Rob Anderson, CEO of Brand Hubb, recalls that Facebook was born in 2004, but its ‘newsfeed’ only showed up in 2006, with the like button premiering in 2007. Back then, there was no talk about algorithms because everything was seen in a chronological order, which meant you never missed a post from a friend or a brand you followed if you logged on once a day.

Do you remember the days circa 2013, where you would post about a new product or service to your Facebook audience, and you would receive hundreds of likes and sales? Kind of makes you wish you had taken more time to build an empire a little earlier on in life.

Goodbye chronological order

In 2009, Facebook changed all of that when it introduced a new sorting order for newsfeeds based on each post’s popularity. Every year since then, different algorithms have been introduced, which changed the way users’ feeds displayed and have kept marketers on their toes, as they try to interpret and master the ever-changing rules.

Fast forward to 2020 and the average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.5%. While I am not debating the fact that you can make the algorithms work to your favour by posting at the right times, and posting consistently and posting high-quality content, Facebook will always present a daunting challenge for marketers. 

Paying people to like your page and then paying again when you want to advertise to them does not make much sense to me. What’s more, when they are seeing your brand’s paid for content, have you thought about how it is being displayed; because I guarantee you, those invasive auto play video ads that you cannot skip are only aggravating the viewer. 

Should all businesses have Facebook?

For some brands, having a Facebook page might actually not be worth the effort. Let me elaborate. In 2018, Kellogg’s South Africa stopped selling original Rice Krispies – replacing it with ‘Vanilla Rice Krispies’. The new cereal contained more sugar and less rice. This was met by a huge revolt on social media because no one had ever had a problem with the original Rice Krispies. 

While we could spend some time discussing the importance of doing proper market research and listening to customers, the takeout for me was that Facebook very easily became a platform for consumers to grumble, effectively turning the Kellogg’s marketing team into a 24-hour complaints department. It got so bad at one point that I noticed they slowed posting as frequently, as each post was subject to hundreds of angry emoji faces. 

I know that most brands value Facebook and do see it as a significant sales driver, so while I am not saying close your Facebook page down completely, I am saying that having all your eggs in the Facebook basket, might not really be the brightest idea.

For me, it raises the simple question – why are brands set on using Facebook as their main advertising channel? Is it not frustrating that one must spend a fortune on adverts in the hope that an audience you built organically actually sees your posts? Challenges provide opportunities to diversify by using other marketing tools such as google ads, google shopping, stories ads, Pinterest and my personal favourite – rewards marketing.

Rewards-based marketing

Have you ever considered rewarding your customers for their engagement? By doing so, you drive them to your platform effortlessly without having to rely on cracking an algorithm. A consumer will then actively visit your website to read a press release, watch a new campaign video or to answer a survey and in exchange, they are rewarded with loyalty points that they can use against purchases in your online store. That is a direct conversion, wouldn’t you say?

One of the main benefits of digital rewards is that consumers only have to take part in activities that interest them. There is no spray and pray advertising at play, but rather an opt in marketing technique that is providing solid results for listed brands. 

Other benefits include acquiring new audience leads through referral, new sign ups, repeat purchases and the opportunity to educate consumers on services. By rewarding consumers for engaging with brand content, businesses can drive consumers further down the sales funnel toward purchases. It also helps brands zone in on their best customers and offers something they will genuinely value. 

It is my belief that the rewards-based pull marketing strategy is going to change the face of marketing in 2020, and help move brands away from Facebook-only marketing strategies.

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