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A lot of attention has been paid to the effects of Google’s latest updates to its search algorithm.
And rightly so, as the latest changes give long overdue improved ranking to sites that have been optimised for mobile.
I know, I know. Another day, another update to Facebook business pages.
This one is a bit larger than most though, and may have some interesting effects on your content.
So let’s dig in to the new business page format before it rolls out to the entire network on June 19th.
In February of this year Facebook turned 10, and what a wild ride it has taken all of us on.
Retailers, brands and celebrities (for the sake of this article these three groups will be referred to as 'retailers') quickly realised Facebook was the go to social media channel, stimulating brand buzz and developing direct consumer relationships. Facebook was the social golden child.
Now, these very same Retailers are accusing Facebook of intentionally reducing 'organic reach' purely for commercial gain.
While the retailers' accusation of Facebook is convenient, there are two sides to this story.
For digital marketers, understanding the audience a platform offers access to is crucial. After all, if you don't know who you will be reaching, it's all but impossible to craft messages and experiences that resonate.
The good news: digital channels are generally understood far better than their offline counterparts because users can be tracked far more comprehensively and accurately. The bad news: the make-up of digital channels can change, and sometimes quite rapidly. This is particularly true in social channels, where what's hot today is not hot tomorrow.
2012 has been an interesting year for brand marketers active on Facebook. The world's social network went public and as a result, has more aggressively moved to monetize its massive audience. That in turn has introduced some new dynamics to the Facebook-brand relationship.
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around changes Facebook has apparently made to its Edgerank algorithm. The theory: Facebook is making it more difficult for brands to reach their fans organically in an effort to promote use of its Promoted Posts ad product.
In May, the world's largest social network went public in what was one of the most highly-anticipated IPOs in history. But, as Metallica might say, the soothing light at the end of Facebook's tunnel turned out to be a freight train. Thanks to an exorbitant valuation, exchange glitches and growing skepticism about Facebook's ability to make money, shares of Facebook stock, which was priced at $38, were quickly battered to the twenties, and then to the teens.
Facebook can't turn back the hands of time and redo its public debut, but it can convince Wall Street that it is going to make money and lots of it. And that's precisely what it has been focusing on since May.
If a marketer mistakenly believes that its Facebook Page is a form of owned media, don't point the finger at Facebook. The company has reminded companies that their Facebook Pages and fans really belong to Facebook.
But marketers that still refuse to understand that their Facebook Pages don't belong to them, or don't want to think about the implications of this fact, are in for a rude awakening as Facebook weaves an increasingly tangled web with its efforts to turn marketer activity on its social network into cold hard cash.
The famed economist Milton Friedman once explained that there's no such thing as a free lunch. But for brand marketers using social media to reach consumers, it seemed like Friedman's rule was a thing of the past.
That's because many of the world's most popular social platforms offered a plethora of marketing tools for the princely sum of, well, nothing.
Brands are increasingly paying for 'Likes', followers and reviews, and despite the risks associated with this activity and the questionable efficacy of the tactic, there may be a logical reason for it.
That reason: according to Nielsen, consumers trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and online reviews, far more than they do paid media.
There has been a lot of talk over the past several years about the intersection of search and social. Many suggest that both will inevitably merge in a meaningful way, and there's good reason to believe they may be right.
But when it comes to SEO, just how big a role is social playing?
If Facebook is going to keep brand marketers on its side, there's little argument that it's going to have to give them a greater level of insight into their Facebook audiences and campaigns. And when it comes to engaging with all those people who 'like' a particular brand, Facebook is going to have to give marketers a greater level of control.
It appears to be doing just that with new enhanced post targeting functionality that is being rolled out to Facebook Page admins.
Brand marketers may 'like' Facebook, but the world's largest social network has created numerous challenges. ROI is often hard to find; Facebook says it can take a year to produce. And despite the promise, certain kinds of initiatives may simply not work.
Now that it's a publicly-traded company, Facebook is under even greater pressure to live up to its valuation, which currently reflects the fact that investors believe the social network has significant room to grow. To deliver the necessary growth, it has to find ways to convince marketers that it's a productive marketing platform.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, that may not be easy, and it may create big headaches.