So as you may know Facebook recently released the news that it was going to be shaking up things a bit for businesses. Rather than your business page reach being shown to 16% of your fan base, that number is going to drop significantly further to 1 – 3%. We are, however, all welcome to purchase advertising to reach the eyeballs of our own fans. Is this irritating to the businesses who developed an avid fan base on Facebook? Sure. Should we be shocked? No. Should we all abandon ship now? I think not yet.
It should not be such a surprise that Facebook is coming out with a Pay to Play Model. Just like I’ve said before with Google, these companies are in the business to make money. Plus they can do anything they want, really. Charging businesses advertising to be in front of their own fans is definitely a revenue stream that they have control over. They gave it to us free for a while, now it’s not free. Such is the model for many online tools and software. And in case we have all forgot the dotcom era, these businesses can’t survive on hype alone.
For its customers, Facebook is a fun way to connect. For businesses, it’s a marketing tool, and we simply have to redefine how we use this tool. So despite the letters of complaint to Facebook, I think we can be pretty confident the new Facebook set up is here to stay and it reminds us of a few things about our strategic online marketing efforts.
#1: Facebook Advertising Still Rocks. Ok, so now you have to pay for it and that hurts a bit. But it’s also an opportunity to use the amazingly highly targeted advertising that Facebook offers. Many online advertising consultants, including myself, love the Facebook advertising because it allows you to do things like easily run split test ads, target your messages to very specific audience, and find other customers based on your already existing list of customers. Plus, it is priced well. Sure, there may be many reasons businesses abandon ship, but consumers have no reason to leave. In fact, this would be a great time to run some ads. It is possible that ad pricing will go up, so go out and run some focused ads now to let your customers you are still in the game.
#2: Your online marketing (and social media) should be diversified. Just like an investment portfolio, you should not have all your eggs in one basket. You should have one content marketing plan with a couple of messages and some various products or services to promote and you should push those messages out through several channels: newsletter, social media channels, blog, website, and your offline marketing. Hopefully you already had that set up before Facebook’s announcement, but if you didn’t you will want to spend some of your Facebook advertising dollars to cross promote so that you connect with your people in other places besides Facebook.
#3: Your email list are the only names you own. It’s been said time and time again but here is when it’s important. Your email list is an asset for your business and the people on it were your “fans” before fans was even a catchy social marketing term. It’s a great time to dust off the old email newsletter and reconnect with those folks. Newsletters do all the things that social media does – you can run a contest, offer useful tips, promote a product, recognize customers, include great images – and best of all you know that you will hit 100% or your audience, not 16%, and not 3%.
Facebook, as well as the other social media tools out there, probably have some more tricks up their sleeves. It’s their job to grow their business and be profitable. It’s our jobs to have a smart, solid strategy for our marketing that can weather the internet changes.