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4 questions to ask before dumping Facebook

As Facebook makes yet more changes to how information is shared and made available on news feeds, we all debate: is Facebook still worth it for my business? In a phenomenon dubbed “reachpocolypse” by tech bloggers and social media commentators, it seems that the days of free traffic are long behind us and “pay to play” is here to stay.

Many businesses have quit posting on Facebook, citing the huge drop in organic traffic and the trend of teens moving away from Facebook. They often state “since Facebook is not showing our updates to our fans, we are moving to [insert social media platform here], please join us there.” While their reasoning is valid, is it enough for your business to leave?

Before jumping ship, here are four areas to assess related to your Facebook strategy:

1. Where does your customer base really hang out?

Let’s start out with some facts.

  • Twitter has 271 million active users, 30 percent of which are online adults aged 18 to 29, 18 percent aged 30 to 49 and 12 percent aged over 50, according to Statista and Pew Research Internet Project.
  • Google Plus has 540 million active users. The average age of users is 28, and 67 percent are male, according to TheNextWeb and Agile Impact.
  • Instagram has 200 million active users, of which 67 percent are aged 18 to 34, according to MediaBistro and Yahoo.
  • Facebook has 1.3 billion active users, of which 41.4 percent (the largest group) are aged 35 to 54, according to Statista and iStrategyLabs.

If your target market is largely teenagers, Facebook might not be your No. 1 choice. To make the most of social media demographic market research, you must know exactly what your customer “avatar” looks like to find the best platform match. Despite the fact that businesses may be having a harder time attracting organic traffic, Facebook users aren't leaving. If you leave, you are likely doing your competitors a favor.

2. Are you achieving metrics that matter?

Facebook remains one of the cheapest advertising methods to receive highly targeted clicks. Traditional advertising methods take a scatter-gun approach where anyone and everyone is served up your advertising, whereas Facebook targets the ideal customer demographic.

To figure out the right metric to measure Facebook engagement, you must first consider your social media goal, whether it's reach, recognition or sales. Ensure that your business is clear on those goals, so there is something concrete to measure against. If your results show that you are achieving reasonable results, perhaps you don’t want to fix what isn’t broken.

3. Can your business engage better on Facebook?

In times of limited organic reach, average is not going to cut it — brands must be innovative and create highly appealing and shareable content. A great example is Jamie Oliver’s “Drinks Tube” and Cocktail Request Week, which involved Jamie creating unique cocktail recipes inspired by user comments with the #CocktailRequest hashtag. The campaign also combined social media with the physical world by setting up a pop-up bar in London to film the cocktails being made and to encourage fans to drop by.

4. Who else will promote your content?

To increase the visibility of content on Facebook, encourage employees and fans to share posts and videos (caution: it would be very bad form to “require” your employees to do this on their personal accounts).

Given the volume of active users and brand success stories, Facebook remains a valid platform for business. It's just about finding the best way to make it work for your company.

Image via Can Stock Photo

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