2014 will be a year of challenges for Facebook business pages.
It had to happen eventually.
The platform’s been available publicly since 2006. There are a billion users – almost 13 million in Australia. Facebook page management is professionalised. There are multiple ways to learn more about Facebook from online courses to university lectures. Every day more brands are creating a Facebook page. The newsfeed is an incredibly competitive space to appear in.
If you read about social media much at all, you would have come across articles about Facebook’s so-called change of algorithm and drive toward boosting its bottom line; a new era of “no free lunch”. You might also have read about Facebook’s desire to show less memes and ‘more relevant news’.
Justin Lafferty recently proclaimed “Anyone remotely serious about utilising Facebook as a marketing channel will need to accept that paid (post boosting in this case) will become the norm”
Mashable reported that “after Facebook tweaked its News Feed algorithm earlier this year, companies and their social media marketers had to watch as years of work were undermined seemingly overnight.”
And Business Insider recently wrote “Facebook brand pages are suddenly getting a lot less traffic, and it’s threatening the entire social media marketing industry.”
What does it mean for Facebook page owners?
Good social media consultants counsel their clients not to put all their eggs into the Facebook basket. In fact, don’t put all your eggs into the social media basket.
One of my first questions to clients is: do you have a communications strategy?
I have a PR background and so your wider comms strategy is of enormous interest to me. There’s so much that can be attained through other methods and channels. I firmly believe that Facebook pages can be great for maintaining a higher profile, opening up to two-way conversations, being available to customers and more. A lot of your stakeholders would expect you to be there. But it takes dedicated resources, creativity and now – more dollars – to have your stories appear in your fans’ feeds.
So please don’t forget methods including:
- Traditional media or mainstream media (MSM). A lot of your customers, stakeholders, partners and peers read newspapers (online too) and listen to the radio. Build your media networks. Be available and generous with your expertise and commentary. Become that ‘go to’ person for your industry.
- Events. I mean everything from launches and parties, through to boardroom lunches or networking coffee meetings. Bring people together in real life, build warm relationships and get to know them. You’ll find there are remarkable results if you do this regularly and strategically.
- Enewsletters. They can still work. Not all of your stakeholders want to hear from you via Facebook or other social platforms. Some will prefer an email and they will read it. Make sure your content is targeted and high quality and useful. Using a tool like MailChimp will help you keep on the right side of spam legislation and serve up neat metrics.
Ensure you have an overarching communication strategy and be ready to talk to people about your business in all sorts of forums using all sorts of methods.
If you don’t like talking, have someone in your business who does.
- Be the leader in your industry
- Be interesting and be interested in others
- Be a good networker in the old sense of networking
- Social media will support the stories and content and networking you produce naturally
Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to get Likes and engagement