Dollar Signs On Facebook: How to Respond to Social Media Monetization

Guest Post by Tim Eyre

Change is coming quick to the world of social media, and the implications for online businesses are significant.

It's been nearly impossible to avoid the news about Facebook's financial struggles this year, beginning just days after their initial public offering on the stock market in May plummeted from a share value of $38 into the $20s, eventually dipping below $20 before steadying at just over half its initial value.

Facebook's immediate response has been to increase the monetization of its service. The initial appeal of the social media giant was both its ease of use and the ability to reach thousands of followers for free. Businesses that wanted a little bit extra could pay for sidebar ads that reached even more people.

Since their IPO, however, Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm that ranks posts in a users' news feed has undergone a few tweaks. Beginning last spring, businesses can pay to promote a post, ensuring that it's viewed by more users than the dismal 12 to 16 percent of followers most status updates currently reach.

That decision took another sharp turn this October, when the pay-to-promote was extended to a focus group of regular, non-business users. Although price points vary, most reports indicate that $7 is the going rate during this trial program to bump a post up (and extend its lifespan) in followers' and friends' news feeds.

Finally, that chance also coincided with the announcement of 'Suggested Posts,' an option for businesses that allows them to pay to reach the news feeds of users who have yet to like their page and may have no apparent connection to them.

This is all being done to compensate for the growing number of users accessing Facebook through mobile devices. Unlike a computer's larger screen, there is less screen 'real estate' on a phone or tablet to incorporate sidebar ads. By placing marketing material directly into news feeds, it reaches users from wherever they're accessing their account.

So what do these developments mean for the average online business and social media marketer? More than ever, posts and updates need to be engaging. As you move forward with your social marketing plan, remember these tips and pointers:

Emphasize the Relationship

Marketing on social media requires a back-and-forth conversation. In traditional marketing, much of the work was done on the front end: You design a commercial or visual advertisement, figure out a plan to get it out to the world, and then let it go to work for you. With social media, your initial post is just the start.

Now that online businesses can pay to promote a post, the temptation may be there to just fork over the cash and trust that your post will get where it needs to go, when in fact, it will be even more important to respond to comments and keep the conversation flowing as you reach a larger audience than before.

Be More Interesting Than Ever

It's too early to tell if the added commercialization of news feeds will drive users away and spark a wave of 'unlikes' to company pages, so the best approach is to not be part of the problem. Because you're paying to promote a post (and even if you're not), treat each update with the attitude that it's the most exciting, engaging thing you've ever put on Facebook. And if it's not, don't post it!

You want your updates to spread on their own, inspiring shares, likes, and comments. Don't think for a second that paying will substitute for the effectiveness of a post that spreads naturally on its own.

Illustrate Your Points

A good Facebook post has a great photo to accompany it. Think of the example of Pinterest -- the site has taken off based on the strength of the pictures themselves, where the accompanying words are just an afterthought. Think of your Facebook posts in the same way, and take the time to find a compelling image that can illustrate each of your updates.

Motivate Your Audience

As more and more businesses begin to utilized Suggested and Sponsored Posts on Facebook, those that give followers an incentive will drive the most traffic to their pages. Photo contests, giveaways, and loyalty programs are an excellent way to generate extra views and visits. Online services like PunchTab and Perkville can help an online business create and moderate contests and inspire loyalty.

Are you ready for the changing scope of social media marketing?

Does the monetization of the Facebook experience concern or excite you with its potential for your company?

Tim Eyre helps residential and business customers who use storage units when they don't have enough storage space on their own property. Tim's company - Extra Space Storage - has locations from coast to coast, including a Fontana storage units.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Good post Lynn, I'll be honest I'm not a fan of the sponsored post I see in my feed and it's hard to say how much this will effect our pages but your right about engaging and having a conversation with our followers. I am actually having much more success getting engagement out of LinkedIn groups and Google plus then Facebook and those two platforms along with twitter refer a lot more traffic to my website then Facebook by a long shot.
    shawn ozbun recently posted..iPad Mini way overpriced at $329??My Profile

  2. I also forgot to mechan that YouTube and Pinterest seem to refer more traffic then Facebook as well. Is Facebook at the top of the referral list for you Lynn, or do you find more success on those other platforms as well?

  3. Jimi Ellis says:

    Thanks for the post Lynn, i don't really understand the pay to promote platform on Facebook, i understand your tips, which also apply to any promotion, but i'm stuck on the payment bit, is it a kind of bidding against other ads?
    Thanks,
    Jimi.

  4. I work at a SEO firm, and some of our clients still don't see the earnings potential most social media platforms have. It's a shame really, online revenue doesn't only have to come from Google PPC ads :/
    Jennifer recently posted..NYC’s Supervillan Gold Vault Escaped Sandy’s WrathMy Profile

  5. I've been noticing of a lot more sponsored stuff showing up on my Facebook news feed and it is annoying. It feels like a commercial intrusion into a personal space. Facebook have to make money though, and if people put up with ads on TV and in magazines then over time I'm sure they'll come to accept them on Facebook. It's a good opportunity for advertisers, so long as they tailor adverts specifically to a social media audience.

  6. I think this is all a good thing really, as you say, the average Facebook post doesn't get seen by all that much of your subscriber base, having an option to pay for it to be seen is a useful extra tool.

    Jimi; it's not like PPC, paying $X just guarantees that Y number of people will see your post rather than leaving it to chance.

  7. I recently promoted a post I'd made on Facebook just to see what would happen. It was on the day that the new iPad Mini was released and the post literally pointed to my (non monetised, non-commercial) site that featured the specs of this new gadget. The responses were to put it bluntly non existant. Now, given the years experience I have marketing online, I was quite bemused by this. However, having thought about it, I believe that the commercialization of Post promotion on Facebook simply won't reach the target market. It sort of falls on deaf ears. On the web, a relationship has to be built and trust earned. There's no word of mouth marketing and no (my best friend told me about you) because we're all strangers to each other. Pushing a Post in front of users is not going to gain their instant trust.
    David recently posted..Upgrading Memory in Macbook Pro 2008 UnibodyMy Profile

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