Algorithm updates again at the beginning of 2018. Facebook is making it harder for me to reach my audience, and to succeed in content marketing.
What?! And YouTube is making monetization more difficult as well? Thank you guys.
I already know that those are businesses that need to make money. And they work day and night to make their free users happier, and their paying users pay more.
However, my problem is that the efforts that I do every time those algorithms change, are useless. I keep chasing my shadow.
And this proves everyday that my mindset shift was in the right direction.
I will succeed in content marketing no matter what
I switched from focusing on getting customers through paid promotions on Google and Facebook, to providing value first.
It is obvious that searching for value in terms of solutions to problems, is not going anywhere. Because from my point of view, the purpose of the internet is to spread information around the world, not spam ads or emails.
And at the same time, Google’s main mission is to organize the world’s information, and make it universally accessible and useful. So, it seems clear that informative & useful pieces of content that really help people to solve their problems, beats useless social media posts every time.
So, let’s answer some questions first to remove confusions.
Why Facebook keeps changing the algorithm?
On the surface, Facebook keeps fighting SPAM and click-bait posts. And tries to prevent them completely from showing in the news feed.
They keep listening to their free users, who are their real users who made them profitable.
How come the free users are profitable?
If you don’t already know, paid advertising is what causes Facebook to be this hugely profitable company. And marketers who want to promote products and services keep looking for audience.
So, Facebook is the gold mine for marketers. And with the continuous improvements on ad targeting, it is a great place for businesses to promote their products to already interested audience.
However, to keep free users base engaging and growing on Facebook, it has to improve the users experience.
Since 2006, Facebook keeps doing their best to show posts that users are really interested in, while demoting the posts that gets lower interest or engagement. And one of these post types is posts from business pages.
Users showed interest during the years to read and engage with posts from family and friends, over posts from business pages.
These posts normally share some information about a service or product, or even provide some value through tips and tricks and so on. But usually not something interesting or intimate, that regular users like me and you want to see more often.
So finally in 2018, they changed the algorithm to promote meaningful interactions between people, instead of just showing relevant content that users may not want in their news feed.
And as a consequence to this change, businesses now are having hard time to reach their audience organically, and succeed in content marketing. Not their potential audience, but the audience they already have on their business pages.
I really assume that in the near future, paid ad pricing will greatly increase. And the ads criteria will force marketers to promote value and meaningful pieces of content, instead of just promoting a product or service.
Facebook kept changing and updating the algorithm since 2006, and it will keep doing so to grow the user base and engagement, while increasing the cost of advertising to make more money.
So, what about Google?
Why Google keeps changing its algorithms?
Google on the other hand is a free search engine. You can pay your way up in the search results using Google Adwords. But if you really provide valuable and high quality content on your blog, you will normally reach page one of Google search results for relevant keywords organically. Then you will succeed in content marketing for free.
They keep changing the algorithm as well. However, Google aims for showing high quality content to the people who search for solutions to their problems or answers to their questions. These people need real value and they are intentionally looking for it. And this is free for both people who search and people who provide valuable content.
So, it is good that Google is preventing the low quality content from showing up in their “free search engine”. Because lots of websites are following black-hat methods to trick google algorithm.
No one is visiting Google search engine to get news about friends and family, they are looking for value and here it is.
Facebook on the other hand is claiming that it wants people to “meaningfully” interact with each others, without the distraction of business posts. So why are they keeping the paid posts? To make money obviously not to help people!
Your blog and an email list vs. a social media page
So, now when you compare your Facebook fans page to your blog and emails list. Which one wins?
If you are looking for quick but temporary wins, you can go for Facebook page only.
On your page, you will get likes and comments and hopefully shares on your posts in the same day you post them.
But do you even know the email addresses of people interacting with your posts? Can you reach all of your fans every time you share a new post?
Did you notice the number showing the reachability below each post you add? I am pretty sure you know that “15 people reached” is not the actual number of your Facebook page fans.
And as I said earlier, it is getting harder and more expensive to reach your audience.
