Jan 10, 2013

Your Fans’ News Feeds: It’s Not a Right, It’s a Privilege.

My mother always used to tell me that certain things in life were not rights. They were privileges (which I learned after soon my parents took away my car for the first time).

Little did I know that nearly 10 years later, I’d be saying the same thing about Facebook.

As a social media marketer, you don’t know how often I hear grumbles and rumbles about Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm. Sure, when it came around and replaced our beloved all-encompassing news feed, it was a shock. After all, it was a major change to the most beloved social network of our time. We finally had the ultimate power as consumers (and friends) to like whatever we pleased, and then felt challenged when Facebook decided for us what was (and wasn’t) relevant content.

So yeah, for brands, Edgerank does change the game. Brands who once enjoyed the majority of their fans seeing posts in their newsfeeds changed, almost, overnight. Before we knew it, only 10-15% of a page’s fan base was seeing posts brands made. It hurt. It hurt bad.

And brands responded, claiming that Facebook only made this change to hurt brand pages by making them pay for their already garnered audience.

But there’s another way to look at the situation. One that may make your social media strategy better anyway.

Is overall post reach down? Yes.

Has the amount of spam decreased since Facebook’s Edgerank implementation? Yes.

And that, my friends, is good for everyone. Your brand, however, may have to adjust its social strategy. Here’s why.

Facebook’s goal is to make the most of the time a user spends on their network. That means serving users the information that is most meaningful to them. Based on what each individual person interacts with (and how they interact), Facebook gives ‘em what they want, which is, overall, better for the end user.

But what does that mean for brands? It means you have to study your own content, see what is getting engagement, and simply do more of that. After all, more people interacting and sharing your posts will help grow engagement, and, in turn, boost your EdgeRank. Isn’t that what you should be striving for either way?

Think of it this way…Facebook isn’t a broadcast medium. Instead, it is a communication service that is made for the user, helping them discover, share, and connect with friends and brands worldwide. And Facebook, being the smart company it is, knows that a top priority has to be protecting its 1 billion users’ social homes. That means keeping the clutter out and building a foundation of valuable information and user empowerment.

Likewise, just like with many other forms of marketing, brands on Facebook have to earn engagement with their followers. Liking a brand page isn’t a right to spam. Instead, it’s and individual’s personal choice to engage with a brand (or, conversely, to do just the opposite).

Remember…just like my mom would say, “Appearing in your fans’ news feeds isn’t a right, it’s a privilege.” Instead of approaching Facebook’s EdgeRank with distain, see it as an opportunity to have meaningful engagement with your audience. Earn it.

After all, shouldn’t that be your goal anyway?