Facebook is changing. And I’m not referring to the constant aesthetic changes that all of your friends swear turned them off to it forever – even though they’re back the next day posting their cat pictures. What I am talking about is the way your professional page earns ‘likes’, as well as how often visitors will see your posts.
To be blunt, ‘likes’ don’t pay the bills for Facebook. So they have in turn de-emphasized what they call organic reach; that is, the visitors who have ‘liked’ your page that your posts will reach at no cost to you. Instead Facebook has placed a much greater emphasis on paid advertising.
How big is the change? Precise numbers are hard to come by, but it’s estimated that, on average, only 16% of your fans will now see a given post. Facebook now wants you to pay to get your posts in front of your target eyeballs. Moreover, the ads Facebook wants you to buy are getting more expensive.
Images like this are always popular!
So, what are your options? If you want to continue to rely on free posts, keep in mind that Facebook’s promotion of your posts is based on: 1) affinity (how often homeowners view your profile), 2) weight (posts with videos, images and/or links take precedent over plain text) and 3) time decay (the older a post, the less visible it is). Posts that get more ‘like’s are also more visible, as are posts from people and pages that have been interacted with recently. That means if a homeowner leaves a question on your page, he or she is more likely to see something than a customer who hasn’t looked at your page in months).
So there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that smart posts – posts that are timed well, use strong visuals, and engage homeowners in conversation – will do better than that 16% benchmark. The bad news is that you’ll have to make these posts frequently, and that the visibility of even your best posts will pale in comparison to what you could get with paid advertising.
And it’s only going to get worse, because Facebook has warned that a day will probably come when organic reach will be precisely zero.
Facebook advertising is much better than it once was, as the company has done a good job of cutting out spam messages. But that means paying for ‘likes’ won’t come cheap – as more and more companies establish pages (and do a good job of using them) there’s more and more content competing for a spot on a newsfeed – as many as 1,500 posts at any given time, of which only a fifth will become visible. If you want to make an impact and try to generate home improvement leads through Facebook you need to pay, plain and simple. ‘Likes’ aren’t free, but you’re not just paying for ‘likes’ – a paid ad campaign should try to encourage traffic to your Web site or physical storefront.
If you’re going to advertise on Facebook, make sure you know what you’re doing. That’s not meant as condescension, but rather as a reminder that its methods are constantly changing. Be picky with the way your ads are worded, test them out, use their analytics and other services, and overall just do basically everything you can to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Facebook is still a solid source for home improvement leads, but it’s relying more and more on paid ads and you need to stay cognizant of that.
And if you’re looking for advertising inspiration, check out some good, and some not so good, Facebook ads: