It’s been several months since brands have come to realize that they are no longer going to be able to reach their customers or fans organically on Facebook. For companies, Facebook, with it’s 1.3 billion users has become a big advertising platform with some great targeting tools rather than a social network.
What does this mean for your customer community strategy and for community managers’ day to day responsibilities?
- Having to pay to reach your customers means that Facebook is more likely to become a promotional and customer acquisition channel rather than a customer engagement channel where you are trying to develop the customer to customer and brand to customer relationships.
- Primary responsibility for Facebook is likely to fall under marketing or the part of marketing tasked with driving revenue from new customers.
- Community managers should look to find ways to move customers from Facebook to other engagement and community platforms. Think of Facebook as a way to recruit community members but give them a home where you don’t have to pay to interact with them.
Et tu, Twitter?
Twitter is a great community channel. It’s lively, fast-paced and most importantly does not impede virality by filtering out posts. However, this might change soon.
Recently, Twitter executives have talked about moving towards algorithm-based curation of feeds to surface more relevant content. Cynics might also say that this gives them the opportunity to suppress tweets from company Twitter accounts unless they pay. Community managers should keep a close eye on developments in this area and prepare a contingency plan if Twitter’s organic reach suddenly declines in the same way that it did at Facebook. It shouldn't come as a surprise if other social networks follow this same path.
The big social networks’ desire to grow ad revenue might put them at odds with your goal of engaging existing customers and developing a community on those platforms. While social networks remain great for acquisition and inbound support requests, consider focusing community building on platforms that you own and/or can control.