Facebook is rolling out a change to it’s Timeline. There is a great discussion about this on this week’s Beancast Marketing Podcast where it seems Facebook is migrating towards a more people to people business model vs brands to people. I was very critical of the brand page and ad support model back in 2010. Yes I am always way ahead of everyone but no one ever listens to me. Sigh.
So the changes ‘could’ mean the chances of a Brand having a post to their page organically being almost zero. The reason is Facebook wants Brands to pay to have their content seen via one of their many ad offerings.
What does this mean for the small businesses that don’t have paid advertising budgets? Abandon their pages? No, just your strategy needs to change.
First until the new format rolls out we will not know for sure if posts will not be seen organically. But say this is true.
1] Doesn’t matter how much or how little you have invested in your brand page with time and content, if you assumed Facebook will never change, or die, or become irrelevant time to come to grips with the future now. It will. Only question is when and how fast (see Myspace)
2] It is a free customer service bulletin board. Do you have this on your website? I have already blogged at how many businesses do not respond to customer emails. And many customers find calling or emailing to complain too much an effort. So why not keep it active for customer service purposes?
3] Your die hard fans will still want a central place to talk about your brand. This could be moved to a blog on your website using one of the conversation engines like Livefyre or Disqus, but fans can’t post except in response to blog posts. Let them use the page.
4] People will still be talking about your brand on Facebook. They will still be sharing content with each other. Instead of creating posts hoping people will like and share your content from the Brand page. Focus on creating great web content that will be shared on Facebook and other networks. The tools already exist with Tweet buttons, Google Plus 1’s, and Facebook Like buttons everywhere. Mobile browsers include this functionality now.
In closing your social media strategies will always be in flux. Networks change. Functionality of those networks changes (for example the new Pinterest format doesn’t include automatic posting to Twitter and more). You need to change with the times. What works today might not tomorrow.
I have said many times that Great Product, Great Service, Right Price trumps all marketing efforts. Get that right and things will take care of itself.