For years, the acquisition of a bigger, “better” Facebook page has been a focus of many in the social media marketing realm. There are companies that are dedicated to the task. The reality now (and for a long time, actually) is that fan acquisition for business Facebook pages is such a minor piece of the puzzle that it’s something most businesses should push to the back burner. It’s not that you don’t need them at all, but the success of a Facebook page is determined by reach and fans are only a small part of the equation.
When someone likes a page, they have the potential of seeing your posts. For better or for worse, Facebook has made it challenging for the majority of your fans to actually see your posts on their news feed. They have to really, really like your posts a lot for them to appear on their news feed without help, which causes a chicken and egg conundrum. They have to see your posts to be able to like, share, or comment on them, but they need to like, share, or comment on them before they start seeing them in their news feed, at least organically.
This is where Facebook ads come into play, but there are distinct challenges there as well. Those who discover the reach potential of Facebook ads often make the mistake of promoting the wrong content. It’s not just about posting the “fun” stuff naturally and using Facebook ads to boost the promotional content. That is only effective until the content starts getting negative feedback. Remember, every time someone is presented with the content and chooses not to interact with it, that’s a bad thing.
A common series of events with Facebook ads looks like this:
- A user tries Facebook ads for the first time and their reach explodes for very little money spent.
- The content wasn’t super-viral and while it gets more interactions than most of the page’s content, it doesn’t do well in relation to the people it reached.
- Over time, the Facebook ad budget starts to yield reduced results. Hundreds of thousands reached becomes tens of thousands, then thousands.
- Budgets go up but engagement and reach stay stagnant.
Play the ad game the right way with EdgeRank in mind. That’s an entire other post. For now, let’s get back to reach versus fans.
Here’s an example of an above-average car dealer’s Facebook reach statistics:
In this example, you see that they’ve done a pretty good job of keeping it local. They have a page for their dealership in the Los Angeles area with around 4K fans. They post good, engaging content regularly. Their reach isn’t bad for an organic-only strategy.
Here’s an example of how a properly managed Facebook page should look for a local business. In this case, it’s a car dealership in Waynesville, NC:
The targeting is hyper-localized. They’re getting almost all of their views and engagement from within a 50-mile radius and the vast majority within a 20-mile radius.
They have around 700 fans.
Getting fans is important, but it’s only important in that it helps to expand a page’s reach. It isn’t who likes your page. It’s who sees the posts. The more people you can get to see your posts, the more effective your social media campaigns can be. Fans are part of it. Ads are part of it. Content is part of it. Putting together the exact right mix of the three is one of the biggest keys to success.