Facebook changed its algorithm to suppress unpaid brand posts. Do we just dig our credit cards out and pay Mr. Zuckerberg whatever he wants? What are our alternatives?
In this video, we’ll review the five pillars of digital marketing communications and how Facebook’s changes shouldn’t impact the rest of our marketing efforts:
- Search marketing
- Social media
- Earned media
- Owned media
- Paid media
[00:00:01] Facebook is taking your brand to the woodshed. What should you do about it? My name is Christopher Penn, vice president of marketing technology here at SHIFT Communications and today we’re talking about marketing life after Facebook. What should you do? How should you handle the news?
[00:00:15] For those who missed the news on January 11th Facebook announced that it was radically revising the News Feed to significantly reduce the available inventory of unpaid viewability. In the News Feed for brand pages, things like that they want to focus much more on the community or friends, the things that essentially would help people focus more on the network. The reason why they use the social network in the first place to talk to friends. As part of that, brands would see their viewability reduced; things that generate conversations and interactions would see their their reach increased. And of course, that includes news organizations, corporate Facebook pages, pre-recorded videos, things like that.
[00:01:02] So what’s a marketer to do? Well a lot of people made it a point, understandably a lot of concern about that. But Facebook isn’t the Internet. Facebook isn’t even the web. Facebook is just one of several social networks. Now to be fair, it is the largest social network by far, it’s about 2.5 billion people, give or take. And so it is clear that you have to have some presence on Facebook but it doesn’t need to be all your marketing, and for those people who have gone sort of overboard, overweight in Facebook ,obviously this going to have an impact on them most significantly.
[00:01:41] So what are the options?
[00:01:43] Well, think about what constitutes at least digital marketing these days: search marketing, social media marketing, earned media, owned media, and paid media. Facebook really fits in this category here, in just social and granted paid a little bit too. So let’s talk about some of the options that you have as a marketer that you can use to mitigate the impact. For one thing, these are a couple of channels here that are not necessarily broken out.
[00:02:11] Email is part of your owned media; you as a marketer should have a marketing mix. By definition, a marketing mix is a combination of things, so you’re not doing it right if all you’re doing is Facebook but you’re not doing with these other things well. So, maybe it’s time to spread some attention spreads and budget spread some resources to these other channels.
[00:02:34] What are you doing for search marketing? Organic search in particular is still the number one traffic driver for an awful lot of websites for an awful lot of companies market. What are you doing for your SEO? When was the last time you did a really good SEO audit? When was the last time that you looked at your on-Site, your offset, your competitive landscape? When was the last time you even took a look at the top 10 results in Google for the search terms that mattered for your company?
[00:02:57] Chances are it’s probably been a little while; Google has totally changed. It’s all AI driven now, so that you want to make sure that you look into that look at what you need to do to adapt to these new search algorithms and spend some time creating content creating stuff on the properties you own.
[00:03:16] In terms of social, yes, Facebook is by far the largest social network, but it’s not the only one. There’s everything from snapchat and you know there’s Instagram which is a Facebook property of course. But there is Twitter, there’s Pinterest, there’s LinkedIn, there’s a lot more than just Facebook and depending on your audience that you may want to focus your time, your effort, your energy in other places where you still have that resonance.
[00:03:40] And by the way, there’s a whole set of new networks out there that are below the radar and appeal to very specific audiences but that audience might fit you better. For example,there is an app called Discord that is sort of like Slack but it has a very heavy gaming community. People say, well I don’t want to appeal to all 12-year olds in their basement. No, gamers are a big community. If you’re hiring or recruiting, for example, developers, guess where you should be? You should be in the gaming ecosystem and that means being in places like Discord; not a traditional social network, but if that’s where your audience is so if you’ll if you need to go after developers, you need to go after programmers, you need to go after I.T. folks, check out things like that.
[00:04:22] You want to go after a younger crowd, a crowd that likes anime? An app like Amino is going to be the place to go. So social, there’s a lot more options than just Facebook. Look into that.
[00:04:33] Third is earned media, public relations, things like that; you have to be able to, to have other people talk about you. If you look at your Facebook feed right now you are — it is not the brand pages that are showing up at; any branded content that is showing up is showing up from other people you know. So the role of earned media, the role of influencers, the role of your friends, your networks is greater than ever now in the Facebook algorithms. If you’re gonna spend time on Facebook stand that dynamic has changed.
[00:05:01] It is now entirely about who knows you. To quote my friend Mitch Joel, it’s not about who you know, it’s who knows you. So if your company, your brand is not doing a great job of getting Facebook reach, think about who you know that could, that knows you, that could talk about you. The most logical source of this, of course for many companies, is your employees, but it’s not just employees.
[00:05:26] There are also those diehard evangelists the people who love what you do; if you don’t have a good relationship with them, spend some time, invest some time into getting those people on board and get them sharing stuff. Set up a customer advisory board if you don’t already have one and then talk to those people on a regular basis so that they are advocating for you. Work with journalists, work with publishers, work with bloggers, do outreach to all the traditional PR stuff that you would expect to do as part of public relations but know that that’s going to be your only way to overcome some of these algorithms.
[00:06:00] At the end of the day, you need to be newsworthy and need to have people who are willing to share your news. That’s the basis of public relations and has been for 70 years now. Marketers have to take it on themselves to figure out, OK this is what we have to do in order to be newsworthy and then to reach those people who will share our stuff.
