There are many myths circulating online, like how, according to the Mayan calendar, the end of the world will occur this month. There are also many social media myths, including some about Facebook marketing.
In the past, posting interesting content three to four times a day was enough to keep your updates appearing in your fans’ timelines. This is no longer optimal because Facebook changed the game. Posts or images with dozens of likes and shares now struggle for visibility.
Why? Facebook adjusted its EdgeRank calculation, which determines what posts appear in fans’ timelines. Facebook diminished the organic marketing we all enjoyed by making sure fewer brand updates appear on fans’ pages. Updates now appear in 15 percent or fewer of all timelines.
Twitter, with its unfiltered stream, is starting to look more attractive.
Myth No. 1: Facebook will not change the game.
Social media is evolving rapidly, and expecting the rules to stay the same is an assumption you cannot afford to embrace.
Marketing Land highlighted the reduction in organic Facebook marketing virality and reach. Some reports indicate the reduction in the number of readers (views) of your page’s updates is between 5 and 40 percent.
Keep in mind that for Twitter and Google+, 100 percent of all updates are in the stream.
Facebook owns its network and it will continue to change the rules to suit its vision and commercial interests.
Myth No. 2: Facebook marketing will always be free.
Facebook is now public, and the only way it can monetize its platform is through advertising. Google+ doesn’t need advertising in its stream or sidebars because Google AdWords is the search giant’s river of gold.
Facebook will continue to look for ways to create revenue because it now has shareholders to placate. Do you want to reach more fans? Then you will need to reach into your pocket and pay the piper.
Facebook’s next steps will include monetizing Instagram. Mobile ads are the next frontier.
Myth No. 3: You own your Facebook account.
The reality is you are just a renting tenant on Facebook. You are there under its rules, terms and conditions. Break the rules, and you will pay the price.
Recently, Facebook shut down the page of The Cool Hunter, a pop culture blog and website. The page had 700,000 fans. According to Facebook, it shut the page down due to copyright issues.
The challenge for brands that rely heavily on Facebook for social media marketing is that an unexpected shutdown can leave a severe dent in website traffic. The Cool Hunter saw a drop of more than 10 percent when its Facebook page was shuttered.
Keep in mind that Facebook doesn’t have a call center to handle complaints. The lights are on, but no customer service folk are home.
Myth No. 4: You own and control your content on Facebook.
Facebook is the repository for most of the world’s photos; users upload 300 million photos every day. It is the largest photo site in the world by far. But this content is not yours, according to Facebook. Despite that, people treat Facebook like a hard-disk backup for their images, videos and content.
Make sure your photos and other content are organized and saved somewhere else in case you suffer the same fate as The Cool Hunter.
Should you stop using Facebook for marketing? Is social media marketing doomed?
Social media will continue to be a powerful way to market your brand, but Facebook’s changes just bring us back to basics of taking control of your online assets.
Here are four tactics that will ensure you invest time, effort and resources in the digital assets you own and control.
1. Create and post content to domains you own.
These include your blog, website and online store. You bought the domains and they are under your direct ownership, so make sure you post the majority of your content there-including any multimedia. Building online assets is vital in a Web-focused world.
2. Build email lists.
Email may not be as sexy and cool as social media, but it offers one distinct advantage: You own your list.
Make it easy for people to subscribe to your blog or website via email. It is a digital asset many often undervalue, so concentrate on continuing to build that subscriber base.
3. Invest in optimizing your blog or website for search engines.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that 75 percent of all clicks from search engines are from organic search results. That traffic is free.
Optimize your blog and website to make it easy for Google to index your content. Also, don’t forget to optimize your social media accounts for search engines by including keywords in descriptions, tags and categories, among other SEO-friendly tactics.
4. Build followers and tribes on other social media channels.
Other social networks offer great alternate opportunities to drive followers and traffic to your website. Many often underestimate Twitter’s potential, and new platforms such as Pinterest are rapidly being recognized as vital social media networks that provide portals and links to your online properties.
What about you? Is your social media marketing centered on Facebook? Do you have a plan B? Share your experiences below.
Jeff Bullas is a digital media coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. He blogs at JeffBullas.com, where a version of this article originally ran.