How Brands Can Combat the Facebook Exodus

By Mallorie Rosenbluth

We've all seen the reports and articles: Facebook is passe, people are fatigued and fleeing and there's no way any high school student would be caught dead posting photos at a place where (gasp!) their parents are present. This spells major trouble for brands who have spent the last several years exerting tons of effort - and dollars - growing an audience and making the network an integral part of their marketing strategy. What can they do to combat this mass exodus? Here are a few ideas:

1) Take a cue from TV - Yes, for once television is where we should look for an innovative way to embrace the "if can't beat em, join em" mentality. Instead of ignoring social media and refusing to adapt, television networks have built out robust presences for shows across social platforms (namely Facebook and Twitter), have incorporated hashtags throughout shows and have launched apps, exclusive online content and post-show dialogue prompting users to engage on social sites. So, how can brands take a cue from television when trying to keep their Facebook afloat? It's simple: don't put all your eggs in the Facebook basket AND don't abandon what you built. Look to other sites and emerging networks and consider how your Facebook presence can be stronger with them added to the mix. Launch a campaign on Snapchat, Vine or Instagram and promote the heck out of it to the massive audience you've built on Facebook. Your fans have raised their hand to be part of your Facebook community, tell them where to go next!

2) Give them something they can't resist - It's true, you can't bury your head in the sand and pretend this isn't happening; Facebook isn't the only player in the game and it's definitely not the bright shiny object of the social media world. But for many consumers, it's less about where and more about why. Step outside of the day-to-day post-engaging-content-and-respond-to-people mentality; that's permission to play. Start thinking bigger, better, bolder promotions and campaigns. It's less about where the campaign lives and more about what's in it for the end-user.
3) Explore - Don't be the captain of your company's Facebook ship. You don't have to go down with it. If you see numbers dropping significantly and have read industry data that pertains directly to your target audience that supports the Facebook exodus theories, create a strategy that supports another network. You can be the hero by thinking about what other networks and social opportunities exist. Take risks on networks that are less saturated and where brands can make a splash (often with much less of a financial investment). You can test a variety of networks and approaches, versus being on Facebook where there's much less room for brands to try and fail and try again. Stay tried and true on Facebook, focus on points 1 and 2 above, and be open spearheading the way in other platforms. Your organization might just get noticed for its innovation.
Do you think consumers leaving Facebook is a real threat to marketers? How should brands respond?