Social media is just ONE tool in the metaphoric marketing toolbelt – one that everyone is trying to make sense of right now. So even though we do a lot of work training companies on how to use social media, it’s because social media new and it’s changing the marketing game. Smart businesses need to start paying attention to social media marketing – but not at the expense of everything else.
Recently, Business Insider released an article about Facebook’s latest update (again?) to its users’ news feed and how it’s affecting social media marketing. Facebook wants to become the central location for you to receive all your media, since it still reigns as the number one traffic driver to media sites (How many Buzzfeed articles have littered your feed?). This fact has become the catalyst for this recent update, where Facebook will give more exposure to quality posts from publishers.
Which basically means this: Brand pages (who aren’t media or publishers) lose out on valuable impressions to their page posts, and are then forced to opt into paid advertising to increase the reach of their Facebook page posts.
But, before you join the brigade of angry online marketers against Facebook, consider this: Is it really Facebook’s job to give your brand free exposure? Just like any other company, the social platform is trying to do two things: appease its community and make a buck or two.
Don’t get me wrong: Facebook, for all the agony and the headache it puts us through with its updates, is still a very valuable tool. It is a free platform to reach out to your community, and it’s very easy to use. But this recent hoopla reminds me of a simple concept I’ve learned throughout my years in online marketing: diversify your channels.
When serious online marketers are asked why should someone still use email or social marketing, I always hear this as an answer: If Google were to go away tomorrow, how are you going to be discovered?
Sure, that answer is a bit profound, seeing how the huge tech giant isn’t possibly going away any time soon, but Google, just like Facebook and other search engines, also makes changes to its algorithm constantly. One day you could be doing very well on search referral traffic, and the next, you’re back to square one (Panda, anyone?).
Which is why email, social media and traditional marketing are still essential tools — they give you a chance to make up for the fact that you’re not ranked #1 on Google. And an even better reason? They are great relationship builders, since you are the one delivering the message.
And even within social media, there are a variety of other tools at your disposal than Facebook. Twitter is steadily rising in its active user base, and becoming a more integrated conversation tool for TV and other media outlets. And the cool thing about Twitter? There is no news feed algorithm that you have to crack.
And then there’s Instagram, which is like a Twitter for photos. Snapchat, the next generation’s preferred social network. The list goes on.
But you catch my drift. Don’t depend on only Facebook to get the business you need. It’s up to us as marketers to scope the communication channels available, and use each to the best of its ability to produce the best results. That still has not changed.