Facebook is giving marketers a reason to drink.
Changes to its EdgeRank algorithm, which determines the updates that appear in News Feeds, have reduced the number of brand posts people see. Even the well-documented use of visuals and videos in Facebook posts is taking a hit.
RELATED: Facebook reveals the four factors that decide News Feed content
Many of Facebook's business users insist the changes are a money-making ploy on the part of the social network. By reducing the reach of posts, Facebook is forcing companies to pay for followers to see their posts—or so the argument goes.
The situation has deteriorated so much that the business editor at Mashable
, an immensely popular website that established its name reporting on social media, made the bold claim this week that “most social media marketing is a waste of time
Despite the headlines, Facebook remains the king of social media, and PR and marketing need to stop complaining and start adapting to the changes.
According to an infographic from the Socially Aware Blog
, visitors to Facebook spend nearly seven hours a month on the site. The rest of the social networks pale in comparison:
• Tumblr – 1.5 hours
• Pinterest – 1.5 hours
• Twitter – 21 minutes
• LinkedIn – 17 minutes
• Google+ - 3 minutes
The data stems from a comScore study released in February; the study did not include mobile visitors, which would push these numbers higher.
It’s safe to say the amount of time spent on social networks will continue to increase. From 2006 to 2011, the hours people spent on social media was one of only two activities to see a boost. (The other was watching TV online.) Traditional activities, such as socializing in person and talking on the phone, experienced declines.
As PR Daily
readers know, companies are noticing these trends and embracing Facebook. The infographic noted that all of Advertising Age
’s top 100 advertisers have Facebook pages for their brands.
All of which underscores an important point for marketing and PR professionals: Stop moaning about the changes and start adapting.
Facebook has the right to change its algorithm. It has the right to make money (and the desperate need, considering it's a public company now). If you thought Facebook would be free forever, you were sorely mistaken.
To adapt to the changes, social media managers need to make a subtle, yet important shift in spending and mindset. It’s time to focus less on acquiring fans—because fewer are seeing your content—and more on ensuring current fans see their most remarkable content.
In other words, stop paying to gain fans you don't have yet; start paying to delight the fans you already have, and growth will come organically.
Yep, you’ll have to pay, and if you want people to see your content, it will probably be worth it—just remember that paying for reach is only one way to achieve it.
Now let’s stop complaining and get to work.
In the meantime, here’s that infographic from the Socially Aware Blog