Facebook : The Necessary Wing Man (for hire)

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From ‘The Mast’

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In the last 5 years having a facebook profile, as an individual, has become a social norm.  Not being on social media almost makes it seem like you’ve deliberately chosen an alternative lifestyle.

With millions of people giving their personal details, preferences and attention to social media, its also become a necessity for businesses to be present on these platforms.  It’s now known as ‘social proof’ ie, you don’t exist until I can find you online.

Facebook can introduce your business to practically any group of people. Facebook is the necessary business ‘wing man‘. But, you gotta play by facebook’s rules or it won’t come to the party.

Tell me about yourself …

Facebook has one of the most sophisticated advertising systems in the world.  Not only does it have our personal details, but as we interact with others it monitors our ‘likes’ and ‘interests’ and the system builds up a profile of who we are and what we (most likely) want to see.

Facebook then uses that information to provide you the content you want to keep you on there longer.  The longer you stay on facebook, the more valuable their platform is to advertisers and the higher their yearly revenue.

Therefore, ‘facebook for business‘ have become a necessity for any business wanting to connect with potential customers.  However, this year facebook is changing how users see information from these pages.

This year facebook is not going to help you flog your wares for free. Facebook has been surveying it’s users and the feedback is: they’re tired of being broadcasted to by businesses.  It was putting them off and therefore it’s something that facebook wants to change. 

“We want [Social Media] to be more like real life … and in real life, people crave connection. People are looking to engage with others.”
– Leslie Samuel

Facebook doesn’t want to lose businesses (cause they are the ones paying the bills) but, more importantly it doesn’t want to lose it’s users – it’s most precious commodity.  So, it’s introducing a few new features to help and some deterrents as well.

 

What’s changing this year?

If you’ve been running a facebook page previously then you would have noticed the decline in total people seeing your posts.  At the moment about 10% of people who ‘Like’ your page actually see your post (if you don’t pay to ‘boost’ it).  Facebook calls this ‘organic reach’.  It’s basically a fancy name for “You’ll get what you’re given, ok!”

This biggest change for pages this year : your ‘organic reach’ for anything that facebook deems “too promotional”, will be show to zero people – it will show up on your page, but won’t be sent out to people’s news feeds.  If you have a promotion or an advert, then you have to pay for an advertising campaign.

Laura Donovan has put together a really simple and quick guide in her article:  ‘Facebook Changes You Need to Know for 2015‘ – business2community.com

 

Why are they doing this to me?!

Facebook are protecting their platform and trying to make their users as happy and engaged so they keep coming back.  Because if Facebook users start to jump ship then Facebook won’t have a future and they can’t keep making money.

Leslie Samuel, who runs ‘Become a Blogger’ observes:

“Facebook has to become more human. It has to be a place where users are engaged, and for Facebook pages to continue to be successful, they have to engage their audience in a more authentic way.”

 

What can I do?

It means you have to reevaluate your strategy for your facebook page.

It’s not that people don’t want to be advertised to, statistics also showed that users didn’t mind seeing adverts if it was listed as such.  They were just tired of marketing in their news feed that didn’t provide them any opportunity to connect or engage with people or a brand.

In summary, businesses need to find content that will interest and engage facebook users; encouraging them to stay on the site longer. As well as that, your promotions / marketing will have to be paid for (hence wing man ‘for hire’) but facebook has been kind enough to provide some new tools to help with that.

Here are two great articles about how you can make the most of these changes and additions.

Samuels nails it all on the head in his article about:
Why Your Facebook Strategy has to Change in 2015”.

and Donné Torr gives great advice on:
What Small Businesses Can Do To Stay In The Game

 

Is facebook really all that?

Yes and no.

Facebook is a really impressive tool to help build your business and with it’s current reach, yes you should definitely make use of it.

But, no, it shouldn’t be your only strategy and you shouldn’t rely on it.

My smart friend Darryn Altclass (who is part of xyz with me) calls facebook a ‘rented’ audience.  Meaning, you pay money to facebook to get your audience’s attention.  That audience can be taken away from you anytime – you don’t own it like a customer database. If you build your business via a rented audience, then you’re at the whim of whatever facebook wants to do and you’ll always have to pay. Not a great position to be in.

Yes, facebook needs to be part of your business strategy (at the moment). However, it’s best used as one way of connecting with customers – not the only way.

Running a facebook page shouldn’t be about building up ‘likes’.  Define what you want from your potential customer and find a way to make use of facebook’s tools to help you achieve that.  If social media isn’t building your business then chances are that you’re just building the business of social media.


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