Your content marketing doesn’t need Facebook

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

For the past 2 years, Facebook has been making huge adjustments to its news feed algorithm and as a result, the reach of most Facebook pages has tumbled dramatically this year. Maybe your Facebook page is amongst those that only reach 1% of their own fans now? A simple click on the “Boost button” allows you to purchase back your reach. Now that’s not how you had imagined content marketing. No problem. These tips will lead your content marketing out of its Facebook dependency.

Crispy Content | Facebook Teaser

Crispy Content | Facebook Teaser

Your company has invested a lot of time and money in its Facebook fanbase. However, the real beauty of Facebook has always been the fact that utilising this social media platform as a marketing tool was (by and large) free. Now the years of abundance are over and done with. Facebook wants to be paid. The shareholders not only expect that the social network is delivering growth, but also that it generates a profit. We can’t really hold that against Facebook. Why shouldn’t the social network get a slice of the commercial cake?

Facebook Organic Reach Chart 2014 by Ogilvy

Whether you like it or not – you’ll have to do something. But what? Use your marketing budget to buy reach? What if Facebook sets organic (and free) visibility to 0% and puts up the price for reach purchases? Here are 4 important tips for your content marketing to survive a Facebook exit without too much damage when push comes to shove.

In content marketing, you must score at the home games

Your own webpage should be at the heart of your content strategy. Facebook is becoming more and more of a publishing platform. The more you invest in Facebook, the less goes towards your own performance – your “owned media”. Depending on the size of your marketing budget, it might make more sense to allocate resources towards your own pages that allow you to interact with your potential target group. Bring your fans into your arena by publishing exciting contributions in your blog or provide some action on your homepage with interactive activities. A lively website encourages visitors to stay a little longer, and to return. If you can work out what it is that draws your fans to your Facebook page, you can apply the same to your own website: the personal contact with your company, the awesome competitions, the feeling of being part of the brand. A keen interest in your webpages creates a huge advantage: Web content that is used regularly is registered by the search engines.

Content Marketing | Coke Zero
Coca Zero brings its fans into its own arena.

With content marketing you can win fans via the search engines

The current Google algorithm updates Panda 4.0 and PayDay Loan 2.0 (read about their impact here) and Hummingbird reward your regular publication of unique content with higher placements in the search engine results lists. Each day, Google handles 12.9 million search queries.

Boost your visibility for search queries – be they individual words or entire phrases – that bring your potential target group to your webpages. The section “content research” in my article “A successful content marketing cycle in 6 steps” helps you find the right key terms.

However, utilising Google’s search result lists to gain fans does not mean excluding social media.

Content marketing through content seeding on various social media channels

So Facebook is the social network with the largest number of users in the world. What good is that to you, if only a single digit percentage of your followers, whom you have fought hard for, see your posts in their stream?

Your content planning and content research have helped you to develop a clear image of your target group. Find out in which social networks your potential fan community hangs out. You’ll soon discover that Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Xing, Pinterest or Slideshare offer plenty of playing fields for your content marketing. They all have their particularities, but they don’t impose reach limits of the scale Facebook has implemented this year. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use various social media channels, rather than becoming dependent on a single network.

Secure your content marketing fans with e-mail marketing

Search engines and social media channels are gatekeepers – or even “goal keepers”. A platform’s algorithm decides who finds your content on the internet and who visits your website. With content marketing, you utilise these channels to place valuable content and make it easy to find. Once your target group arrives on your website, you need to strive for the creation of a direct communication channel. By collecting e-mail addresses, you will gain an audience, without the need for a big detour via third party publishing platforms. Defence, goal keeper and the offside rule are eliminated.

If your business is an online shop or online tool, it’s fairly easy to get your hands on e-mail addresses. Yet, it’s equally possible for sausage stalls, tax advisors, sports clubs or lamp manufacturers to generate addresses. The whole trick is to offer your visitors a worthwhile exchange deal: Data for a valuable benefit. The newsletter offer is a classic. Make sure that the added value of the newsletter subscription is immediately obvious. Alternatively, you might want to offer eBooks for download. How about the best footballer quotes from your own club’s history, or energy-saving tips for your lighting fans?

Content Marketing | Wurst und Haase-Newsletter
The direct line to sausage lovers: The Berlin butcher chain “Wurst und Schinken Haase” sets the pace with its intriguing offer of a voucher in each Friday’s newsletter

The 4 content marketing tips for reducing or terminating your dependency on Facebook in a nutshell:

• Invest in your own web presence, such as blogs to avoid reliance on third party platforms as the interaction arena with your fans.
• Share your content in various social networks and cut yourself loose from Facebook.
• Optimise your content for search queries on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. so that your potential customers are able to find you.
• Use e-mail marketing as a direct line to your audience and bypass the gatekeeper.

Content marketing is a bit like football. The situation on the playing field can change in the blink of an eye and that requires you to be more flexible. Every single week, yet another door opens for engaging in a dialogue with your target group.  A social network can have a short-term impact on your business model or lose users. The more solid the establishment of your own communication options, the less your business is at risk from external changes.

For more information on the individual social networks, e-mail marketing and blogging, browse our content marketing glossary with more than 120 definitions.

Author: Ben Harmanus