[00:06:19] Honestly, for most companies you probably don’t need a million influencers. You need 50 or 100 people who are passionate about what it is that you do and then turn that into the getting the news coverage you want. So earned media is a super important part.
[00:06:39] Owned media. So many Facebook marketers have been so entrenched in the system for so long that they’ve forgotten how to do other forms of marketing. Do you have — when was the last time you updated your corporate website in a meaningful way other than little tweaks here and there? When was the last time you put some really good new content out? When was the last time you published an e-book? When was the last time that you created an infographic? When was the last time that you slapped up a video on there? Your corporate website is badly neglected in most cases, unless you’re Berkshire Hathaway in which case you can just pretty much have a page it looks straight out of 1996. But they have all the money.
[00:07:16] But for everybody else, it is very much — fix your website make it make that own media property useful again.
[00:07:24] Your Blog. When was the last time you blogged on your corporate blog? And when was the last time that you actually read your corporate blog? Do a poll of your employees. How many people read the corporate blog? If the answer is zero including you, then there’s an opportunity for you to to build some media on land that you own. Because if Facebook shut down tomorrow your blog wouldn’t go away, I would hope, unless you’re blogging on Facebook, which is a really bad idea. But your blog should not go away. If Medium and Facebook and LinkedIn and all always places went away tomorrow, would you still have content available for people to find?
[00:07:57] If the answer is no, spend some time there. And of course, the golden Rolodex for all marketers that people have for 10 years have really pooh poohed is email. The email marketing list, e-mail newsletter. You’re like, “oh no, that’s so 2006”. Well guess what? Facebook just yanked the rug out from under you. And now you’re like, OK so how do I talk to people if I don’t have the budget to run ads, to pay for what Facebook wants me to pay? Your e-mail list!
[00:08:27] If you’ve not been doing a weekly or at least monthly e-mail newsletter, get back on that wagon, get back to publishing. Get back to creating news that people want to hear and that people want to read about.
[00:08:38] Now the thing about — the thing that people lost in Facebook is they got so addicted to likes, comments, and shares, and that little blue hand thing, that they’ve forgotten what actual engagement means. Actual engagement means people read the thing, not just blindly share it because it has a catchy headline, but they read the thing and they reply to you. They they talk to you and that’s the value of e-mail so spend some time with that most Golden Rolodex, your e-mail newsletter. Publish a lot.
[00:09:09] And finally paid. Yes, Facebook is pay to play. Now, with more brands who are going to start swiping the credit card because they need to be seen, at least to some level, so the inventory on Facebook is going to get more expensive.
[00:09:23] So the days of, you know, 40 cents or 10 cents CPMs are going to go away real fast on Facebook. But again, as with regular social, there are many many, many, many more channels available to you than just Facebook ads. You have AdWords, which hasn’t gone anywhere and is still really good. You have Twitter ads, Pinterest ads, LinkedIn ads, and so on and so forth.
[00:09:44] But then you have programmatic. You have native, you have display, you have video ads, you have all these different channels that are available to you as a marketer that you can swipe the credit card. Find the ones that work best, set up multivariate tests, set up landing page optimization and figure out what channels of all of them drives the most value for you.
[00:10:05] At the end of the day, the news about Facebook only really is critical if Facebook was the only thing you were doing and if you’re doing a marketing mix, probably, Facebook should not have been the only tool in the tool belt. You would need to have a healthy mix sharing resources, sharing, building across multiple channels; my friend and colleague Gary Vaynerchuk calls it “deejaying your content”, finding the thing, and then mixing it to all these different formats. It’s a great example, it’s a great analogy, because that’s what we need to do as marketers is figure out, how do we take our content, our ideas, the things that we want people to share and put them in multiple places?
[00:10:43] This is the way to do it. This is what a good healthy marketing mix — if you don’t have the marketing mix, build one. Build one today. Make it part of your new 2018 plans.
[00:10:54] It is still the second week of January. as I record this, you’ve got plenty of time to pivot on your 2018 marketing plans, reallocate those budgets, and create stuff.
[00:11:04] But remember this, for those who have a little more gray hair, remember MySpace? Folks under 30 are like, “what?” MySpace, at one time, was the largest social network and brand sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into their MySpace pages, then it all blew up back in 2006-2007.
[00:11:28] Many of us veteran marketers were saying, don’t build on rented land, don’t build on something you don’t own. Have an outpost there, but make your property, the place that you own, where you invest your time and effort. Then Twitter came along and Facebook came along. Everybody kept moving from rented land to rented land, never building equity in the home that they own. This Facebook change should be the latest in a series of wake up calls, saying don’t build on rented land. Build your home on land you own. Establish outposts and billboards everywhere else.
[00:12:06] I like to say, no one eats lunch at a billboard, right? The billboard gets your attention, but then you’ve got to go to the restaurant. So for the same reason, invest the time in building on land that you own, and no matter what happens with the next algorithm change, or the next social network, or the next big thing, you will still have your thing that you own, that’s under your control and you will get benefit from it. It may not be the sexy thing. It may not be the hot new thing, the shiny thing, but it’s your thing and no one can take it away from you.
[00:12:33] Thanks for watching make sure you subscribe to SHIFT Communications of course on all of the social networks but also our e-mail list SHIFT Happens which you can get at shiftcomm.com. Thanks for watching.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology