Facebook Is Out, But Blogging and Google+ Are In
If you use Facebook to connect to fans who are interested in your brand or company, your reach will soon diminish. According to AdAge, Facebook stated, "We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time..." And a Facebook spokesperson said, "the best way to get your stuff seen if you're a business is to pay for it."
It's already happening. I personally have noticed a sharp drop in my Facebook posts' reach in the past several weeks, and social media marketers all around are reporting the same. All that work you spent building your fan base through page likes, and through consistently publishing great content on Facebook will soon be for naught, unless you cough up some dough.
And money spent on Facebook may not be worth your while.
I have experimented with Facebook advertising by paying for sponsored stories--both for my own page and for clients' pages. While I may have gained a few likes from Facebooks ads, they were from people out of my target area (even though I specified a certain geographical demographic , among other things), and I have not gained any impactful benefit from advertising with Facebook. I don't plan on trying again, unless I hear of some revolutionary makeover in Facebook's advertising algorithm.
That being said, we all have seen it coming--social media is not free, as Tom Foremski noted in his post on ZDNET.
So, in addition to rethinking your social media marketing plan, what to do?
BLOG. That's what.
While social media is still a fantastic way to reach your customers, in the end Google and other social media giants (Twitter ads anyone?) are going to want to be paid by businesses for use of their platforms. But if you have a blog, and keep it regularly updated with good, useful content, people who are interested in what you have to offer will find your business or brand.
Most of my leads, and my clients' leads, come from organic searches leading to the blogs I write. And while Google is no longer revealing keywords to those not paying for Adwords, people are still going to be searching for services and products by typing or speaking words and sentences into their search bar/voice assistant apps. So SEO is not dead for blog content. Here's a great article by Jennifer Slegg at Search Engine Watch for other ways to find out what consumers are searching for: Google '(Not Provided)' Keywords: 10 Ways to Get Organic Search Data.
But don't give up your social media marketing plans. Keep posting on Facebook to keep it updated. But let your fans know that Facebook's restriction will most likely mean that they may not see all the great content you've been posting, and ask them to sign up for your email list to make sure they get your blog updates and postings.
Also, start to focus on Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media platforms. You can't run contests or promotions on Google+ without pre approval, but aside from basic content guidelines, Google+ allows wide ranges of discussion. I have found their platform to be more visually and contextually interesting. Pinterest is popular and is still growing, and I have tracked visitors to my blogs from Pinterest on a regular basis. Tumblr is a great social media site and also can serve as an effective blog platform. Twitter is still greatly viable--no restrictions yet, but what we'll see what the future brings.
You can also turn your blog into a content aggregator through use of feeds and other methods as well, which I'll explain how to do in a later post. By collecting all that interesting content you find on the Web and highlighting it in daily/weekly posts, your email subscribers can keep up-to-date on content relevant to their interests. It will require a great deal more work compared to clicking a Buffer or other social media sharing button, but may be worth the effort.
Laura Tate is founder and CEO of Crackerjack Scribe, a social media and content engagement company. She helps small to medium-sized businesses connect to customers on the Web through creation of vital and active social media networks and unique content publishing. Crackerjack Scribe also offers article writing, editing and book publishing services.
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