So, I believe that we are all fed up. If I want to reach my audience, who already showed interest in my topic, it should be a few clicks away. And without paying for it.
This is where an email list helps to succeed in content marketing!
When you create a nice blog with valuable content serving a certain audience, then collect the email addresses of visitors already interested in your topics, you are building a real and a reachable fan base.
How to use social media now?
Here is what I decided to do moving forward.
If I want to share some value with my existing social media audience, I copy valuable pieces of content from the blog posts I already published. Then post them on my Facebook page, preferably with a link to the actual blog post.
And if I want to get new people to visit my blog, I post a URL on my Facebook page, and promote it to the people likely to visit my blog. I don’t target people to like my page or even engage with the post.
If people eventually engage with the posts no problem, but the main ad target will always be to visit my blog.
I keep watching videos and listen to podcasts of social media gurus, that I truly respect. They insist on pitching the concept of changing strategies, and adapting with the changes of social media algorithms to succeed in content marketing, but sorry, I will not follow that.
If my efforts stay rewarding, then no problem. But the issue is that I lose all the gains I have got with every algorithm change.
Let me explain.
On one of my brands social media page, I kept sharing posts, promoting them with Facebook ads and paying a lot of money. It kept eating my budget just to reach a certain number of fans.
I was hoping that when I promote my page or its posts to increase the number of fans, I will be able to reach them or even a nice portion of them for free.
But the algorithm kept changing against my favor until 2018. And now I realize that shortly I will not be able to reach any of my Facebook fans for free. I will have to pay and the advertising prices will keep increasing by time with every Facebook algorithm update.
So, there is no point increasing the number of Facebook fans if they aren’t reachable. I will not pay twice, once to make people like my page, and another time to make them read my posts. No way!
So here is my advice to you on how to use social media now to succeed in content marketing.
They need more money, give them what they want, and make the most out of it. The next time you try to reach new audience, write a valuable blog post, share it on your Facebook page and choose the ad target or goal to be website visits, nothing else.
Focus on each platform purpose
The same online marketing gurus keep insisting on short term goals instead of long term ones.
They push everyone to post everywhere, upload videos on every platform and pay ads to promote their content on them.
Because they think that we should be trend followers. And those same guys are focusing more on driving awareness to their brands over providing real value to their audience.
So here is the deal.
If you want to follow trends, do that. But know well that trends keep changing, always disappear and they are not long term.
But if you want to get real audience who need to get real value, focus on the strength of each platform. Don’t mix things up man.
YouTube is for video, Facebook is for sharing value in visual and text format and Twitter is for sharing quotes or pieces of wisdom.
These platforms will keep competing each others to dominate the market, but there will be always one core competitive advantage. There will be always one main strength.
Even if YouTube and other platforms are saturated, nothing can compete with high quality content that solves a real problem that people have.
If YouTube is the platform for video, then distracting yourself to add videos on Facebook watch is just following the trend. This is just my opinion.
So let’s summarize the only way to succeed in content marketing moving forward
Stop the nonsense, fight low quality content and make the internet a better place.
A bit cliche? I don’t care.
People on the internet have no time for nonsense. The attention span is so short and will keep becoming shorter. So, you have to be authentic in providing value on your website, help people first, and they will eventually help your business to succeed.
To succeed in content marketing use social media and google in your favor, and don’t follow short lived trends.
People forget because there are lots of distractions, and if they know you today because of a huge trend, you will be buried under future trends that are bigger than yours.
The only thing that will not go anywhere, and will keep standing out from the crowd, is high quality content.
However, I understand that you can be a busy entrepreneur or an overwhelmed small business owner. And you really want to provide high quality content as your content marketing strategy. But, you don’t have time or resources.
This is why I have started my personal brand website, I can help you both ways. I provide tips on this blog that should be helpful to you on the long run, and I can take the load off your chest by writing for your blog. Read more about this here.
If you support or even don’t like my point of view, I will be happy to read and reply on your thoughts in the comments below.