Nate Elliot of Forrester is the Jesse Jackson of digital.  This is not the first time he’s jumped in to complain about Facebook’s organic reach declining. And to Forrester’s credit, the FUD tactic does work, preying upon confused marketers.

Facebook made an announcement that they’d curtail overly promotional posts. This is not news, people.
All along, Facebook has said they will penalize marketers who are spamming the system– to bombard users with adverts and silly cat photos.

Would you not expect Facebook to do what’s right for the user and consistently stay true to this?

If anything, the big news would be if Facebook were to sell out, to auction off user data to the highest bidder. Oops, sorry– that would be MySpace and the other networks who failed, trading early profits for long-term user exodus.

Google has the same modus operandi. With search marketers, they advise to put out what truly deserves to rank for that keyword, as opposed to trying to manipulate the robots via a river of cardboard content and questionable link schemes.

So when Google makes announcements that they’ve improved their algorithm to weed out the spammers, there are two reactions.

  1. The folks who shamelessly shill run for cover, as their schemes are exposed. They will need new contrivances, like hermit crabs scurrying for the next shell.
  2. The marketers who are truly doing something special, instead of relying upon gimmicks, don’t lose a minute of sleep. The algos not only don’t hurt them, they benefit from it.

So the fact that Facebook is growing up and is able to improve users’ newsfeeds to have content they’re more likely to engage with– should that scare you?
Did it scare you when Google said that if you want more than organic traffic that you’d have to advertise?

You’ll face this same issue with every network that gets to scale- Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Apple, and so forth.
So sit down for a second and think hard about your response.

You have 3 choices:

  1. Quick! blame someone else: Find someone like Nate at Forrester and hide behind them. It’s not your fault that digital is becoming more competitive and that networks aren’t going to hand you traffic on a silver platter. But that same time you spend in denial, you could spend in creating amazing experiences for your users, no matter the channel.
  2. Do nothing: The most common response is to keep doing what has always worked in the past. Cite the “Innovator’s Dilemma” or that you’re just plain too busy, don’t have budget, and don’t believe these new marketing channels are worth looking at. Your buggy whips won’t find buyers in tomorrow’s marketplace. You must be where your consumers are, as opposed to expect them to come find you and pry your hands open to give you money. With Facebook, you could be killing it with video, check-ins, and mobile apps. None of these require spending money, but amplifying your traffic does help.
  3. Test it: Don’t take someone else’s word for it. Many of the folks we work with are getting nice increases in traffic and sales on Facebook– and it’s not just media or sports teams. Some brands have been able to get away with posting tons of meme-like content that get insane organic reach with no ads. If it’s organic, who cares about the 20% text rule? Same has been true with Google’s warnings about linking, the value of on-page SEO, and guest posts. It may or may not be true. But at least investigate.

Someone told me that there are only 3 types of old people:

  • The senile ones that are constantly fumbling for their vital medication.
  • The bitter cranky ones that complain about everything.
  • The thoughtful, positive grandparent who is fun to be around.

In the same way, decide what kind of marketer you want to be now, since this lays the foundation for where you are as a senior business person.