There has recently been a lot of chatter about Facebook and how people have been flocking away from the number one social networking site. By people I particularly mean businesses. A lot of businesses are questioning whether they should now focus their attention on Google + as no one is listening to them as much on Facebook any more. Their number of likes are decreasing, fewer people are sharing their stuff and most importantly they’re no longer generating the level of sales from there that they once did.
But is that really true? Are businesses no longer making a profit from Facebook? Or is it that now in order to be heard above all the social media noise we, as businesses, need to pay?
I’ve written countless blog posts on how to get results from Facebook, whether to spend money on advertising and have reviewed and discussed all manner of different Facebook tools and tricks to help businesses stand out and generate the sales they want.
Social media is changing. This is a fact. It’s constantly evolving. Social Media emerged and slowly took over the way we connect with people and market our businesses. It was the new and dazzling marketing tool. It was shiny, exciting and best of all it was free. Millions of businesses started and continue to use it, some with finesse; other’s with a more hit and miss approach.
Over time we then started to see the rise of various tools to help us get even bigger and better results with our social media marketing. Gradually we were flooded with tools and indeed often feelings of overwhelm – there’s literally a tool for pretty much anything when it comes to Facebook. Slowly these tools started to offer paid premium features in addition to the free basic features that we had all been using.
And then of course, wham! Facebook advertising came into play. And what a major game changer that was. For some businesses it catapulted them into overnight success. Others, tried, experimented and failed to increase their likes, shares and ultimately their sales. And many still refuse to give money to Facebook (some reasoning why they should pay for something which was once free?)
So now everyone is complaining about the level of interaction they get from Facebook. Complaining that if they don’t spend a dime on their favorite social network they get nothing back in return. Frustrated that when they post updates, some, if any of their customers see their update. Few people comment and like their posts and their traffic levels have dipped as a result.
The reality is now that if you don’t spend money on Facebook, albeit with advertising or paying an agency to manage it for you your results can be pretty dismal.
For what it’s worth this doesn’t just affect businesses. It affects the agencies too. We are seeing a massive shift in how we market our clients on Facebook. Gone are the days where we could simply write killer content that sparked debate to generate shares/likes/comments. We have to do so much more now. We’ve even dabbled in advertising and boosting our own posts in order to understand the impact this has and be able to advise our clients accordingly.
Rather than see this as a challenge we are embracing it. It finally gives us the chance to be more creative in our marketing efforts. And more importantly, it reemphasizes the importance of understanding where your audience is and reaching out to them in the right place. Just because Facebook is the largest social network where millions of people are doesn’t mean that it’s the best/easiest/quickest/cheapest solution to reach them, or that these people would be your best customers.
By taking the time to understand where your audience is and knowing as much information about them (and your competitors) your results will be much more effective.
Having a strategy and an end goal will in the long term be more beneficial for you and your business. It may take that bit longer but the outcomes will be greater and more relevant.
So in answer to whether Facebook’s bubble has burst, I don’t know. Do I think people will leave and try other social networks? Yes I do and so they should. It’s a very dangerous marketing tactic to put all your eggs in one basket, regardless of whether the results are good, particularly when we can’t control it. Facebook is constantly changing the rules, adding new features and much to our astonishment removing features that we have grown to love and rely upon.
2014 will see a lot of changes in social media…. The freemium model is coming to an end and businesses need to wake up and realize this and start embracing it in a positive light instead of complaining about something that has for the last 7 years given them a free platform to find new customers and promote their business.
I for one cannot wait to see what the future holds for Facebook… but I’m sure as hell gonna make sure that I know where my audience is and be there listening to them… whether it’s on Facebook or not!
What do you think – has Facebook’s bubble burst? How much longer do you think will Facebook continue to reign social media? Is 2014 the year that some other social network (new or old) will take its place? Let us know your opinion in the comments section!
Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market, she actively leverages ethical online marketing for her clients and for Socialable.
After launching her first business within three years of becoming a mother, her financial success was recognised by being a finalist at the Best MumPreneur of the Year Awards, presented at 10 Downing Street. Following a resultant offer and wishing to spend more time with her daughter, she sold her first business to focus on social media, developing a multi-site blog and online marketing portfolio that generates in excess of 600,000 + page views per month.
A business owner, social media consultant, internet mentor and genuine digital guru, Lilach is consulted by journalists and regularly quoted in newspapers, business publications and marketing magazines (including Forbes, The Telegraph, Wired, Prima Magazine, The Sunday Times, Social Media Today and BBC Radio 5 Live). What’s more, her books have achieved No 1 on Amazon for Sales and Marketing and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
When Lilach isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of Zumba.
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