This is because to reach any significant number of your own fans/followers, you now need to advertise on the platform. An online community which grew explosively based on free, open conversation by its members has suddenly become a “pay-to-play” platform for business.
Typical organic posts from commercial entities, which are not sponsored or “boosted” in any way, are now reaching only a small fraction (only 1%-2%) of their own fans/followers on Facebook. This change has been driven by slow but steady changes in Facebook’s “EdgeRank,” the complex algorithm that controls what content you see in your News Feed.
Only the most engaged fans/followers that have been actively interacting with your content – commenting on or sharing it with their friends – are now likely to see any of your posts. Facebook claims this is due to “Content Shock” and the need to tightly filter the huge volume of content that most fans/followers are potentially exposed to and only deliver that which is most relevant and engaging. However, many experts have also seen aggressive steps by Facebook to monetize the platform and drive value from the huge online community. Wall Street has big expectations.
As a recent article succinctly put it: “Regardless of whether a person has liked your page or not, that audience is owned by Facebook, not you” --Shell Robshaw-Bryan.
The bottom line is clear: 2014 marks the end of Facebook for organic-only publishing
For example; if you have 100,000 fans – which you have invested time, effort and great content to build – you now will need to advertise on Facebook to typically reach any more than a couple of thousand of these “fans.”
Indeed, rumors are circulating that Facebook will take the organic reach of Facebook for commercial entities even lower, and for many posts this may mean ZERO organic reach. Of course, top-performing Facebook posts can improve on this, but typically this means today a reach of 10-20% of your fans/followers at most. The bottom line is clear: 2014 marks the end of Facebook for organic-only publishing and in building a community without a significant investment of paid advertising dollars.
It’s time for every tourism marketer to pause and rethink your approach to Facebook and your wider communication and online strategy. In Part 2 of this blog post we will review six critical takeaways for tourism marketers in these changing times.
*Sources & Additional Resources Listed at the End of Part 2.
**Image of Facebook Cemetery courtesy of NextShark.com