Times They are A-Changin’

Recently, Facebook has had to make some interesting choices – notably, to limit unpaid brand presence on their ever-more popular newsfeed. It makes sense. According to a study by Ogilvy, organic reach has dropped for branded Facebook pages by nearly 50%. The newsfeed is prime real estate; on some level, it’s a simple question of supply and demand, providing people with what they want (and will respond to).

So what does this mean for corporations in the social world? Immediately, it translates to dollars: companies that want to keep a first-row seat on Facebook will need to shift their use of the social platform to a paid presence.

But step back for a moment. The implication of this shift is not entirely unique to Facebook – lots of social media outlets are becoming multipurpose channels and searching for ways to boost revenue. So the questions that marketers face are fundamental and should help define any social media strategy:

Where do you need to be to reach your audience?
As Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offer more and more services, they become similar; but new kids on the block like Snapchat may be best for your target if you’re trying to create viral buzz for a video-savvy audience. As many of the bigger sites move toward a Pinterest-like page design, take a look at sites with a fresher look – or at least different – look. Take a look at Google+, or check out the MySpace makeover… it may be time to revisit it. But the hard line remains: pick the channel best suited to your audience and put your dollars there. 

How important is the creative in that equation?
Formerly, social media sites had distinct functions. Chatting. Photography. Video. So on and so on. And the creative approach was designed to suit the site. Now, though, the homogeny of capabilities brings these sites closer together, and it’s easy to apply the same creative across the board – or even skimp on it, in the face of rising costs. So ask yourself: do you simply need to show up at this party, or do you need to wear an unforgettable dress? Establish these priorities before you begin, to get the most out of your marketing budget.