We’ve all been there. You’ve been living in an apartment for a while, you paint the place, make some improvements, you start to get comfortable with your surroundings, and the place feels like it’s… yours.
And then you hear from the landlord about some kind of policy change that’s going into effect on Monday. Maybe the complex no longer allows dogs. Or perhaps parking restrictions are enforced, so your friends have to inconveniently park across the street. These are the edicts that can just materialize because you’re a tenant.
Well, that’s what continues to happen on Facebook. You may feel like you own your station (or personal) page because you’ve diligently gathered thousands of “likes,” you lovingly post your best stuff, and you’re simply on it all the time conversing with your fans.
But the reality is that Facebook is purely “rental” property – and you’re just another tenant. And you’re not paying them a dime to spend time there and help build your social brand. In the digital panorama of sources – from your website to your database to your podcasts – Facebook is not yours.
Mark Zuckerberg is the owner/landlord, and he has very succinct ideas about how his property is to be used and managed. He’s “into” appearance and he is a stickler about policies that promote relationships and connections, while disdaining hype and shouting.
And last Wednesday was a reminder of that reality. The very first “Facebook Marketing Conference” took place throughout the entire afternoon. And changes are being instituted in the way that brands will use Facebook. There will be a lot written about the Timeline feature, but there are other new wrinkles within the Facebook empire that are more telling about where this space is headed.
Just a few weeks ago, I speculated about how these changes might be instituted, suggesting at the time that Facebook could start levying fees on the number of “likes” that brands accrue. After all, “hoarding likes” is something that most radio stations (and other brands) love to do.
So it was interesting to read this quote from Ben Winkler, chief digital officer at OMD (part of the Omnicom Media Group), in The New York Times: “The more fans we have, the more we pay. The Facebook platform is undeniably incredible, but we must acknowledge that our customer relationships there are not owned – they’re rented. That reality must color how our clients engage with their customers and their customers’ data.”
That’s why we continue to remind our clients that it is not about the quantity of people who click “like” on your page. In the eyes of Mark Zuckerberg, it’s the quality of relationships you create and nurture in this space. And now it’s going to cost you to achieve viable reach.
Throughout the last couple of years, radio (and other businesses) have pushed forward, looking for ways to “monetize Facebook” and generate revenue from brand pages. Wednesday’s conference suggests that all of that is about to change, especially the idea that brands have a free ride on Facebook.
Facebook introduced the Reach Generator feature (not to be confused with the Flux Capacitor). Up to now, most brands have only been able to reach an average of about 16% of their fans (for radio, it’s even lower). Now Facebook offers brands the opportunity to purchase a packaged solution to reach all those fans (they’re guaranteeing 75%) with an “always on” feature that automatically distributes your post to your fans.
This is just the beginning. As brands tackle their 360° digital strategies, understanding how they can use the channels they “rent” to feed the assets they “own” is key.
Facebook is pushing brands to tell stories.
Facebook is urging brands to up their games with posts that entertain and connect.
If you want to reach all your fans on Facebook, you’ll have to pay the owner.
Facebook is the owner.
Mark Zuckerberg is the landlord.