For a long time, companies could draw attention to themselves with social media, but free media performance becomes a phase-out-model. Social media has left the "hype cycle" behind and became a common media business as any other where companies want to present themselves. But the question of how to do that is decisive, as people exchange information about the companies and their products and services there, too.
Not only because of the huge monthly number of users, social networks are so popular with advertisers, but because vendors meet their target groups directly there, can communicate with them, interact, and experience things for which any market research would devour enormous amounts. Some media services are even available for free: For instance, a company profile page could post content and messages as they liked, which then automatically popped up in the newsfeed of the fans and got attention.
There's no such thing as a free lunch
But these contents are now reaching less and less fans. Facebook has changed its newsfeed algorithm and has drastically restricted the reach of corporate messages.
From the perspective of Facebook the step is understandable, since the social network isn’t a charitable society, but profit-oriented and listed on the stock exchange. Money is primarily earned with advertising. However, Facebook is of course also committed to its users and wants to protect them against spam and boring information.
The main problem lies in Facebook's success that attracts more and more people and companies that produce an unbelievable amount of content – in fact, too much content for the newsfeed of a single user. Even the links between users are increasing and content is shared that way more than ever, too. According to Facebook, around 1,500 potential stories compete to be embedded with a single newsfeed call up. Hence, many posts with little relevance are overwhelming users for quite some time already.
Facebook response has been to filter the competing content meticulously. More than 100,000 indicators are supposed to influence the ranking of a content. In fact, there is just as much secretiveness about the Facebook algorithm by now as about the legendary Google algorithm.
Marketing must be revised
There have been several brands that got angry and deleted their business profile, annoyed that money had been invested in the set-up of a social media page and fan base, and now the social network would tear down the expensive bridge they build to the potential customers.
All those that already spent a lot of money on the platform and got 100,000 fans there struggled to leave such a successful performance platform. Especially, since the company page is the basis for all other activities on social media networks.
At least, the current development is a good opportunity to clarify the basic principles and to question the objectives. What leads are generated where? How strong is customer loyalty or gain in reputation, etc.?
Social media is becoming more expensive
On closer inspection, social media has never been free of charge. Although the placement of a business profile was for free, to create, maintain and fill it with life always needs investment of time and personnel. Not to mention that creative messages with good images are increasingly in demand and have a price tag, but companies must get into the new rules of the game, since social media marketing has become daily routine - business as usual.
And that’s why social media marketing is a topic that should be addressed by marketers permanently. Changes have been massive in the past years and the networks and platforms do a lot to keep it that way. So, try to keep up with social media marketing and stay informed.
By Daniela La Marca