Finally: Facebook ‘fesses up

Busted!

AdAge just told their readership Facebook states in a sales deck that:

We expect organic distrobution of an individual’s page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have meaningful experience on the site.

What that means in normal people talk is this: we are tweaking our algo so all you brands with your millions of dollars in marketing funds can no longer free-load. Pay up or your ‘introducing our deliciously fresh new toilet cleaner’ announcement will be buried in a mountain of “I hate my job, my life, my friends, I’m so fat I want to die” and “look at the bajillionth photo of my kid from an angle shifted 0.00099090809890834 pixels to the right” posts in the newsfeed.

Paying Facebook to make posts more visible isn’t a new practice, as I started seeing the shift back in 2011. I did a lot of digital work for major brands and entertainment properties that heavily relied on Facebook’s look at this post…again and again and again again every time someone comments or LIKEs effect. Hell, even regular people can pay to have their “my piece of shit boyfriend just cheated on me. I hope he dies.” Facebook update pinned to the top of our newsfeeds (I’ve seen it happen before haha).

I really don’t blame Facebook for finally cracking down and expecting mega brands with their super budgets to pay-up. The bummer lies with the small to mid-sized business looking to extend their reach. Or even startups that focus their entire traction strategies on social — namely Facebook.

Just like how we never saw another phenomenal success like Farmville on Facebook’s gaming platform (remember that?) I guess TOM’s success — the Japanese 500 portfolio company that reached 10M fans in less than a year — will never be repeated. Maybe they will go down in the Guinness Book of World Records or something.

I for one, welcome the change. It’ll be fun to see how the fluffy social media gurus-ninjas-futurists-[insert whatever else douche-y name here] will scramble to step their strategic games up.

May the best man or brand or strategist or agency win!
source: AdAge

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Social Marketers – Step Your Games Up

In Tokyo, I had the privilege of meeting Oliver Reichenstein, founder of iA (Information Architecture) and we had the utmost delightful chat. Aside from his charm and brilliance, the way he approaches design really stuck with me. As a graduate of philosophical studies, he looks at problems a bit differently than most, and I was glued to his every word.

To explain how he begins looking at websites, he used the analogy of messaging tubes. That imagery was so vivid and effective, I think the same framework can be applied to social marketing, too.

To back up, the messaging tubes he spoke of, are pneumatic tubes from the 1800s. It’s the system where messages are delivered in this capsule like canister and delivered, shot through a tube to the appropriate department or individual. Like this:

I vaguely recall in cartoons or on a random television show the highly exaggerated versions, where tens of canisters holding messages, fly through different tubes at once — almost in a frenzy. The operator at the receiving end is sending and catching the canisters while they continue flying above, below and around his head.

This inefficient disaster is how I see the current state of corporate social media.

In my experiences working with brands — small and large across all genres — I noticed a commonality. When it comes to social media efforts, there are directives coming from all over the place. The social media manager becomes a gatekeeper, if you will, and controls what goes out on Facebook, Twitter…and Pinterest and Instagram and Tumblr and [insert whatever hot social network]. There is usually close to zero structure and the people tasked with social media responsibilities, ends up drowning in day to day deliverables.

To a lot of organizations, the social element is still an afterthought and I am very familiar with the: “Can you Tweet x now?” or “Will you post y on Facebook?” requests. Those email requests are the 2013 version of messages tucked into canisters and quickly shot through the tube — except in 2013, the canisters are emails. Those messages don’t come from one person or team. They come from multiple people and multiple teams.

The ideal solution is working with colleagues in order to understand each others’ job duties and more importantly, infusing a native digital mind-set with social elements already incorporated into marketing initiatives… but let’s be real. It’s not that simple. I know. I’ve been there.

Organizational changes start from the top down and it takes a lot of time to see change. (If you’re interested in helping change your org, Jeremiah Owyang at Altimeter has tons of case studies on social media management that are extremely helpful here.)

While long-term strategy is being built and shaped, I’ve found short-term solutions help those in charge of social. A lot.

I first start with helping colleagues understand what a social marketer actually does all day. We know that our jobs are more than sitting around Tweeting or Facebooking, but a lot of  people usually don’t.

Once a mutual understanding is established, I try to make sense of the madness and put a stop to disorgnization. I mean. It’s our jobs. A marketer should always distribute marketing messages with an objective — especially now in 2013, as it may tarnish your brand. You don’t want to be that brand known for social media fails.

It is also the marketer’s duty, to ask the questions a lot of people tend to forget:
1. what goals are we trying to meet?
2. how are we measuring the success?
3. what did we do right or wrong in the past and how can we best apply those learning lessons to what we are trying to accomplish?

In doing so, it will make your work load easier to manage and more often times than not, prevents unnecessary communication frustrations.

Try it. I dare you.

Marketing in 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing lately and how marketers need to evolve with current customer needs.

The Internet has shifted human behavior and people are not just customers but consumers and users. Consumers, as they consume the marketing media we create, and users, as they use digital services we create media for. So what does that really mean for marketers?

Traditionally, media that marketers and respective teams created were separated into three categories: paid, owned and earned. The advancement of the Internet has drastically changed the way we communicate and it is no longer a one way street. People — our customers — require more than one way megaphoning in order to be interested, feel involved and most importantly, delighted.

So what are we — the marketers — to do? How do we elevate our messages?

The first and most important step is to toss all the marketing jargon and tactics aside. The necessary skills to successfully digitally market, comes down to traditional marketing methods: how do we get a message across, while capturing emotion. As emotions, are what ultimately converts someone from knowing a brand to liking the brand. The what and the how are simply tactics to deliver our objectives.

I always recommend those interested in learning how to become a social media marketer, content marketer, digital expert or what have you, to step back from the noise (ex: How to Write Headlines that Convert, How to Become a Social Media Guru, 10 Ways to Get Re-Tweeted, etc., etc.,) and re-learn the fundamental principles of copy writing and marketing.

Internet or print or television or film, the people that we create media, write copy and deliver our media to, are human beings. And fundamentally, humans haven’t changed that drastically in 100 years — only the mediums and how humans react to the mediums we have.

David Ogilvy’s “Ogilvy on Advertising” is a great resource for any marketer. The context is still very relevant.