After 2018 Controversies, Is Facebook Dead for Brands?
A series of controversies in the past year coupled with algorithm changes has made Facebook an exponentially more challenging landscape for marketers to navigate. But there are still ways to make the platform work for your brand using re-focused content, new tools, and a deeper understanding of your audience.
Facebook faced numerous controversies in 2018. In July, this caused the social platform’s market value to decrease by more than $100 billion, according to a report by The Washington Post. These issues also led to Facebook’s shares plummeting to $132.43 in November, down 40 percent from its peak in July.
Here’s a quick rundown of the 2018 controversies Facebook was associated with:
- January: Changes in Facebook’s algorithm reduced how much content from brands and businesses are shown on a user’s news feed.
- March: News on how Cambridge Analytica gathered data from more than 50 million Facebook users without their consent broke out, leading to Mark Zuckerberg deciding to testify in Congress.
- April: Facebook published its comprehensive community standards as an effort to free its network from harmful content.
- April to October: Several top executives left Facebook with the most notable departures being that of Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, and Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, co-founders of Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012.
- Early September: The Senate Intelligence Committee questioned Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, regarding how Facebook responded to Russia’s interference and the steps the company is taking to prevent exploitation of its services.
- Late September: The social network had a security breach affecting around 50 million users.
Given the series of controversies, one can’t help but wonder—is Facebook dead for brands?
Despite the hurdles, however, data published by Hootsuite in November 2018 revealed that 30% of marketers still think Facebook provides the highest digital ad ROI. The social network also remained the most used platform for B2C (98%) and B2B (89%) companies.
Clearly, the trust is still there. Businesses are not wrong for putting their confidence in the social network. After all, Facebook remains the most popular search term and is the third most visited website in the world.
Coping With Facebook’s Algorithm Changes
Despite these impressive numbers, Facebook is still trying to improve its algorithm. As such, for marketers to be successful in using Facebook for branding, they must learn to adapt and refine their strategies. We, at Grit PH, understand the importance of branding with Facebook.
There are several key techniques you can use to thrive on Facebook:
- Identify clear objectives
- Be content conscious
- Explore options
- Use video
1. Identify Your Objectives for Using the Platform
Review your business plan, particularly in regard to Facebook-related industry forces and trends. See if your brand’s goals are aligned with why you are putting content on Facebook. What is it that you really want to accomplish with the platform? Do you want more user engagement or to turn your seasonal buyers into regular customers?
Figuring out what you want to achieve and identifying the metrics you’ll be basing your brand’s performance on will help you create more relevant and useful content for your audience.
2. Be Content Conscious
Organic reach now comes at a premium, so more than ever, producing quality content is of the essence. Since what you post is now more important than posting, you’ll need to rethink your content strategy and social media style guide to allow for more engaging content.
Establish your brand’s thought leadership with educational or even disruptive content. This will not only drive engagement but will also serve as a firm foundation to drive leads across your other marketing channels.
3. Explore Your Options
Be creative in exploring other ways to maximize your social efforts.
Leveraging Facebook groups, for one, is a good way to build a dedicated community around your brand. You can nurture them with content that focuses on the group’s wants and needs. To help with this, you can ask yourself:
- What information can you provide that the group is currently missing?
- What can the group do with this info that it currently isn’t doing?
- What can you say that your competitors won’t?
Answering these questions will allow you to find which types of content resonate with the Facebook group. Once you identify this content, you can create more of the same content and start promoting.
Similarly, if you find certain types of content aren’t working, move on to a different approach. If you’re lucky, you might even find a prospective social media influencer in the group.
4. Leverage Facebook Videos
According to a recent study by Slidely, 47% of users watch videos on Facebook, surpassing the 41% of users who do so on YouTube. This means that you can still leverage Facebook videos for your brand.
As the graphic shows, the two most-used video platforms are Facebook and Youtube, with Instagram and Twitter significantly behind.
Additionally, you can get higher ROI when using Facebook video ads because as the number of people watching on Facebook increases, the more accurate the targeting will be—a double win for branding.
Remember: Facebook Organic Reach Is NOT Dead
Contrary to popular belief, Facebook organic reach is not dead.
Publishing viral content without having to spend too much is still possible. Having a good understanding of your audience, staying tuned into what’s trending, and being creative with new features like Stories, can still produce results on Facebook.
While organic reach isn’t as easy as it once was, enhanced tools have made creating more captivating content easier. Embracing this new Facebook landscape with these features will allow you to have a leg up on your competitors.
Invest in Facebook Ads
If you don’t want to spend time studying and implementing organic reach strategies, then investing in Facebook Ads will be the best approach for you. All you have to do is create a compelling ad that’s relevant to the target audience of your brand, then pay Facebook to put it in front of the right people.
Facebook ads are cost-efficient too because the ads aren’t only targeted towards the audience that you want to reach. The initial cost of running ads can go as low as $1.
Study Brands That Thrive on Facebook
Many brands have extensive experience advertising on Facebook. They have built a following with engaging content and valuable information. These brands especially demonstrate an impressive Facebook strategy:
LEGO Uses Effective Visuals
LEGO has an active Facebook page that uses dynamic and creative pictures to capture visitors' attention. Below, LEGO posted a picture of two kids using their imagination to picture their LEGO creation as a real unicorn.
The Facebook page of this well-loved toy brand has almost 13 million likes. The company caters to its following by consistently creating videos showcasing its products based on characters from upcoming movies.
Apart from LEGOs based on pop culture characters, the brand also creates videos centered on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas—all of which are popular with both kids and adults.
Starbucks Shares Meaningful Content
With 36 million followers, Starbucks understands the importance of sharing meaningful content to its audience. Recently, Starbucks launched a campaign across its stores to dedicate more resources to tolerance and diversity. The company’s Facebook page demonstrates these efforts:
Facebook does an excellent job of sparking conversations with videos that entice people to share stories. The video screen capped above, for instance, is about Starbucks’ advocacy to champion sign language and deaf culture.
The topic itself is bound to be talked about because aside from being a first for the company, not many companies have done the same thing. The caption is quite compelling as well. As a result, the post has gotten 4,100 comments, 24,141 shares, and 2.2 million views.
Truly, one of the secrets to an engaging post is a well-thought-out campaign.
Uber Uses Multimedia
Uber utilizes multimedia to better capture user interest. Its Facebook page offers colorful videos filled with emotional stories to connect with potential consumers. Below is a post the emphasizes the fun of the holiday season when friends can be together:
Uber’s video content frequently capitalizes on the human appeal while also promoting its service and new features. The company also ramps up the emotional connection by partnering with celebrities and YouTubers to create compelling content.
Facebook Improves Your Marketing Strategy
Considering all these successes, it is clear that Facebook is a valuable branding tool that marketers can use to propel their products and services to achieve their marketing goals. If you are interested in implementing a Facebook marketing strategy, then hire an experienced social media marketing agency to help.
Just keep in mind that the concept of organic reach has changed. The number of people you reach has become less important than targeted content that’s able to drive actions that deliver on the company goals – be it sales, engagement, or growth.