Recent changes to Facebook has made the world’s largest social network essentially a pay-to-play network for small businesses trying to market on the platform. Namely, the organic reach of posts will be extremely low unless businesses pay to boost posts. Facebook’s attempt to generate more revenue has a serious flaw, there are many other social media platforms for people to choose from with significantly large audiences. The one thing to remember about the Facebook’s billions of users is that most of them are of absolutely no use to local, small business owners in America. Sure, there are 1.9 billion users who access Facebook monthly, but only 10 percent of them live in the United States. There is also wisdom in not putting all of one’s eggs (i.e. social marketing content) in one basket (i.e. Facebook). Distributing content on multiple platforms reduces the chance that changes or issues with one network will dramatically affect marketing efforts. Using multiple platforms was always the best way to increase brand recognition. With that in mind, here are several other platforms business owners should consider using.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the perfect place for business-to-business marketers. It has many of the same benefits as Facebook, plus some additional features that make networking easier. Business-to-consumer marketers should LinkedIn to build their brand image with influential business owners and professionals, and they can increase sales by thinking of ways they can market their products specifically to business owners. There is also a lot of data that supports the value of LinkedIn.
Twitter – Since it’s IPO last year, Twitter has made major advancements to the platform to make it more useful to marketers. They now have many of the promotion tools that Facebook has and as a bonus, Twitter has greater appeal with young adults and minorities than Facebook. Twitter has also begun making changes to make the platform even more useful for marketers.
Google+ – The value of Google+ for marketers has continue to grow. Many businesses have begun to notice their Google+ business page because of map listings or reviews from Google reviewers. Now that Facebook is systematically reducing the reach of small business posts, marketers should consider using Google+ to distribute information to the public. As a bonus, not only would the post show on the business’s Google+ page, it would also show up on branded search results, and in Gmail messages from the company to other gmail users.
Pinterest – Being an image-sharing platform, Pinterest requires a dramatic shift in strategy from traditional social media marketing. But for businesses that have a huge catalog of images (or someone to create them), it is a perfect platform for reaching certain demographics. Pinterest has also added some new features to make the platform more useful for small and local business owners. Local business owners can take advantage of the map function when posting pins. And there is also a gift channel specifically for things people can buy.
An important thing to remember is that none of these platforms are mutually exclusive. Marketers can continue to post on Facebook and these other platforms as well. For LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, business owners can use an auto-poster like Hootsuite. In the past, posts delivered by third-party apps were identified as such, which hurt their engagement rates, but this identification has been removed (except on Facebook personal pages). This means business owners can still post to Facebook (where the post will get lously reach) in case people are looking on Facebook for info on the business, but it will also be posted on platforms where organic reach is possible without paying every time a post a made. Marketers will have to make a specific effort with Pinterest, but depending on the intended demographic, the effort is worth it.
Facebook’s new algorithm may prove to be a blessing in disguise for marketers. For years, Facebook was the low-hanging fruit for social media marketers. Forcing marketers to use new social media platforms encourages content creators to think of newer and better tactics to reach their target audiences. It also means they will learn to take advantage of the features of other platforms that may be more effective than they previously thought.
The changes to Facebook to limit the organic reach of small business posts is an event that will trigger rapid evolution for social media marketers. Marketers who quickly learn to adapt to the situation and to make the best use of the many alternatives to Facebook will see their brand recognition grow exponentially.