Is it time to abandon Facebook? In short, not quite. However if you plan on relying on it as the key driver of your social media growth beyond 2014, you may want to rethink your strategy.
There are a few reasons why Facebook is fading in the eyes of many marketers – some of which have been brought on by the social network itself and some of which have been brought on by the competition.
Newsfeed Changes Result in Decreased Brand Engagement
Facebook is always making changes to the way it delivers content with the goal of improving the experience for the end user and increasing activity levels. Many of these changes have had a negative impact on brands.
Engagement levels for brands have been steadily decreasing- especially in the past six months. With the current algorithm, it is much less likely that your target audience will see your content organically than it was in 2013. Engagement levels are so low that it is difficult to obtain the reach you used to be able to obtain without running an ad campaign.
It’s not just marketers that have been feeling the pain. Many users have been petitioning the changes in various ways. This post went viral on Facebook recently which sums things up nicely and is a perfect transition to point number two:
Young People Are Fleeing. Other Age Groups to Follow?
Facebook is still the most popular and widely used social media site but interest is waning within important age groups and I expect other age groups to follow suit.
In the past three years, a reported 11 million young people (and counting) have fled Facebook.
In the world of social media, young people tend to be early adaptors – picking up new social sites and apps before the masses. Eventually, the rest of the world catches on and the usage of those channels catches on fire. I would expect that trend to continue. As more and more current Facebook users across all generations begin to pick up and become heavy users of sites like Instagram and Pinterest, activity on Facebook will begin to decline within other demographics as well.
One reason for this decline in activity is the belief that ‘less is more’. Whether we’re engaging with websites or using social media, as users, we have been shifting to that mindset.
Facebook tries to be everything to everyone with games and other apps, events, timelines, chatting, photo galleries and much more which can become an overwhelming hassle for users.
Social media sites that focus on one or two core functions or purpose- such as Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest-are thriving.
What it Means for Marketers
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is still a viable marketing tool and it will be for years to come. However, unless they make transformative changes to their platform in the near future its best days may be behind it.
The effort and energy you put behind Facebook as it relates to other social channels in the coming months and years should depend on the makeup of your target audience.
The best thing you can do (if you haven’t already) is begin to diversify where it makes sense. Use research to determine which channels may add the most value. In doing so, look into the current user base of the channels and analyze trends to look ahead as best you can.
Don’t play it safe either. As long as you have an overarching content strategy driving your social media presence, you can have success with many different channels.
About Bret Ludlow
Bret Ludlow is the Director of Digital Marketing at Liquid. He oversees the strategic direction of the Digital Marketing Department focusing on growth strategies, innovation and solution development. Bret received his degree from the Fox School of Business at Temple University. He plays an active role in the Lehigh Valley Community as the Immediate Past President of the Young Professionals Council for the Chamber of Commerce.