The Future Of Facebook And Why You Need A Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

You Should Never Put All Of Your Marketing Eggs In One Basket

Facebook social media marketingClearly, choppy waters are ahead for the largest social media marketing company on the planet. But I’m not concerned about their security or privacy issues  I’m much more concerned about the flattening out of user growth.

As an article on Recode reportsFacebook has 185 million users for the U.S. and Canada, which is the same as it had last quarter. That’s four straight quarters it’s been stuck around 185 million users. It also lost users in Europe for the first time. Facebook reported 279 million daily active users in Europe in the second quarter, down from 282 million users in the first quarter.

Even more concerning is the actual user behavior. It doesn’t take a research analyst to see that Facebooks entire value proposition might be in jeopardy.

Ask any 20- to 25-year-old if they use Facebook and how much they use Facebook, and you’ll learn everything you need to know — they don’t use it much at all.

That’s the big problem for Facebook. But its an even bigger problem for people relying on advertising as their only marketing tactic or as a big part of their overall marketing strategy.

Here’s why you should always be looking at a multi-channel or multi-tactic approach to strategically designing your marketing activities.

Your Prospects Need To Hear And See You In Multiple Places

Not all ads are created equally. Some of your targeted prospects might place higher value on an AdWords or LinkedIn sponsored update over a Facebook ad.

Some of these channels might be more effective in serving up the ads when compared to each other.

The key is marketing that performs at a high level is almost always multi-channel, meaning prospects see your content in a variety of places over a long period of time.

Marketers are constantly wanting to do attribution (where did you hear about us?). But good marketing makes attribution challenging.

When presented with a drop-down and all of the options apply, which ones do prospects select? Does it matter?

This concept to first touch attribution or last touch attribution is a big discussion in the marketing community. This article on Bizable covers all 11 attribution models. Yes, there are 11 ways to do attribution.

Remember, marketers make everything more complicated, but we think solid marketing makes attribution challenging and that the best marketing includes multiple touches across multiple channels.

You Need To Constantly Test Different Channels And Tactics

You may have noticed, but new marketing tactics and channels are introduced regularly these days.

Chat is now a new one, and video is still newish, with only a handful of progressive companies doing video well. Advocacy marketing is a big part of our marketing effort these days, and even influencer marketing (which has been around for a while) is still not something we see regularly in prospect program reviews.

This influx of new tools and techniques is not going to stop or slow down.

The more you innovate your marketing, and the earlier you adopt or try some new marketing tactic, the better your lead generation efforts and the further you’ll be ahead of your competition.

You should be very deliberate about uncovering new tactics, testing new tactics, measuring the performance and working to make these work as a way to supplement and continue to increase your lead gen, sales opportunities and new customer growth from marketing efforts.

It's Risky To Rely On Only One Channel Or Tactic

Company leaders are always trying to press the easy button and simplify marketing.

Today’s marketing is highly complex. The desire to have one tactic that becomes the silver bullet is a highly sought-after effort. However, marketing doesn’t work like that.

Having one tactic be the primary lead generation tool is not a win, it’s a risk.

If all of your eggs are in Facebook, you run the risk of:

  • Increased advertising costs
  • Increasing competition for an audience
  • Flat or shrinking audiences and reduced interaction with the platform, which could increase the bid amount of the same ads you’re paying for now
  • An entire demographic opting out of the platform
  • The government adding regulations on the platform
  • Executive leadership changes that pivots the company in a less marketing-friendly direction

You need to mitigate these risks, even if the chance of any of them coming true is slight.

There are too many equally effective options and too many options in general for an ALL-IN strategy around one particular type of marketing on any one platform.

Your Goal Should Be A Multi-Touch, Multi-Channel Orchestrated Strategy

No one ever said marketing was easy. Today, it is not easy at all, especially when you aspire to do it correctly. By correctly we mean multi-touch, multi-channel and in a strategically orchestrated and experiential manner.

The best marketing is marketing that produces an experience. That often starts with people talking about your company, saying positive things and posting those comments online. That’s where advocacy comes into play.

Those reviews and comments typically send people to your website, where that experience has to be remarkable and filled with educational content.

For people not asking about you or accidentally running into someone talking about you, proactive advertising is an option. When done well, it disrupts a prospects status quo and speaks to her with a compelling emotional message, also driving them to your website.

In just two buyer journey stages, pre-awareness and awareness, we’ve already identified a number of touches. Every single touch the rest of the way should be strategically architected to deliver an experience.

Yes, its complicated and in some cases expensive, but when you create the multi-touch experience that provides real value, you’ll find the investment in marketing is highly efficient and effective at producing a steady stream of high-qualified leads, a high percentage of sales opportunities and a shorter sales cycle with a much higher close rate.

That is the definition of efficiency and ROI from marketing.

We’re Recommending Clients Consider Moving Some Social Media Money To Other Tactics

Just like your investment advisor reads the market and provides you with guidance on how to invest to achieve your long-term financial goals, we provide similar guidance to clients.

We help them decide where to invest their marketing and sales money to drive the highest returns.

Lately, we’ve been guiding our clients toward reducing (not eliminating) their spend on social in exchange for a greater investment in website experience, video and advocacy marketing investments.

This is always (and will continue to be) driven by results. If we can’t get big lift from an investment in a certain area, we start looking for other areas.

Let’s take video vs. social media right now. We can use video in the sales process, on the web, in email marketing, on social platforms and in conversion optimization efforts like landing page optimization. That investment in video makes instant connections with both prospects and customers, and it also drives conversions.

In addition, it accelerates the sales process, leading to more sales opportunities, higher quality leads and more new customers. Big impact, reasonable effort.

Now look at social. You have to continue to invest at levels dictated to by the social platforms. You have very low conversion rates and, in some cases, limited lead quality. Depending on your industry, you could be looking at click-through rates of less than .5%.

Click here to see a great WordStream report on Facebook advertising benchmark data. Despite the industry and platform performance data, I think the chances of these numbers increasing are likely low, and the chances of these decreasing is likely high.

What is already a weak set of performance numbers will likely be even weaker in the future. You can find better places to invest your marketing money that will produce much stronger results.

Any one tactic or any one channel is likely to be problematic. Marketing is very much a one plus one equals three exercise.

If in the case of Facebook you’re running multiple campaigns on multiple platforms, including some non-social ones, then any changes to Facebook are not going to materially impact your program's performance.

But if all you have going is a heavy dose of Facebook advertising, then declining usership, increased privacy controls, an increased cost of ads, adjustments to their advertising algorithm and a demographic shift in user profiles could have a negative impact on your lead generation machine.

If you’re saying, 187 million people is still a lot of people and the advertising opportunity still exists, that’s all true.

But for how long? And is this a growing market or a declining market? Is it going to be less expensive or more expensive going forward? And is it going to be easier or harder to connect with prospects?

All of the signs are pointing in the wrong direction for Facebook.

Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!

Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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