There are many myths circulating online, such as the little green men are about to invade the planet and that the end of the world is happening in 5 days according to the Mayan calendar. There are also many social media myths and that includes those about Facebook marketing.
Facebook with over one billion users “is” the default social network for nearly 50% of the people that use the internet on the planet. No other social media platform comes close to its global user acceptance.
In fact, in the USA and many other English speaking countries it has almost reached saturation point with growth flat-lining or even declining.
It is changing how we communicate. Email is discarded in favor of a private message on Facebook. Forget sending your teenager an email, just “Facebook” them and you have a better chance of them receiving the message as often their email accounts go unchecked or un-monitored for days or weeks.
Facebook has become the private bulletin board for family and friends as updates, holiday, event and party images are shared to the private communities that have formed around social connections and familial relationships.
Talk to a brand about social media marketing and instantly it is a discussion about how do you gain Facebook “likes”, pass the magic 1,000 barrier or build a Facebook app.
Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are like the neglected students at the back of the class with the plaintive cry of ”pick me, pick me”.
Facebook Posting Frenzy
What you may not have noticed is that there is an almost unseemly Facebook posting frenzy happening. People and brands are posting images of dogs, cats and aliens just to get attention..any attention!
Posting interesting content 3-4 times a day that people commented on, liked or shared was enough in the past to keep your updates appearing in the timelines of fans.
This is no longer optimal it seems because Facebook has changed the game. Posts or images that were shared or liked dozens of times are now struggling for visibility.
Why? Facebook adjusted its “Edgerank” calculation that determines what posts appear in Fan’s timelines. The organic Facebook marketing that we all enjoyed has been diminished by Facebook making sure that less of brands updates appear on the Facebook’s fan pages. Updates are now appearing in 15% or less of all timelines.
Twitter with its unfiltered stream is starting to look more attractive.
Myth One: Facebook will not change the game
If there is one thing that you must understand about social media is that it is evolving rapidly and expecting the rules to stay the same is an assumption you can not afford to embrace. Marketing Land mentioned and highlighted this changing of the rules and the reduction in organic Facebook marketing virality and reach. Some reports indicate that the reduction in the number or readers (views) of your pages updates is in the range of 5-40%.
Keep in mind that for Twitter and Google+ that 100% of all updates are in the stream.
Facebook owns its network and it will continue to change the rules to suit its vision and commercial interests.
Myth Two: Facebook marketing will always be free
Facebook has gone public and the only way Facebook can monetize their platform is through advertising. The Google social network Google+ doesn’t need to place advertising in its stream or side bars because Google Adwords is their river of gold for the search giant.
Facebook will continue to look at ways of creating revenue that pays the bills because now they have shareholders to placate. Want to reach more fans?… then you will need to start to reach into your pocket and pay the piper.
Facebook’s next steps will include the monetization of the mobile platform Instagram that they paid $1 billion for. Mobile ads are the next frontier.
Myth Three. You own your Facebook account
The reality is that you are just a renting tenant on Facebook and you are there under their rules, terms and conditions.
The challenge for brands that are heavily Facebook centric for their social media marketing is that an unexpected “shutdown” can leave a severe dent in traffic to your websites. The Cool Hunter saw a drop in traffic of over 10% when its Facebook page was shuttered.
Just keep in mind that Facebook doesn’t have a call center for handling complaints. The lights are on but no customer service folk are at home.
Myth Four. You own and control your content on Facebook
Facebook is the repository for most of the world’s photos with 300 million photos being uploaded every day. It is the largest photo site in the world by far. This content is not yours according to Facebook’s T’s & C’s. Despite that, people treat Facebook like a hard disk backup for their images, videos and content.
Make sure that your photos and content is organised and saved somewhere else in case you suffer the same fate as The Cool Hunter”.
So should you stop using Facebook for your marketing? Is social media marketing doomed? The answer is that social media will continue to offer a powerful and crowd-sourced means to market your brand but Facebook’s changes just brings us back to basics of taking control of your online assets.
Here are 4 tactics that will ensure that you are investing the time, effort and resources in the digital assets that you own and control.
#1. Create and post content to domains you own
These include your your blog, website and online store. You bought the domains and they are under your direct ownership, so make sure that the majority of your content including any multi-media is posted there. Building online assets is vital in a web focused world.
#2. Build email lists
Email may not be as sexy and as cool as social media but it offers one distinct advantage. You own your list. So make it easy people to subscribe to your blog or website via email. It is a digital asset that is often undervalued, so concentrate on continuing to build that subscriber base.
#3. Invest in optimizing your blog or website for search engines
What a lot of people don’t realize is that 75% of all clicks from search engines are from organic search results. That traffic is free.
So optimize your blog and website to make it easy for Google to index your content. Also don’t forget to optimize your social media accounts for search engines by including keywords in descriptions, tags and categories. (amongst other SEO friendly tactics)
#4. Build followers and tribes on other social media channels
Other social networks offer great alternate opportunities for driving followers and traffic to your website. Twitter’s potential is often underestimated and new emerging platforms such as Pinterest are rapidly being recognized as vital social media networks that provide portals and links to your online properties.
What About You?
Is your social media marketing Facebook centric? Have you got a plan B?
What other social networks drive traffic to your blog? Is SEO and search engine friendly tactics part of your digital marketing strategy?