that can not only keep us on course, but help us reach even deeper into organic, authentic relationships than we were ever able to before.
The Alternative to Ads – The Next Generation of Syndication Tools
The second path is for marketers with a different, more optimistic vision for the future of organic social sharing. Using the next generation of tools created to syndicate messages, individuals can voluntarily customize and share on their own terms and in their own voice directly to their personal profiles. This means that brands will not only remain in the game, but can become more successful than ever. It’s still possible to achieve the original goals of social media marketing – to maintain what made it so revolutionary in the first place.
Continue to Reach New Audiences through Your Reps’ Profiles
Your company page’s posts aren’t being seen by your followers anymore, but your sales reps can sign up for private access to your social media feeds and content libraries through a simple, streamlined app. When you have an important message to share, post it to the tool and a push notification will be triggered. With a click, your sales reps can easily customize the message to fit their own voice and style, then post it to their personal profiles themselves.
For direct selling organizations, this is a natural evolution of a social selling strategy. Tools like this can help drive communication through employees and partners to increase reach, even in the face of all of the changes going on today. If you’d like to learn more about this type of tool, we’d encourage you to check out Social Partner by PointBurst. We’re proud to be a part of the solution for companies who want to stay in the social media game and truly bank on personal recommendations rather than just ads. Find out more at Pointburst.com/DirectSales.