Social Media Is Dead! Long Live Social Media!

In my last article, I said change is the only constant, and once again, change is happening in the world of social media. Mark Zuckerberg announced huge changes for business pages that have had the social media forums wild with discussion.

The latest change announced to Facebook is massive. On January 11th, Mark announced:

“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.”

And there dropped the bombshell. Business pages have been told, as if two percent organic reach wasn’t low enough, its being curtailed even more. How much more? Well, zero seems like a realistic number.

What is organic reach? Organic reach is how far any post made is spread to fans, followers, and facebook users. As an example, if you have 100 fans or followers of your facebook page, only TWO would see your post, unless you boost it (pay to promote your post).

OUCH! Now you can see why many Business pages are expecting that once these changes roll out, they will see their organic reach reduced to ZERO.

What gives? Why is Facebook picking on businesses? That’s a darn good question, and one that is currently being furiously debated within social media marketing communities. I can tell you, we social media marketers are just as concerned as you are, if not more so.

Many professional social media marketers are of the opinion that this latest change is not fair. Businesses are every bit a part of the community just as individuals are. Reducing reach further is effectively cutting business out of participating in the community.

Mark Zuckerberg addressed this in his post. He said: “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

Ahhhh, once again business had used, and likely abused, the tools provided to them. I’ve seen this happen before in the dry cleaning community when email marketing first arrived on the scene. Many dry cleaners began collecting all the email addresses they could get their hands on, and began sending message after message, after message, basically brow beating customers into their doors. Customers rebelled, and began reporting email messages as spam, or worse, simply tuned out incoming email messages. A good almost free tool for communication became abused as customers ignored any incoming email message. I see Zuckerberg is concerned could fall prey to the same situation, so Mark says:

‘I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions’

Ah, social interactions, between people. Businesses are not people, so interactions between people such as posts made from your friends and family will be given priority, and posts made by businesses….apparently won’t go anywhere (unless you pay).

What you may have or have not noticed, Mark HAS NOT said much about tossing businesses off of Facebook. Relax, he isn’t. Businesses are still welcome to use the platform, just the WAY businesses will use the platform will have to change.

Facebook has always been about personal interaction. It was NOT designed to be a commercial platform. Social media is about socialization, and socialization has NEVER been about ‘BUY MY STUFF. BUY MY STUFF!’. Really, have you ever been to a cocktail party and there was that one person working the room handing out their business card to everybody, asking in a loud voice: ‘Book an appointment with me!’ How do people react to that person? Yes, they AVOID that person. Why? Because cocktail parties are a social situation where people mingle, chat, and interact with one another, it’s NOT a networking event for conducting business. Mark’s announced changes are going to make sure his platform is going to remain social, for people to people.

So, what IS a business supposed to do? Well, as these changes work their way across Facebook, businesses need to get back to basics. Again, I quote Mark Zuckerberg:

‘… there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.’

Note the key words Mark said about: ‘a passive experience’

There are a lot of companies and organizations creating content for dry cleaners these days, including me, and the analysis data has been extremely telling. There is a lot of variety in the content being made, but what Facebook is, and always has been looking for is: ENGAGEMENT! If people are only passively reading your posts, looking at your images and watching your videos, it’s simply NOT ENOUGH. We must spark ENGAGEMNT, or as I call it, we must move the ‘give a crap meter’ with people.

For years I’ve been calling on dry cleaners to make their services fun, interesting and engaging. The writing is officially written on Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘wall’, and time is now up. Get relevant, interesting, or get out of the way!

About Darcy Moen

Darcy Moen opened his first drycleaning shop at the age nineteen. Over the next sixteen years, he built his first 600 square foot plant into a chain of 5 stores, creating and testing his own marketing programs along the way. Darcy is a multi-media marketer, working in digital signage, video, print, direct mail, web, email and is a social media expert certified by Facebook for Pages, Insights, and Ad systems. Please visit www.drycleanersuniversity.com