By Jeremy Burnel, marketing and new business manager at Beeliked
Marketers in travel are all set to put in an even harder shift in 2015 when it comes to marketing on Facebook, after a blog post by the company explained its intentions for the upcoming year.
It’s news that all those in social media marketing will have quivered at, although may have ultimately been expecting.
Facebook says the change came after it asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their news feeds, with many responding that they want to see less promotional content.
“Beginning in January 2015, people will see less … promotional content in their news feeds,” reads the post. “As we’ve said before, the news feed is already a competitive place – as more people and pages are posting content, competition to appear in news feed has increased.
“All of this means that pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”
It also means the end of an extremely well-liked tactic employed by all marketers on Facebook – the Fan Gate.
“You must not incentivise people to use social plugins or to like a page,” continues the blog post. “This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a page.
“It remains acceptable to incentivise people to login to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s page.”
The important thing here – which ultimately is the only good morsel to come out of this news – is that a Facebook ‘like’ will finally be deemed worthless as a social media performance indicator.
What does this mean for travel marketers?
Email is more important than ever
Owning a direct email relationship with an individual is worth 50 times more than having them “like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or subscribe to you on YouTube.
Social networks can change every few years, but email addresses are usually for life. The key is ensuring that your data is up to date and that you can segment your mailing lists according to an individual’s demographics and purchase intent.
Create original engaging content to capture data
In the old days of social media marketing it all seemed too easy. Simply get someone to ‘like’ your page or ‘follow’ you on Twitter and, hey presto, you immediately had lots of clicks and sales.
To get noticed nowadays, companies must once again learn the art of conversation.
As we come into the party season, we’ll all practise the ancient art of “small talk” with relations and colleagues we’ve previously only had to say hello to at the water cooler.
Striking up conversations with customers is really no different from small talk; ask a well-placed question, show something that will spark curiosity or hand them a delicious canapé – hopefully you get the picture.
The rule is, be interesting and interested.
The curious case of paying for views
Facebook’s relentless pursuit of advertising revenue means that travel companies are being forced to pay every time they post content to their page, simply to ensure their posts are seen by their thousands and sometimes millions of fans.
Contrast this to YouTube, where content creators are paid for every play their content receives.
With click-through accelerating on other more media-led social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube & SnapChat, Facebook may be overplaying their hand. will companies call their bluff and move on?
Ultimately, there is likely to be a rebound effect in the short term as marketers invest less time and more money into Facebook-only marketing initiatives and concentrate more on how to build their own permission marketing data and drive more traffic to their websites.
At BeeLiked, when one of our travel clients comes to us wanting to know the best way of launching a digital campaign to engage their audience, we always ask them what their ultimate goal is and how they will measure its success.
Sometimes it is simply creating a high level of brand awareness, while other times success is tied directly to the volume of bookings a campaign can generate.