If you're still a believer in the fantasy of social media marketing on Facebook, this chart may change your mind. It comes from Jay Baer at Convince&Convert.
While it is far from definitive, it offers us a microcosm of what is going on in social media marketing. And it suggests that the whole "conversational" theory of marketing is a cruel joke.
What the chart shows is that over a 5 month period, from October 2014 to February 2015, as Facebook's organic reach dropped dramatically, its share price increased dramatically.
1. Five months is a short period for drawing big conclusions.
2. Share price is a better indicator of market sentiment than it is of business success.
Having said that, if the chart is accurate, it strongly suggests that Facebook's success as a marketing tool is totally related to paid advertising and not at all related to "conversations about brands."
The first thing we need to understand is the meaning of "organic reach." It is the number of people who were served a post free. As you can see, according to Baer, in that 5 month period the average number of a brand's followers who were shown one of the brand's posts on Facebook dropped by half, from 12% to 6%.
Also according to Baer, that number is now often 1%. He goes on to say...
"...Facebook encouraged businesses to build and reach audiences for “free” on their platform (until that free ride ended)... Facebook has still been able to pull off the greatest Gillette scam ever (you give away the razor, and then sell the blades)."Social media promised us "conversations" among our followers, and now only 1% of our followers are even seeing our Facebook posts.
During the same time period Facebook's share price rose almost 40%. Why? Because while clueless marketers still believe in the fantasy of Facebook social "engagement," Facebook has gone all-in on good, old-fashioned paid advertising.
By cutting organic reach to almost zero, they are not even pretending to be a social media marketing entity.
Is their conversion from a social medium to a paid advertising medium a good thing for marketers? Not according to the London School of Marketing which released a white paper this week that called marketing on Facebook "a lost cause."
According a piece on the Global Marketing Alliance website...
"...experts claim Facebook advertising is no longer a cost-effective option for marketers who are seeking to build new audiences or attract new customers...Facebook advertising has changed. For some, it has shifted from being every marketer’s dream to, quite frankly, a lost cause. "Social media marketing is useful for ultra-high-interest products (movies, bands, celebrities) and some small brands in small categories.
For the rest of us -- as we have been saying here for years -- the idea that consumers are in love with our brands and want to have conversations or social interactions about our brands online is an infantile delusion.
The billion or so people engaged in social media want to engage with each other. Not ads, not brands, not you, not me.
Thanks to Plannersphere20 and Alistair MacLenan.
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