It seems nothing changes faster than the big social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. No sooner do marketers figure out how to best promote a product or business than they change the rules!
That's been especially true for Facebook, which had to find new ways to make money after going public two years ago. Twitter has also been making changes since its IPO in November, but most of them - including a visual redesign, tagging people, and uploading multiple photos - are geared toward user friendliness. Even Google+, owned by Google, which went public way back in 2004, is constantly tweaking.
But the tweaks bringing the most squeals of protest are those being made by Facebook. Basically, it has taken away users' ability to reach - for free - all or even most of the people they've worked so hard to attract to their pages.
So, do brands and businesses just abandon the platform and the audience there?
"No - you just have to change how you use Facebook," says Jonathan Sellers, a social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations, (www.emsincorporated.com).
"In the past, the goal was to get as many people to 'like' your page - or to 'friend' you if you were using a personal page for marketing purposes," he says. "Forget likes. Now, Facebook makes you pay to get people to like your page by charging you to promote your posts, and then it makes you pay again to get your posts in front of them. That seriously devalues the like!"
Only 5 to 10 percent of people following your business or brand pages - sometimes even less - will see what you have to share if you don't pay for extra visibility via a "boosted post," he says.
"So the focus should shift from working to get people following your page to getting your content to your market."
Facebook's inexpensive ads and "boosted posts" actually offer some great benefits, he notes. Here are three he says we should be taking advantage of:
"This experience should be a lesson to all of us that we cannot become too dependent on any single platform," says Sellers. "They're all going to continuously evolve to find the best mix of optimal user experience and profit."
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