A couple weeks ago, just before its tenth birthday, Facebook released it's 2013 Q4 earnings report. It was a happy moment for Facebook, but perhaps not for marketers.
Overall, Facebook finished the year with $7.8 billion in revenue, up from $5 billion the year before. This surpassed analysts' expectations and the company's shares rose as much as 9 percent in after-hours trading. So, even Wall Street was happy. But what about marketers and businesses that use Facebook?
Historically, marketing on Facebook in its simplest form has been about gaining fans and then interacting with them. There are many good and bad ways to do so. There is a lot more to it than that, but that's the simple details.
Just one month before the happy financial news, details are coming out of Facebook that may affect how this model works moving forward. More specifically, AdAge reported:
"Facebook is being more blunt about the fact that marketers are going to have to pay for reach. If they haven't already, many marketers will soon see the organic reach of their posts on the social network drop off, and this time Facebook is acknowledging it. In a sales deck obtained by Ad Age that was sent out to partners last month, the company states plainly: 'We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.'"
These developments shouldn't surprise anyone. Facebook has an obligation to their shareholders to continue to make money. To do so, they need to improve the user experience and simultaneously bring in more money. One of the easiest ways to do so is to show less businesses and make them pay more to show up.
Facebook Marketing in 2014
Given the above, below are four important points and tips for using Facebook for marketing in 2104.
DIVERSIFY: Don't put all your marketing eggs in Facebook (or any site you don't own). Use Facebook when it works and makes sense. But remember you don't own it.
PAY: If it brings a positive ROI, open up the wallet for Facebook. Track it carefully.
GET CREATIVE: Quality content and campaigns will still work on Facebook (and elsewhere). But do things that cause natural sharing and engagement. This has always worked well on social media and always will.
PUSH TOWARD EMAIL: Social media marketing is a lot like email marketing. Get fans and interact. With Email marketing, you collect email addresses and interact. But email marketing is way better. People prefer marketing messages in email over social. So if you have fans, get creative in getting them to sign up for your newsletter, etc.