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Facebook. Blah blah blah.
Text links. Blah blah blah.
Link share posts. Blah blah blah.
Please, please, please shut up already.
I’m not so much tired of Facebook as I am of Facebook marketers.
Almost every blog post I’ve read this week has been a “social media expert” rambling on about the new changes at Facebook and “what this means for your business.” You want to know what the changes at Facebook really mean for your business?
Nothing. Zero point zero. Zilch.
Facebook isn’t a social platform. It’s not built to help businesses engage. It’s built to sell ads. There’s nothing wrong with that and I think Facebook can have tremendous value. But I take exception to a recurring theme and that’s the fact that marketers seem more interested in regurgitating what Facebook wants them to say without consideration for helping customers decide whether Facebook is right for their businesses.
Marketers in general have shown their hand by constantly recommending whatever Facebook pushes out of its PR machine. At this point businesses should be skeptical of what marketers are saying about Facebook and ask whether it makes good business sense, or if they are simply repeating the Facebook-sanctioned conventional wisdom.
Don’t use pictures.
Use pictures, but not with text.
Isn’t it funny that most social marketers pitch exactly what Facebook wants pitched? Whatever happened to doing what was in the best interests of the client instead of what Facebook sanctions?
When the timeline feature came out, marketers practically repeated Facebook’s press releases line for line. Build content. Upload pictures. Tell your story.
Now that the less scrupulous marketing consultants who worship at the altar of Mother Facebook have settled down and gotten all of their customers hooked, Facebook has done an about face and said, “Hey, all that reach you worked so hard for… yeah, we’re going to throttle it unless you pay. Suck it.”
Based on past trends, it seems to me that the status quo from here on out will be that Facebook will periodically make a slight adjustment to its algorithm and pump it through the PR machine to all manner of social “experts” who will take to their blogs like pit bulls on raw meat. If that’s the case, that could do wonders for the stock price of a publicly traded company.
But why so skeptical, Ralph?
Because I don’t care about Facebook more than I care about my clients. I want to act on the needs of my clients, not force my clients to react to the needs of Facebook. Maybe the fact that my clients can only reach 5 people on Facebook’s tricked out platform just isn’t that important anymore regardless of how cool-super-awesome link share posts are. There are well known and not so well known marketers out there falling over themselves trying to get businesses to believe that whatever limitations are imposed by Mother Facebook are good for them.
Their behavior is despicable.
If you are a business and a marketer approaches you with the Facebook company line, ask them how that helps your business and then listen – really listen – to the answer. If the answer sounds more like, “Well, this is how Facebook works,” rather than, “This is what’s best for your business,” then show them the door. You’ll be happier – and more profitable – in the long run.
So What Should A Business Do?
Be skeptical. Facebook isn’t on your side any more than any other organization. That doesn’t mean you should part ways, but use the tool intelligently and to your best interest. I hear a lot of marketers conceding that “you just have to buy ads now.” That may be true, but not all of the time. Don’t spend your businesses’ money just because you’re resigned to building Mother Facebook’s empire.
Diversify. My friend Mike Brooks of Nuclear Chowder Marketing showed me a video of a “marketer” telling an audience that they should have a Facebook page and not a website. Interestingly, that person’s company only worked on Facebook business pages. Your business should have a toe in every platform out there. You should watch, measure and see what works and what doesn’t. That makes deciding where to spend money really easy. If you need more convincing, you can read my thoughts on using Facebook instead of a website.
Hire marketing professionals, not social media ninjas. Businesses don’t need social media. They need marketing. Social media may or may not be a component of that. Most social media experts-ninjas-gurus-rockstars know a lot about a platform or two, but don’t have the experience to have a broader vision of how all of your business needs tie together. That’s important. I can’t stress that enough.
Learn. The days of closing your eyes and playing the “I don’t know card” are over. I’m not suggesting that you should be a seasoned expert, but you should be conversational in aspects of your marketing so that you can make smart decisions. Many marketers often sell services that have a high profit margin for them, but low results for you. That $9.95 a month widget they are pushing on you may sound great, but does it really give you value? If you are going to pay someone, make them earn it.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me where I am wrong and where I am right.