Spammers, scammers and Facebook feed-crammers are screaming bloody murder today as King Zuck announced that the social media giant will be very deliberately making it harder for business, especially small business, to get a foothold of followers and presence on their network.
And I personally have never been happier to be a Facebook marketer. Why?
1. These changes are designed to better connect people to other people.
Business people are people. We are here to connect with people. So where’s the problem here? The problem is that businesses don’t want to be people or act like people. We want to yell at people and have them come running through our doors to buy our stuff. Because that’s what we’ve been led to believe all these years. “Build it and he will come.” “Any publicity is good publicity.” No doubt you have a few others like those. The point here is that the world has changed. The business no longer holds the power, the consumer does. And the consumer has voted with the wallets to not be yelled-at.
2. The feed will favour posts from people over posts from pages.
So this is how it’s been for years. Facebook has always been a place for people. Not a place for brands to go berserk. And we know that businesses, given an opportunity will flood social media with promotional messages wherever they can. And let’s face it, no one is here to see our ads. The changes are expected to tighten this even further. So if your followers don’t tend to like, comment, share or interact with you in some way, they’re not likely to see your updates already. So these new changes aren’t really gonna make much difference to you. But if your social media efforts involve you commenting back to your commenters, interacting with them, posting gif response and reactions, you’re building a strange thing called “rapport.” You know… that thing you build with friends on Facebook when you interact with each other. So don’t think of Facebook’s changes as bad for business… think of them as good for those businesses who act like real people and good citizens of their communities – and don’t act like a radio or a television blasting a one-way signal at people.
3. Facebook is about conversation, not broadcasting
So what we were saying just above was that you can’t continue simply blasting out a message and hoping that the money will come flooding in. You need to interact… you need to be in a conversation. And business hates that. Because it’s hard work. Just like running a business is hard work. After 80 years of outsourcing our marketing to radio stations and TV networks and newspapers, we’ve lost the art of self-promotion. So we simply copy what we saw radio and TV do in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s when many of our impressions of life were formed. The trouble is that the world of then is dead. We live in a world now where people demand that you produce what they want, when they want it. And they want to be entertained and treated like queens as you’re bringing it them. And at it’s very core, that’s going to be about conversation, answering messages, commenting on people’s profiles – actually doing the hard yard to… dare I say it… prospect for new business!
So what should we do?
a. Interact with your followers. Comment on their comments. Like their comments. When they check in at your business, acknowledge them and say “thanks.”
b. Find yourself not reaching people the way you used to? Use Facebook’s offers and boosted posts to put your most important messages out there.
c. Put the Facebook Pages app on your phone or iPad at your point of sale so you can always see what’s happening and jump on stuff while it’s happening. And you’ll get messages to your business inbox right away.
d. Join local Buy, Swap & Sell pages and groups around Darwin and read posts, make suggestions and recommend other businesses. Those businesses will love you for it.
e. Network like there’s no tomorrow. Get to know your neighbouring businesses. Meet other businesses that are related to what you do. Talk about ways you can all lift your profile with group buys of radio, TV and Google ads.
Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a small business marketing and digital solutions agency based in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.