Marketers have been flocking to Facebook as a means to create direct relationships with their customers. This has been an excellent means to break down the barriers between customers and brands, but recently have been under much scrutiny due to the inability for marketers to directly engage with fans.
The following infographic illustrates this problem.
The stats are shocking. Under 1% of fans engage on brand pages. Facebook even acknowledges that the newsfeed only reaches 16% of fans, but recent newsfeed changes in September 2012 have been noted to reduce newsfeed impressions even more (which has been validated in studies I have done for clients, most achieving in the range of 5 - 10%).
The reality is that in this channel there is no 'loyalty loop'. It is much more like a galaxy, with fans constantly spinning off into space with no gravitational force to pull them back to your content.
The question for marketers: Why invest in this channel if I continually need to reinvest?
I still see Facebook as one of the most viable channels for driving engagement at a very targeted level. Marketers can do some very simple (or complex) things to help create a smart social strategy.
1. Use Facebook as a Key Component to CRM
Build programs that are designed for customers to give you access to their Facebook data, creating some sort of value exchange for this information (loyalty programs, exclusive content, etc).
2. Mine Data and Build Custom Audiences
Use the data you are getting access to and build discreet segments. Tie this into your existing database if you can understand the type of customer that they are.
3. Deploy Media
Use custom audiences to upload your segments and experiment with messaging. Target these fans with specific messages, using tactics like 'dark posts' to publish to micro-segments. Develop the most relevant messages to the right audiences.