Are Brands Wasting Time and Money on Facebook and Twitter? It Depends

Susan Frechette

Forrester came out with a report on social relationship strategies that drew some pretty bold conclusions. Brands are wasting time and money on Facebook and Twitter, as recently reported by Fast Company’s Chris Gayomali. In the article, Chris points to a blog post from Forrester’s Nate Elliot who argues that Facebook has finally killed organic reach, and further supports the recommendation to turn away from the network with the fact that “top brands’” Facebook posts only reach about 2% of their fans, with a mere .07% of fans actually interacting with their posts.

When I think about what this means for my clients I wonder, does it tell the full story? And more importantly, does it speak enough to brands as individual entities or does it tease out a general benchmark that’s a better takeaway for what they consider to be a “top brand?”

Let’s do a little digging.

Last week Facebook announced that beginning January 2015 it will serve up less promotional content to its users. That doesn’t mean ads, it means organic content that’s promotional. Basically, posts that clearly borrow ad copy instead of sharing insights, or that ask you to purchase their product instead of delivering value; you’ll see less of them. That fact is fueling much of the “organic search on Facebook is dead” sentiment out there.

But given you were less likely to engage with that kind of content anyway, should you really take that as a reason for your brand to ditch Facebook altogether? The answer could be yes, no or maybe depending on how YOUR fans are engaging with YOUR brand. Industry metrics are great – they remind us to stop and think about our content and engagement strategies and consider ways to enhance them. They bring us a fresh perspective. But you shouldn’t build your digital strategy around them.

What’s the takeaway?

From a content standpoint, if your brand is on Facebook, Twitter or any other channel for that matter, don’t flood your page with promotional posts. Just don’t. With a simple ‘like,’ your fans have given you their attention. Earn their engagement by taking the time to understand why they’re on these networks in the first place.

Last year a Pew Research Center study revealed that one in three Americans get news through Facebook. That’s certainly a big reason why I check my Facebook feed. Well, that and cats, obviously.

So, let’s say you’re a B2B company – do you have a white paper with compelling findings that would provide value to your audience? Don’t create a post that says, “Download our latest white paper!” Instead, tease out the findings, share the compelling data, showcase the “news” and then see for yourself how your audience engages. Are you a B2C company hoping to excite your fans? Don’t just ask them to ‘like’ your post. Instead, share some actionable tips they’ll appreciate

Should you be dedicating time and resources to Facebook? The answer lies with you – and your audience.



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