"The only thing that makes life unfair is the delusion that it should be fair." -Dr. Steve Maraboli
If you run a business, are starting a business, or are generally involved in networking, promoting, marketing anything, social media is most likely a part of your life.
I’ve talked before about our attitude towards social media.
Recently, I had to take some of my own medicine and give myself a huge social media attitude adjustment and refocus on some of my core business beliefs.
A few months ago, I had my Facebook ads account shut down. I had blindly hit the ‘boost’ button on a post and spent a few bucks to test out a market. There are all sorts of ‘no-nos’ within this statement that we can save for another time, but the end result was the deactivation of my account.
Twenty plus messages to Facebook later only resulted in twenty plus bot responses.
At this point, I don't invest very much in advertising to run my business, but I’d like the option. I very much believe in the power of ads to help us grow and scale. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled about this.
Then, Mark Zuckerberg made his announcement about the changes to Facebook. (If this makes you go, "Huh?", you can catch it here.)
Since I’d already resigned my false sense of control with the ads, the news didn’t bother me as much as it might have, but I’ve definitely heard the freakouts from others.
I’ve had a little time to sit with this…I can’t predict Zuckerberg’s moves or exactly what the algorithm will do next, I’m by no means a Facebook ‘expert’, but I do think there are some interesting ‘silver linings’ and lessons in all of this.
These have helped me flip my perspective and remember that social media is simply a tool. A mostly free tool that allows many of us to grow our businesses and share our work in ways that were never possible before.
Like anything, it’s how we use this tool and our perspective that makes it ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Facebook Freakout Lessons + Reminders
1. Double down on list building.
We don’t own our accounts on Facebook or any social media platform. I know most of us have heard this over and over again, but between my ads account being shut down and the algorithm switch, it was a giant, flashing neon sign reminding me that I don’t own my social media accounts.
We do ‘own’ our email lists and our websites.
As much as we might pitch a fit and get pissed about declining organic reach, we can’t control what the Social Media Gods decide to do any more than we can control the weather. It just is what it is.
What we can control is how we manage and optimize our websites and the efforts that go into building and nurturing our email list.
For those of you who might have it in your head that email marketing is dead, I’ll respectfully counter with this stat: 72% of consumers say that email is their favorite form of communication with the brands they do business with.
2. Build relationships instead of likes.
One of my core business beliefs and values is that it’s all about connection and building authentic relationships. The more we connect and serve, the more our businesses grow.
I don’t have a fancy stat on this for you, but I’ve experienced a direct correlation between relationship, connection, serving, and business growth.
Annoyed as some of us may be at the Facebook changes, if we take a closer look, their intention supports relationship building. It reinforces and reminds us to maintain this focus. I see this as a free business tip for all of us from Facebook that says, “Step up your connection game and find ways to engage more.”
3. It’s not personal. It's business.
Because social media is fun and well, social, it can be easy to forget that social media is run by some pretty smart and successful business owners. Which means, they need and want to generate revenue.
This reminder helps me put it all in perspective.
Think about it, if your business made money based on the amount of time people spent on your site and engaged with it...and people were complaining, what would you do? You’d probably think of ways to keep people happy, on your site longer, and in a more engaged way.
Facebook is running a business. Like you and me. We don’t like it because we’ve gotten used to the free handouts. But, how do we feel about the people who want our services and products for free??
Yes, there is a 'pay to play' aspect to Facebook, but getting pissed about that seems a little backward.
Social media platforms give us an opportunity to advertise and get in front of audiences in ways that would never have been available to most of us otherwise.
When we look at social media through the lens of business, we’re also able to see what might help us use the platforms a little better.
Instead of trying to ‘game’ the system by trying to buy likes, followers, or using click bait, if we think about what might help the platform perform and make money it becomes a symbiotic relationship.
4. Embrace the platform.
So many of us are trying to make social media platforms bend to our will instead of looking to them and using them the way they’re meant to be used.
If we take a step back from our ‘what can you do for me’ mentality, we can start to notice clues. Clues like new features.
These are the breadcrumbs that lead us to how to get the most out of a platform.
For example, Instagram recently made a change where the ‘comment’ tab automatically pops up if you hover over a post for a few seconds. This is a clue that Instagram wants us to engage by commenting.
5. Groups seem to be getting a bump on Facebook.
I’m basing this on my own group and the sudden surge of group posts I'm seeing in my feed. It seems Facebook groups are getting a slight bump with the algorithm changes. Which makes sense. Groups encourage the connection Zuckerberg mentioned.
Groups aren’t right for every business, but if you’ve been thinking about starting a group, it might be a good time to dip your toes in. If you already have a group, it might be an opportune time to give your group a little more TLC.
6. Go Live.
Zuckerberg mentioned, “We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones.” So, just a guess, but live video, particularly live video that encourages interaction instead of the “passive” experience are going to get some preference.
This makes business sense for Facebook. Live videos encourage engagement and people to stay on the platforms longer. More time engaged versus passively scrolling means they can generate more ad revenue.
Again, let’s not try to ‘game’ the system. Instead, embrace live videos for their ability to help us build those real relationships, serve in more meaningful ways, and get valuable feedback.
I’m far from having all the social media answers, and this may all change again in a few months; I do think this is an opportunity for all of us to check out attitude and refocus our attention on a few of the core business building blocks that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon: relationship building, providing value, and connection.
The platforms may change, the strategies might evolve, but the human need to connect isn’t going anywhere.
People will always have problems they need solved. People will always crave connection and relationship, after all, we’re wired that way. The more we can keep that front and center, the more we can avoid the freakout.
Oh, and don’t ignore your email list. Seriously. That’s one thing my crystal ball does show.
Wishing you your version of success,