The recent downturn in the number of Facebook Business Page posts showing up on fan’s news feeds (Facebook says 6-15% of your fans will see one of your posts) has been alarming to people who have used Facebook as their main marketing medium. Now we hear that Google may be scaling back Google+, their social media play aimed at competing with Facebook, started about five years ago. The Huffington Post reports the project leader of Google+, Vic Gundotra, has left the company and many of the top people at Google+ have been moved to other projects.
The message here is don’t build your house on rented land. You never know when the landlord may change the rules and you will be homeless. This is true for any medium – Google search, YouTube, other social media sites, even more traditional media like direct mail and the Yellow Pages. Relying on one medium is not going to be a successful long-term marketing strategy.
As I said in my first book, “Online Marketing 101”, small businesses need to build a relevant Web site as the solid foundation for their online presence – you own your web site. Chances are if your hosting provider went out of business you could easily move your site to another host (you do have a backup of your site, don’t you?).
Your Web site needs to have outbound links to YouTube and all of your social media properties and must have a blog that you update on the regular basis. This Web site serves as the hub of your online presence. You build around the hub with social media, review sites, industry sites, and other online connections. If any one or two of these were to disappear it won’t have a big effect on you total online presence.
I don’t recommend bailing out of your Facebook strategy right now. There is still a lot of opportunity to grow your business on Facebook. But you’re going to have to start paying for it, much like you do for other media. Facebook advertising is easy to do and right now I’m seeing good returns on marketing investment using Facebook. Facebook advertising is much like Google Adwords was ten years ago. Learn how to use Facebook advertising and start spending some money if you want to continue to grow. Facebook provides some great instructional content for this or watch this short video to get started.
I also think you should stick with Google+ for the time being. I’ve never dug into Google+ like I have with YouTube, Facebook, and Linkedin. When I was at Social Media Marketing World in March the predictions were this was going to be the year of Google+. Based on recent events that may not be the case. But Google+is still Google and everyone wants to be on page one of Google and Google+ is one way to help you get there.
Just don’t build your house on rented land.