You spent the last 5 years meticulously growing your Facebook pages’ likes and reach, enjoying endless supposedly free traffic from the Web’s biggest social network only to see it disappear overnight. Ouch.
When Zuckerberg told congress “Senator, we run ads” he wasn’t joking, with many publishers and brands seeing their organic reach plummet by 40% or more in 2018, continuing a trend that began many years back.
So if you’re looking for innovative and free ways to acquire new users to your website or sales page now that the Facebook traffic train is on a time out, here’s some platforms and ideas you need to start experimenting with today:
1. Facebook Groups
There are still ways to generate organic traffic from Facebook and one of them is through Facebook groups. Themed around topics of interest, these are groups you can both create and participate in, many with 100,000s of members.
Members of the groups can post to them and if approved, the post will generate a notification or be seen in the feed of a large number members. The right post can generate higher click through rates and more conversations than you’d see on your own page posts.
However, for the best results you will need to invest time, money and resources into the group you create or engage in. You need to remember that these are communities, not places to broadcast into it.
2. Instagram Stories
One major US Gen Z publisher privately told me that teasing new posts on Instagram Stories and encouraging users to ‘swipe up’ to read them was generating very high click through rates to their breaking news stories.
This was especially effective when using visual posts and headline techniques like the knowledge gap to compel followers to click through.
If this isn’t available to you, you can update the URL in your account’s bio to your latest post, and then direct users to click that in your stories and posts.
3. Messenger Bots
This is killer.
Remember when email had open rates of more than 60% and people routinely clicked on your call to actions? Those days are long gone – unless your platform is bots, where users consistently open messages over 70% of the time, and which see click through rates of 20% plus.
Setting up a basic bot is pretty simple using free services like Chatfuel or Manychat. Users can ‘subscribe’ to regular news updates from your brand and you can them send them broadcasts or sequences of content. Advanced users can also explore functionality like interactive games, AI for conversations, and storing and utilising users’ information.
This is a big opportunity to directly reach users while competition is limited and the platforms are in their infancy. Expect increasing competition and functional limitations as the platforms mature.
Yes, average email open are click through rates are trending lower, but a well executed email strategy is now essential to any B2C company as email is one of the only sources of acquisition that is fully under your control and unlikely to be impacted by major platform changes.
There is a reason that major publisher like BuzzFeed and The Guardian are now heavily promoting their email lists, with a focus on niche topics, unique formats and distinct delivery schedules to ensure higher relevancy and therefore better open and click through rates.
If you haven’t looked at your email acquisition and publishing strategy in a while, now is the time review it.
As pictured, Maximum Pop! now collects email addresses for a Daily Quizzes Email and is adding 100 new subscribers a day
5. Organic Search
Parse.ly recently reported that Google Search is driving 45% of traffic to its publishers, while Facebook is driving 35%.
At Maximum Pop! we mechanised our approach to writing for organic search. Rather than optimise every article, we look at the articles that are performing well in organic search and focus on repeating that success.
This led to the creation of two page types:
- Directory pages that reworked existing articles into SEO-optimised landing pages.
- And directories. Based on the success of Snapchat-related articles, we created a Snapchat Directory that individually listed the Snapchat usernames of 6,000+ pop stars and optimised it to drive traffic from search: https://snapchat.maximumpop.co.uk
However you approach it, optimising articles for search needs to be back on your to-do list today.
6. Browser notifications
In terms of results vs effort, the implementation of browser notifications to drive repeat traffic to your website is a no-brainer. Visitors opt-in to receiving notifications of new posts which pop-up in the browser and drive them back to your content.
This can be quickly introduced using free services like One Signal whose website is full of Publisher case studies proving their effectiveness.
Do consider that this is a relatively intrusive user experience and not supported by all browsers.
7. Influencer outreach
Influencer outreach as a marketing activity has heavily matured and it’s unlikely that you’ll get much from the major influencers without large budgets and protracted high-level contract negotiations.
However, the opportunity is still massive with influencers with a small but loyal following. In Maximum Pop!’s experiments tasked with generating new bot users, paid influencer posts consistently see a lower cost per acquisition than Facebook paid activity. These can cost as little as £10 a post.
Broadly, Gen Z consistently engage with influencers more deeply than with brands and publishers, so leveraging influencers to build authority and acquire users should be a large part of your marketing mix.
We used influencers to add over 1,000 new users to Text Me 5SOS in one week
Talking points: How has the Facebook algorithm change impacted organic visits to your website? What new techniques are you experimenting with to drive organic reach and traffic? Share a comment below.