Innovation

What to Do Now That Facebook is No Longer Free

Connect with your customers via the social media giant now costs money. Here's how to make the most of it

Written by Russ Martin for Marketing Magazine

Organic reach on Facebook is fast becoming a thing of the past. After last year’s South by Southwest, Marketing took a deep dive into the world of paid social media to see how marketers were coping with the reality of Facebook and other social networks as a pay to play space.

On Sunday, Jordan Kretchmer, founder and CEO of LiveFyre tackled the same topic at the conference and offered marketers tips on how to succeed on social despite the death of organic reach.

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Kretchmer spoke one-on-one with Marketing€˜s Russ Martin about who should run social media, how to add social elements to owned sites and why paid media is an inescapable must for Facebook.

Here are five tips for dealing with the death of organic reach.

PAID MEDIA IS THE REALITY ON FACEBOOK

Many marketers still see social as an organic platform they can use without spending media dollars. That’s no longer the case with Facebook, Kretchmer said.

With the volume of content on Facebook, it was no surprise when the social network started filtering posts and showing only the most popular content. That move provided the network a chance to further monetize, charging brands for the chance to be seen on the newsfeed €“ whether they have large Facebook fan bases or not.

That reality means marketers still looking at Facebook as an organic channel must rethink their strategy. “Facebook is a paid platform and it has to be treated like that. You have to hire and strategize around that,” Kretchmer said.

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MEDIA BUYERS SHOULD MANAGE FACEBOOK

Given the need for a paid Facebook strategy, Kretchmer thinks the best person to manage a brand’s Facebook presence is a media buyer, not a community manager or social strategist.

While those roles are still necessary for creating content and communicating directly with customers, Kretchmer said their performance has usually been judged on their ability to grow follower and fan counts €“ a measure that no longer guarantees posts will be seen.

“The smarter brands, the quicker brands, are starting to deploy [community managers] to manage community on owned and operated sites,” he said. “A media buyer is the one who should be actually buying the media.”

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DRIVE CONSUMERS OFF FACEBOOK

What brands should be doing with their social media dollars, Kretchmer said, is driving customers to their owned microsites, newsletters and apps. In those owned environments, the brand can speak to the customer on an ongoing basis, without having to shell out more media dollars.

“If you’re paying again anyways and a like doesn’t actually get you organic reach into the audience, why are you driving people to a Facebook fan page?” he asked. “Just drive people to owned and operated using Facebook’s amazing paid platform.”

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CONSUMERS WHO CONNECT WITH YOU OFF SOCIAL ARE WORTH MORE

Kretchmer also posited that consumers who make the effort to connect with a brand off social media are more likely to become loyal, long-term customers.

“Would you rather have 100,000 people registered on your site for an email campaign, or 1 million Facebook fans?” he asks. “The end result is that the 100,000 users who cared about you enough to come to your site, register and participate with you in some way, you can re-connect with them forever.

“If you want to get to that same 100,000 people on Facebook, you have to pay for it every time.”

MORE LOYALTY: How to Keep Customers Coming Back »

SOCIALIZE YOUR OWN SITES

In the face of declining reach, Kretchmer recommended brands add social elements to their own sites, making them into places where people can interact with each other. For example, Coca-Cola uses its sites to showcase the concerts it sponsors by asking consumers to upload their photos and posts from the events to its site.

Likewise, Dell created DellWorld.com to showcase content from its conference in Austin, Texas. The site functions like a social forum for the event, giving attendees the chance to share their experience on the owned site, and consumers at home a chance to discuss the big topics of the conference online if they can’t be there in person.

Brands can socialize their apps, too, either by pulling in social content, or by adding functions that let consumers post within the app and speak to each other. He pointed to network second screen apps, like those by Showtime and BravoTV, which include polls and social content. Likewise, The Kentucky Derby, a client of LiveFyre’s, has a mobile app promoting the live event that lets people upload content about their favourite horse and polls showing which horses they are betting on.

This article originally appeared at Marketing Magazine.

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com