Facebook Unfriended the News (and You Should Care) February 26, 2021 Facebook made a monumental decision to shut down the news in Australia this week. All content from all news sites, including public and commercial broadcasters, broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, magazines, websites, and even government departments such as the Bureau of Meteorology and Department of Health, evaporated literally overnight. This is a big deal. As you’d expect, it was politically charged. We’re not going to dive into the details here, but to give you a general overview, a number of local news companies have been demanding Facebook pay for hosting news content, claiming the company profits from their work. The ban was lifted after a few days, following further talks between Mark Zuckerberg and the government. “Okay, but how does this affect my small or medium-sized American business,” we hear you asking. Good question. The reason we’re bringing this up is because it shows the importance of having a multi-faceted marketing strategy. Facebook is a commercial entity, which means it has the right to host – or not host – any content it chooses. It can change the rules at any time. If Facebook posts and Facebook Ads are your sole strategy for growing business, it’s time to consider diversifying to ensure your business can continue to grow with or without it. Worried about what this means for you? Talk to our team. Will Facebook shut down my business page? The circumstances that led to this week’s drama are unique to Australia, and unlikely to occur on such a large scale in the United States (although if this week has proven anything, it’s to never say never). On top of that, if you’re a paying customer who uses Facebook Ads to drive leads for your business, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be targeted and shut down. Facebook profits from your business, and it’s unlikely to give up this revenue stream. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be protected from all sweeping rule changes that are rolled out in the future… even just on accident. This isn’t something you should panic about. However, when Facebook banned news in Australia, it took many micro publishers with it – all of whom run small and medium-sized business. The sweeping changes didn’t worry about any of the little guys that would be taken out as collateral damage. That’s worth keeping in the back of your mind, because you never know that will happen in the future. This also sets an interesting precedent for future negotiations between Facebook and governments. As a global community, we’ve come to depend on Facebook for lots of things. it’s where we catch up with friends and family, plan high school reunions, organize events, promote businesses, create brands, build audiences, buy and sell items, learn about things that are going on in our communities. If it was taken away tomorrow, we’d all be in a pretty sticky situation. File that thought away in your mental archives as well – just in case. That brings us to the reason we’re writing this blog. Many small and medium-sized American businesses rely on heavily on Facebook for their marketing. And so they should, because it’s a tremendously powerful platform with excellent targeting and analytics capabilities. It generates great results and can play a key role in helping your business grow, scale, and thrive. That’s what we want! Our goal in writing this today is to educate you about all the options that are available to diversify your marketing strategy so you can take control, protect yourself from snap decisions, and make sure you never lose touch with your digital client base. Think of it as a great way to broaden your digital horizons, We offer a range of digital marketing services. You can check them out here. How can I diversify my marketing strategy? This is where things get exciting. New marketing tools are popping up all the time, which makes digital marketing a really exciting space to be investing your time and energy. Here are some of our favorites: Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is great for a number of reasons: It’s free.It’s incredibly effective. Short-Tail Keywords SEO basically refers to the process of making sure your content can be found on search engines. This means adding digital “signposts” that will tell sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo what your content is about. There are a few ways you can go about it, but the most important one by far is to optimize your website. For example, if you’re a HVAC contractor, you need to make it clear exactly what it is that you do – these are what we call “short-tail keywords.” This means including every combination of words people are likely to search to find your services: furnace repairs, furnace maintenance, new furnaces, boiler repairs, boiler maintenance, new boilers, etc. If you’re a medical spa, you need to do the same: Botox, lip fillers, face fillers, Juvéderm fillers, and so on. This is key to generating leads. Long-Tail Keywords The second thing you should be doing is creating a stream of fresh content. Most businesses do this via blogs, because blogs are another effective way to answer commonly searched questions. For example, “How do I re-light a furnace pilot light?” or “What is the right age to start Botox?” These are called “long-tail keywords” because they use what’s essentially a searchable phrase. The best place to start is with your frequently asked questions. What do customers ask you all the time? Brainstorm a list, and then write details answers that are about 600-800 words long. Google My Business Google My Business is another free tool that we highly recommend. You know when you search a business in your area, e.g. “mechanic near me” or “restaurant near me” and they all pop up on Google Maps? That’s because they all have profiles on Google My Business. Or when you search for a specific business, e.g. “HeatSource Mechanical,” and an information panel pops up on the right-hand side of your screen? That happens for the same reason. It makes leads very easy to find. All you have to do is log in and claim your profile. You can do that by clicking on this link, or we’d be very happy to help you our with our Google My Business + Maps service. It’s well worth the effort. Digital Advertising If you’re still reading, chances are you’re currently running Facebook Ads and you’d like to think about some alternatives. There are lots of options available, including Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and YouTube Ads, just to name a few. Each one has different strengths, which we’ll explain below. Google Ads Google Ads is the most diverse, allowing you to target (and retarget) really specific groups of people within the community according to the things they’re actively searching. It’s based on a bidding system, where you set the limit you’re willing to pay per click, and it can be efficient and cost-effective because you’re only targeting interested people instead of the general public. LinkedIn Ads LinkedIn is great if you offer a B2B product or service, because it’s a professional networking community focused on work. It’s not something we recommend to everyone, but in this right context, it can be very powerful. LinkedIn is great for increasing brand awareness in business circles which can be a great way to generate inquiries that lead into bigger deals. YouTube Ads If your product is so revolutionary it has to be seen to be believed, or if it’s a complex service that’s best explained in person, YouTube is the place to be. Video ads are very compelling because they show, rather than tell, people exactly why they should choose to work with your business. YouTube is popular with many demographics, but especially with young men aged 18-35, so that’s also something to keep in mind. You may be able to use that to your advantage. Reducing your reliance on Facebook All of the strategies we’ve set out in this blog are things you can do on your own without too much trouble. However, if you’re short on time or you don’t enjoy researching the different options and weighing up the pros and cons, we’d be happy to help you. We are a full-service digital marketing agency that can take care of everything from developing a strategy to creating a new website, optimizing your paid ads, and managing your social media accounts. Just let us know what you need and we can tailor a digital marketing solution to help your business continue to grow. Want to talk business? Let’s get started.