In the first part of this two-part look at the Facebook fan page squeeze, we covered the ‘honeymoon is over’ reality of any organization that has developed a following on the 10-year-old social media phenomenon.
In this second part, we explore four options you have to “face” this uncertain future, each accompanied by a “pro” and “con”:
Red-in-the-Face: Fret & Fume…Then Don’t Change a Thing
You can get indignant at Facebook’s gall in commercializing its platform. How dare they behave like a cyber-tollbooth—doesn’t founder Mark Zuckerberg have enough billions to his name? Why can’t we all just sing "Kumbaya"?
Pro: You will have be joined by plenty of other hand-wringing complainers.
Con: By standing still, and failing to respond to this shifting tide, you won’t be serving your organization in the least.
Face-Off (aka ‘Jump Ship’)
Stop using Facebook for anything beyond watching cute and quirky cat-and-dog videos and keeping up with friends and family. Offload any marketing materials that you have stored on your Facebook page to your offline files or other online locations, such as your website.
Pro: You will have made a decisive move to cut your losses and move your marketing efforts elsewhere.
Con: All of the momentum you have built up on your Facebook page will be for naught.
Face It: Get More Creative
With more posts vying for attention on Facebook, it’s a numbers game to be able to rise above the pack of other posts you’re in completion with.
So develop more creative posts that prompt more engagement. The more “likes” and comments that you spark with a given post, the more the post will appear in newsfeeds of your fan base. And that, in turn, is a recipe for stoking even more engagement and overall views.
As Josh Constine wrote nearly two months ago at TechCrunch.com:
"Essentially, everyone has to earn their space in News Feed. If they publish posts that are interesting enough to get likes, comments, shares, and clicks, their reach increases. If their posts bore people and are ignored and scrolled past by anyone who sees them, their reach decreases. And since the natural trend is for reach to shrink as competition grows, Pages have to work harder and harder to stay visible.”
(Click http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/the-filtered-feed-problem/ to see the entire story.)
Pro: The improved quality of content builds your brand, energizes your existing base and attracts more fans.
Con: Quality takes time and effort, so this may (though does not necessarily have to) dilute your marketing efforts elsewhere.
Face Forward: Develop a Budget
Come to terms with the reality that free lunches last only for so long, and that the Facebook following you have cultivated is worth an ongoing investment to reach not only the base you have built, but to bring on additional people who will come across your brand in the future.
Pro: This really does work. The enhanced exposure will win you more Facebook fans, especially if you create quality content that gives them sufficient reason to click that all-important “like” button.
Con: It’s not a question of “if” Facebook will raise its rate structure, but “how often” and “how much.”
The bigger following you create on Facebook, the more you may become dependent on the site to serve your marketing needs. Are you willing to put so many eggs in a basket over which you really have no control?
The first option—doing nothing—isn’t a viable option, at least for those seeking to be responsive and to act responsibly for their organizations. Of the latter three paths, to arrive at what’s best for your organization, the overriding question you may pose echoes Facebook’s new “service” language.
Specifically, which strategy will best serve your organization in the long run?