Stay the Course With Social Media
While imperfect, Facebook and other services remains vital
By Richard Rutigliano, PriMedia Inc.
The business press is complaining a lot these days about the diminishing reach of Facebook and other social media channels. The problem is that businesses are finding it difficult to connect with their fans because Facebook is filtering their posts out of users’ News Feeds. Facebook executive Brian Boland recently explained that the company is trying to make New Feeds more user-friendly by anticipating which posts users are most interested in and filtering out the rest. “Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300,” he said.
The universe of Facebook users remains accessible, but businesses have to purchase their presence with sponsored posts that will appear in News Feeds. Companies that value access to Facebook audiences can accept the notion of paying for the value delivered, just as we do in other channels. Once we view Facebook as just another advertising outlet, it actually becomes easier to compare the cost and benefits of social media usage to other marketing efforts such as traditional advertising, e-mail and newsletters.
This is not to say that social media is strictly for advertising, because it isn’t. It is also an important source of “social endorsement,” which is a must-have for businesses that serve consumers. The new reality is that between Angie’s List, Facebook, Yelp and dozens of local business directory sites, consumers can find whatever local expertise or specialty they want in just one search session, and that is precisely what they do. Local companies need to create attractive, informative company listings on Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+ and Facebook and encourage customers to post reviews. Consider setting up a customer reviews portal on your website that includes direct links to the social media sites, and then directing your customers there.
On Facebook, your fans deliver social endorsement by “liking” your company page and interacting with your posts. Create interesting, informative articles that showcase your specialized expertise, and publish them in a blog. Link to the blog posts from all your social media pages and your website, and promote them selectively (i.e., advertise them) on Facebook. Your content will improve your search performance and help sell your products or services while at the same time improving your image everyplace that customers and prospects look online.
A strategy of creating content once and repeating it across different channels meshes very well with many business goals, such as recruitment and popularizing new products and services. You can also combine your informative content with coupons to incentivize customers and prospects.
The same strategy also meshes perfectly with what Google and the other search engines are doing. Google regularly fine-tunes its search algorithms to ensure a “great user experience,” and that favors substantial, meaningful information over less substantial types of content. Once you are publishing valuable information and disseminating it effectively, you are a supporter of Google’s goals of delivering great user experiences, and you will likely see your search performance improve.
If you are considering improving your company’s use of social media, PriMedia is happy to help. Please contact me at 800-796-3342 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.