It’s a good question to ask.
Aside from the fact that recent changes to the Facebook algorithm could be responsible for sewing the seeds of discontent as it becomes clear that there are no more free rides in the feeds, it’s important to remember that Facebook is really just a channel like any other-- so it follows that if you post "Meh" content on your channel, no one will pay attention.
There is not denying that content really is king and the old cliché that you must add value in order to be successful in social media rings truer than ever. Sorry to say, but paying Facebook to promote a movie poster that everyone has already seen on the subway is not going to result in ROI, unless we change the meaning of that over-used acronym to Really Obviously Ineffective. In fact, if a film’s Facebook page is little more than a reservoir of blase press mentions, then yes, it is a waste of money to promote it on Facebook, because average consumers simply couldn't care less.
Even a cursory overview of the Facebook pages of this year’s Golden Globe contenders fails to yield up evidence of a creative and inspiring Facebook campaign. Instead, what we find are decent quantitative indicators like relatively high numbers of likes (which of course is what the advertising paid for) and vapid levels of consumer engagement evident in the quality and frequency of comments and shares.
Marketing a film on Facebook is not an easy thing to do. Unlike tv shows, whose temporality, much like Super Bowls and presidential debates, benefit on social media from the simultaneous mass participation of the audience, a film has no such draw. Promoting a film on Facebook with the objective of selling more tickets requires a more creative and long-term approach, one that takes full advantage of the “social” in social media-which of course is earned through the back and forth of engagement. It seems indie films have something to teach the big boys in this regard, as they have no choice but to engage their market and be sensitive to their demands in order to get funded in the first place.
Since everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook, it’s not hard to imagine what kind of content appeals to the average Facebook user-you and I ARE the average Facebook user. And as consumers, we all know that most of the paid advertising we encounter in our news feed we pass right over unless there is a coupon or giveaway attached to it and we happen to be in the market.
When it comes to entertainment offerings, I for one would appreciate content that can be found nowhere else. It doesn’t have to be fancy or slick and in fact, a more informal approach is perfectly appropriate for social media. What kind of behind the scenes antics or “making of” can be caught on video and shared? Are there some great bloopers or out-takes that would be funny or surprising or shocking enough for me to want to share with my friends? What kind of candid moments of my favorite celebrities would I love to come across in my feed?
The bottom line is that if studios have the loot to throw at Facebook marketing, they need to invest some of that in a sound content strategy that is distinct from the creatives that will comprise the broader promotional strategy through traditional avenues like tv, radio, newspaper, etc.
Facebook is a communication tool. If ROI isn’t measuring up to expectations, don’t shoot the messenger-have a look at how meaningful content is or isn’t contributing to the bottom line.