It looks like Facebook has put the final nail in the coffin on brand pages as a way to broadcast content to Fans. Dubbed “Facebook Zero” – i.e. zero organic reach for brand pages, many marketers are up in arms after having spent significant resources cultivating an audience on Facebook.
Cry me a river. This is what happens when you pitch tent in somebody else’s back-yard. (A long-time pet peeve of mine).
The financial benefits to Facebook aside, I’m convinced Facebook is making the right move for their users. The Newsfeed becomes a better discovery-mechanism and conversation catalyst between real people. It makes Facebook a social network again.
The best thing to happen to marketers
This change is also not bad for companies that understand what social media actually is. As we’ve said for years here at Meddle; corporations aren’t people, but they have people (employees), who sell to people. There is a large body of research that proves that employees acting as company ambassadors are far more effective at building customer trust (and new business!) compared to traditional broadcast marketing. (Ironically, the fact that employees aren’t trying to sell is key to this success). Being authentically human is simply good business, like it has always been.
It is not my style to be self-promotional and go “I told you so” (well, perhaps a little), but we saw this coming. In fact, I co-founded a company based on the notion that the employee-to-customer relations would become the centerpiece of social business strategy.
Many companies have already started putting employees front and center, but only to have them repeat canned marketing messages, effectively turning employees into just another media channel. I believe this is wrong and self-defeating. The next phase of employee advocacy will not be about employees pushing the spin brands can no longer litter social networks with. In a copernican turn, corporations will instead be amplifying the voice of the employee; Employees are experts on the company’s products & services, markets, and customers. They are passionate about solving customer problems. They have trust and social currency.
Amplifying the voice of the employee is simply the best way for companies to resonate authentically with customers, and develop more resilient personal and corporate brands in the process.
I’ve seen first hand how this cultural change is challenging for many companies. But it is inevitable, and as with everything inevitable, starting right now is always the best option.