Don’t fret about the latest Facebook announcement. Rejoice instead.
Facebook made a big announcement last week that set the marketing world on edge.
For those of you who missed it, the point of this announcement was that Facebook will be making a major change to its algorithm to favor personal interactions and news, over publisher content.
Facebook’s announcement is great for users. Just as an experiment, right after we read the announcement we counted how many posts by marketers were interpersed into our personal feed. The number, roughly 1 in 6, was becoming a serious distraction. Add to that the fact that most of these posts were more about selling a product than sharing interesting content, and “serious distractio”n was starting to become “annoying distraction.”
What does this all mean for your business though?
Here’s why I think you should rejoice instead.
1. The latest Facebook announcement made the playing field more level (and quieter)
The marketplace in the average Facebook feed was getting crowded and noisy. It was also getting tilted in favor of big brands with huge follower numbers. If you’ve been frustrated by your Facebook marketing efforts it may have been because your audience is getting tired of being bombarded by sponsored ads and marketing posts in their feeds.
When the marketplace is crowded by lots of spammy, hard-selling hucksters, it’s really hard to stand out. Even if you have exactly what your audience is looking for.
If executed right (and Facebook is pretty good at execution) this algorithm change could be exactly what small businesses like you need: a massive reset of marketplace to level the playing field and make it quieter.
A level, quieter playing field is always great news for small businesses.
2. Great content still wins
Here’s the one thing that hasn’t changed and never will, no matter what the latest Facebook announcement happens to be.
Great, shareable content still wins.
If you produce good, valuable, content that your audience actually wants to see and share with their friends, then you will always be able to reach your audience.
There’s a world of difference between valuable content and a sales job. In my opinion, Facebook marketers were starting to trend much more heavily toward sales.
Valuable content (or “jabs” as Gary Vaynerchuk likes to call them) provides your audience with something useful: tips, shortcuts, insight, advice, in return for nothing. Sales, on the other hand, is asking your audience to try or buy your product or service.
Just like you wouldn’t ask someone out on a date before getting to know them, in today’s digital world, it’s bad etiquette to close right in for the sale on first digital contact. Share valuable content, build trust, establish a realationship, then make a sale. Give, give, give, give, then ask.
Facebook was starting to become a wasteland of sales. Marketers were getting impatient and jumping from “hi” to “buy/try my stuff” without much content in between. Of the 1 in 6 posts that were sponsored that I talked about earlier, almost all of them were firmly in the “sales” category.
Facebook is not Google
It’s important remember that your Facebook audience is nothing like your Adwords or other pay-per-click audience. While your Adwords audience is actually looking for something, your Facebook audience isn’t. Your Facebook audience just wants to see what their friends and family are up to (and be mostly left alone).
Recognizing what your audience is doing, what they’re thinking, and what might be interesting and appealing to them, is the key to success in Facebook marketing. Facebook’s announcement hasn’t changed this, it’s always been true. What this new direction has done is indicate a clear intent to punish spammy, overly salesy marketing. That’s always good news for those of us who are using Facebook how it should be used: as a great platform to share valuable content that our audience actually wants to consume and share with their friends and family. After all, that’s exactly in line with the latest Facebook announcement: to help you interact with meaningful posts from your friends and family.
3. The latest Facebook announcement means you won’t need to start learning a new platform (yet)
Here’s the deal. Social media platforms come and go. Remember Myspace or Tumblr? Remember how Twitter used to dominate (beyond the political arena that is)? One of the reasons why Facebook has stuck around so long is that it has done a great job of listening to its users. Oh sure, advertisers are the reason why Facebook has any revenue to talk about, but without its installed base of users, Facebook is done.
If Facebook stopped making its users numero uno, then we’d start seeing a major migration to other social media platforms sooner than later. In the digital world, there is an abudance of choices and no loyalty. A mass-migration to new social media platforms would be bad for business. Hours and hours to hack the learning curve? Check. Abandoning your customers, content, and page you’ve painstakingly built over years? Check. The worst part may be trying to find your customers. While you can be sure that everyone (and their dog) is on Facebook, along with incredibly deep customer data, that won’t be the case when they scatter to various other platforms. Besides, this Facebook announcement doesn’t seem to change much about how Facebook ads work. Facebook ads are still one of the best ROIs for your marketing dollar and are something you should definitely be investing in for 2018.
Starting from scratch with new social media platforms could suck. Though that’s probably inevitable, Facebook’s latest move certainly bought more time and that’s great news for small business marketers.
Bottom line: stick with the fundamentals and you’ll be fine.
Don’t worry about the latest Facebook announcement.
Remember, your Facebook audience wants valuable content, not sales pieces. That’s why getting to know your audience and building a good customer persona is so important. That’s also why spending time building trust and connecting with your audience is so key.
Focus on sharing valuable content. Remember that Facebook is a freemium model and learn how to use boosted posts and advertising (still one of THE best ROIs on the internet). Enjoy the less noisy marketplace.
Finally, make sure your business Facebook page does not replace your website. If you put all of your eggs in the basket, then things like this latest Facebook announcement can rock your world. On the other hand, if Facebook is just one of many ways you bring traffic to your website (that you own) then you can take all this in stride.
What do you think? Does the new Facebook announcement have you worried? Will you be moving your social media marketing efforts elsewhere? We’d love to hear what you’re thinking. Hit us up on our Facebook page or in the comments!
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