You can still reach your fans despite Facebook's Promoted Posts.
Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, created quite a wave recently when he jumped into social media waters, crying “shark” at Facebook's Promoted Posts. He really stirred things up with this tweet:
Marketers have been abuzz about Facebook's Promoted Posts, the general sentiment being that Facebook is “double-dipping” by gaining advertising dollars first from acquiring users through ads and now, by charging to promote posts so they are more likely to bypass Facebook's Edgerank algorithm to actually be seen by fans. Marketers are upset at how much this will cost them, and worried that Facebook marketing really isn't worth the money and effort because of the Edgerank hurdle when connecting with fans though the News Feed.
Wait. One. Minute.
We'd like to take a moment to clear the air a little bit. Since when has every fan seen everything a brand posts on Facebook? That's highly unlikely to have ever happened. The truth is that you can still reach your fans – for free even – with highly engaging content. It might add weight in Edgerank if you pay to promote a post, but if you're creating content that is relevant and engaging for your target audience, you will not need to rely on promoting your posts. Facebook has always catered content to the user. If your content is not relevant and fans don't interact with it, of course it will be seen by fewer people because it will not resonate with them. Marketers should be striving to share relevant content that will increase reach organically, without relying on a lot of tricks and tools. Is Promoted Posts a good way to turbo-launch your great content? Yes, however, if your marketing is on target, you shouldn't need to. No doubt it's a challenge, but it's our job.
We've established that Facebook's advertising rates are actually a sign of a healthy, normal functioning media organization. So, what's all the fuss about Edgerank? Is it really a barrier for the growth and engagement of a Page on Facebook? And it seems the question on everyone's mind is: can I only reach my fans through Promoted Posts? Facebook answered that question for us:
“Nothing has changed about how your posts are shared with the people who like your Page. A lot of activity happens on Facebook and most people only see some of it in their news feeds. They may miss things when they’re not on Facebook, or they may have a lot of friends and Pages, which results in too much activity to show all of it in their news feed. If you don’t promote your post, many of the people connected to your Page will still see it. However, by promoting a post, you’re increasing its potential reach so an even larger percentage of your Page audience and the friends of those interacting with your post will see it.”
The bottom line is that Facebook is charging less than most media to reach a really large audience. Paying to for a Promoted Post simply increases the weight of the post in the News Feed, making it more likely to be seen than the average post. This becomes essential as the content in the News Feed has exponentially increased, engaging posts with more “weight”, either through creative content or through promotion by Facebook, are more likely to cut through the noise and clutter and be noticed by fans. The only sure way you will get a fan to see all of your posts is to encourage them to frequent your Page. The best way to grow your fan base is still organically through highly engaging, sharable content.