The New Social Media Paradigm Is Here: What’s Your Play?

Mark Zuckerberg invented the game. He can change it anytime he wants. zuckerberg-27

Earlier this week, the famed Facebook CEO changed the way algorithms work for his social media site. In order to be effective in how you reach your audience now, you must essentially pay more advertising to get a greater reach. For the end user, that means:

  • They don’t get to see posts from their favorite pages as much.
  • The page manager must try harder to get more eyeballs per post.
  • The page manager must spend more money to get more eyeballs as well.
  • It’s not a fair shot anymore.

The last one is not a kind one, but it’s true. I’ve seen a lot of folks on my social networks crying about this new change. Content has been a BIG trend this year and sites like Upworthy proved that you could get funded on the model of sharing content and taking things that weren’t trending into the social stratosphere. And for many agencies and freelancers who used the bread and butter of content to figure out how to make their social media efforts shine, the party effectively ends now.

Call in the caterer, bring in the decorations, and withdraw the invites: there’s a new paradigm in town.

Here are the new rules:

  1. If you are a small, medium, or startup business an integrated marketing strategy is more important than ever. You had better be using Twitter, Facebook, your home website, a blog, YouTube (as necessary), Google+, etc. Do not just depend on Facebook for your social media outreach. Doing so is a mistake. You will fail if you try to survive on a Facebook-only strategy.
  2. Email marketing still matters. So does CRM. Learn how to use both, and use both well.
  3. Better yet, learn how to network in person and build an event. If these three points should tell you anything, in addition to the fourth below, is that you need to have a treasure chest of skills. Having one golden key is no longer golden — especially when the locksmith can change the keyhole anytime they feel like it.
  4. If you are a professional and seeking work in the area, sticking to Facebook alone is a death knell. As I’ve always said, and I am gladder than ever, you had better have some technical chops too, be that within analytics, content writing, etc. The unfortunate bit is that marketing in Business school doesn’t teach this. Students are screwed thinking they just need to know how to post and they are good. Coding, designing, speaking, selling are still more important than ever. Learn it. Make sure that Google Analytics, Omniture Site Catalyst, Sprinklr, Radian 6, and other platforms are something you can do and know.
  5. Social media is not free. You are the product as the user, the platform is merely just that. Zuckerberg and co. just make their money off your seeking of attention, and they just changed the rules again. I don’t see them changing, because where else are you going to go? Zuckerberg understands he has the eyeballs of a billion plus on his network, and that you will get a lot of people here if you can do it right. He knows that you won’t get nearly the type of content value here with videos, photos, posts, notes, etc that you can get on Twitter, YouTube, etc.

Finally, some industry thoughts:

  1. Facebook as a company needs to make money. I’ve seen from plenty of folks that they are saying that Facebook is going to die as a company. First, it’s going to be a long decline if one from 1 billion+ users down to a few.
  2. Second, if Facebook does go into decline, where will people flock? Young people use Snapchat, Instagram, etc where there is very little strict business engagement value there, other than the and business has to go elsehwere. Perhaps it’s back to forums and other traditional CRM platforms. This is why Jive SBS, Zoho, and other CRM companies still matter even in the midst of social media.
  3. Third, Facebook’s got a hold on its mobile strategy, something it did not figure out during the IPO, and its new heights of stock prices reflect this. It will be interesting to see how the stock goes forth from here.

Hold on social media industry, it’s going to be one wild ride from here.

Image credit BusinessInsider

  • Bin Teo

    Definitely agree with the need to diversity rather than put all my eggs into one basket. Thanks Albert!

    • Albert Qian

      Great to hear Bin! Let me know what skills you end up picking up. :)

  • Daniel Hebert

    Great post Albert! This whole outcry is making me frustrated, to be honest.

    First of all, the people who are complaining are ending up being hypocrites – mostly social media bloggers. How many times have you seen these bloggers say “Social Media Marketing isn’t free” or “if you want results, you’ll need budget?” You see these types of statements on a daily basis. Now that they’re forced to pay for what was once a free service, there’s an outcry because they don’t have the budget, and don’t want to spend money. Hypocrites.

    Second, if Facebook was such an effective marketing channel for them, they shouldn’t have any problem investing in it. If they’re not generating revenue from the network, why are they there in the first place? If they are generating revenue, then why not keep generating revenue by having a small Facebook budget?

    There is so much disconnect happening here, and it’s so frustrating. You don’t like Zuckerberg’s decisions? Fine, just move. Stop complaining, you’re not a shareholder, and you weren’t a paying customer. What are you actually losing?

    Rant Over.

    • Albert Qian

      Thanks for the feedback, Daniel. I think from the group that you and I run with there has been some of this, which prompted me to write this. I don’t do much retail social media these days but I totally understand what has happened, and think that becoming a freelance integrated marketing agency works out so much better than straight social media.

      Facebook is a company that needs to make money. I signed the petition, but I doubt Facebook will listen anyway. They will simply laugh and take their money to the bank!

  • amd

    “Where will young people flock?” Who knows, there is always, always the next new thing. Remember My Space? Nope, me neither.

    My play was to ditch Facebook 14 months ago, after being on there 5 years (so I do understand the reasons people get addicted to it and want to keep it). Best move I ever made. Cue “Oh I can’t because (insert excuse here). Yep, you absolutely can. Like any addiction, the first couple of weeks without it are the hardest. And then you wonder why on earth you did that to yourself for so long.

    • Albert Qian

      amd, I agree. For the end user it simply is that simple. For the marketer, it’s a little more difficult. We’ll see how people respond. Should be interesting!