Marketers in Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean have been increasingly turning to social networks Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to start “conversations” and “relationships” with consumers. According to research firm Forrester, they might be wasting their time and money doing so.
“You don’t really have a social relationship with your customers,” analyst Nate Elliott wrote in a new report titled “Social relationship Strategies That Work.”
After years of pushing brands’ reach lower with one hand (and opening marketers’ wallets with the other) Facebook has finally announced the end of organic social marketing on its site.
In a Friday night blog post the social giant warned brands that “Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content [promotional page posts] in their News Feeds,” and admitted that brands that post promotional content “will see a significant decrease in distribution.”
It’s not as if marketers could count on much organic reach or engagement anyway. Ogilvy reported that in February 2014 large brands’ Facebook posts reached just 2% of their fans (a number that was falling by .5% per month). And earlier this year a Forrester study showed that on average, only .07% of top brands’ Facebook fans interact with each of their posts. But Facebook’s latest announcement will certainly make matters worse.
What should marketers do now? Two of the most important things brands can do are:
- Add social relationship tools to your own site. Forrester’s 2015 social predictions emphasize the renewed importance of branded communities, and for good reason. A recent Forrester survey shows that US online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are almost three times as likely to visit your site as to engage you on Facebook. Most companies still don’t offer branded communities — but smart marketers are already finding success building social relationship tools into their own sites. A great way to do this is to create a micro-site for example, Sony Playstation got 4.5 million visits to its social microsite GreatnessAwaits.com; people stayed for 4 minutes per visit, and this effort helped Playstation outsell Xbox by a huge margin. B2B marketers like Analog Devices and Tyler Technologiessuccessfully focus their social efforts on branded communities as well.
- Stop making Facebook the center of your relationship marketing efforts. That same survey shows that US online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are almost twice as likely to sign up for your emails as to interact with you on Facebook. Plus your emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while your Facebook posts get delivered 2% of the time — and no one’s looking over your shoulder telling you what you can and can’t say in your emails. If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to you email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for email every time.
- Start creating branded content. People socialise around great content. The one thing all successful internet/social brands have in common is that they have great branded content. Not that they had a lot of ads. You can start small by creating branded visuals such as infographics, micrographics, videos, case studies and micro-sites. Start telling your story. Start sharing your customer’s stories.
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Portions of this post appeared originally on Forrester