Why 2015 Is Not the Year for Tourism Businesses to Abandon Facebook
I’m sure you’ve seen the stats and the scaremongering. Back in 2011, Facebook marketing guru, Mari Smith, wrote on Social Media Examiner that “some studies show that a whopping 90% of users don’t return to a fan page once they click the like button”.
Last year, there was a Social@Ogilvy study of over 100 brand pages, saying that on average, 6% of fans saw any organic posts and for brands with over 500,000 fans, this number was as low as 2%.
These figures are likely to startle small businesses in particular. Many of us have invested countless hours into building up a Facebook Page … sometimes as a quick and easy (and free) way of getting an online presence. There are still some businesses that only have Facebook Pages – they don’t have their own website.
In November, Facebook announced, following a survey of their users, that they would be changing their News Feed algorithm (again!) and that from this month (January 2015), “Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time”.
Fall significantly? Surely it can’t fall much further than 2-6%? Or can it?
Now before everyone hits the Panic button and jumps ship to other social media networks, here are some things to consider.
What makes a Facebook post “overly promotional”?
Straight from the horse’s mouth, a promotional post is a:
- Post that solely pushes people to buy a product or install an app
- Post that pushes people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Post that reuses the exact same content from ads.
I can understand Facebook users‘ aversion to the first and third points, but I had to put some thought into the second point. I concluded that Facebook no longer wants businesses to post a contest and attempt to promote it organically if they’re just trying to get more fans.
Context to me means being open about the purpose of the competition. For instance, are you running the competition to get an insight into your customers’ pain points for future blog topics and posts or are you trying to grow your list? What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) is very important – Personally, if I think that the Page Owner stands to gain more from my entry than I will (or if I feel that the effort expended to enter outweighs the odds of my winning), then I generally won’t bother.
If you’re saying to yourself: “This doesn’t matter. Most of my posts are not promotional. I only post promotional content occasionally …” then you need to know that Facebook plans to reduce a Page’s overall organic reach for all content over time, not just for special offers. So, avoid words like “Buy”, “Like”, and “Share”.
The picture I’ve painted above seems pretty bleak.
Why should my tourism business maintain a Facebook Page in 2015?
- To discover and empower your Brand Ambassadors – these are the Facebook Fans who LOVE your business and can’t wait to tell the world how wonderful you are … do whatever you have to do offline, before, during and after your customer experiences your product, to get them promoting you from their personal profiles.
- Customer Service and Prospect Engagement – Facebook remains a great place to answer those frequently asked questions pre and post-sale and to participate in meaningful conversations around shared interests. Show your customers that there are real people behind your business.
- Content Marketing – If you haven’t already, start a blog on your tourism website and post links to it on your Facebook page, with an engaging image or video, to drive prospects and customers back to your website. In the words of one of my favourite marketing podcasters, Timbo Reid of Small Business Big Marketing, just “be helpful”.