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The massive juggernaut circus that is social media marketing continues to run roughshod over all the conventional marketing tactics, in fact any marketing tactics, that have been a sacrosanct studio staple for decades. It is unstoppable. But why would you want to stop it? It’s the very fact that social media marketing is so popular and so uncontrollable, that it draws in marketers to use it as an advertising platform. Every social media platform has phenomenal potential, but it is not easy to tap into. You have to understand the media, the audience and the material.
Using a marketing catapult to sling semi-relevant gobbets of information out into the wild, blue demographic yonder no longer brings in better than expected results, partly because the digital age audience has gotten smarter but mostly because the digital audience has gotten bigger! Marketing demographics are no longer confined to geographic areas; you can now market to the whole world in a single campaign, so every marketing dream has gotten bigger. Everything about social media marketing is BIG. With stakes that high, the bar keeps being raised, then raised some more, moved, then raised again. Just as a successful marketing tactic is established a new algorithm comes out and the tactic becomes obsolete. Get used to it, this is what keeps social media marketing effective and whilst it’s still a billion dollar industry, things are not about to change.
One strength of this phenomenal power is that everyone is watching it. As soon as a significant change comes out the boards are buzzing with the news and direction is given on how to navigate the algorithm and keep your marketing on the right track. Each marketer has to keep to keep abreast of any change on any platform or his campaigns will not work. As a case in point, let’s look at Facebook who went through such a change at the beginning of November.
When Facebook began to be become the marketing force it now is, marketers were caught off guard by the innovation in an explosive new arena and it took some time to find a device that really worked. Everything was brand new – including the users – and it was an A:B test fest to find the answer. Up until the beginning of November, like gating was by far the run-away winner and provided marketers with serious mileage.
Like gating is the process of providing exclusive information to a fan after they have liked your Facebook page. In effect, no matter where the lead has come from, they were routed via your Facebook page and had no option other than to ‘like’ the chosen page, or not see the information. Companies were gaining brand traction by the bucket load as every ‘like’ meant that the pages brand was broadcasted to all the friends of the lead, seemingly endorsed by the lead. And the landing pages for the lead may, or may not, have been of any interest to the lead. It was a win/win all round for marketers, but not always for the Facebook users.
Fast forward to this November and Facebook has revised their algorithms to give their fans more choice – but also to keep control of the media. The average Facebook page would have 1,500 posts stream past it every day if Facebook didn’t automatically cull it to around 300. With that kind of information exchange something needed to be done to simplify the infrastructure, and protect their users from being forced into linking to pages they are only slightly interested in.
Facebook has now ‘outlawed’ like gating with its new update, so what can you do to use Facebook as a successful marketing media? For a long time the rules have been tightening up for companies wanting to cash in on the success of Mark Zuckerberg and it has become increasingly more difficult to gain results. One idea would be to look outside of Facebook.
Most marketing now takes place away from Facebook where there is more freedom to run the campaign, but why not include the option in other CTA’s to land on your page and harvest what likes come naturally. The powers that be at Facebook HQ objected to the mandatory liking of a Facebook page via link, not the link itself, so keep it as an option and you will reap some benefit to your Facebook marketing campaign. Even more encouraging will be the fact that the likes you get will be genuine likes that want to hear from you and will increase your conversion rate.
The jury is out on just how much of a ‘free’ marketing tool Facebook will now be as it develops its own way of monetizing its captive audience, but one way forward is to concentrate on other marketing campaigns on other sources – or pay Facebook to market on for you. Action gated campaigns, ratio based campaigns and any such other marketing device will all garner an amount of success, but it may just be best to accept its ‘all change’ with Facebook marketing, and forge your company a new path – until it all changes again!
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