Facebook recently announced some big changes coming to their News Feed algorithm which will impact brands of all sizes. And as the social ecosystem of “experts” broke down, blogged about, and summarized their thoughts on these changes, what surprised me the most was how many marketers who claim to be knowledgeable in the space seemed shocked by the changes.
Facebook and other top social networks have been migrating toward a pay to play model for the last 3-5+ years, and in that time we've been warning our marketers, brands, our clients and social media training academy students to stop building their business on rented Facebook land. It's risky business.
It should be no shock to anyone that the social networks have no choice but to attempt to at least slow down the mounds of content overload and spam which is ruining the end user experience.
Will 2018 be the year that marketers and business leaders finally wake up and realize social media, content and digital marketing is not simply about creating more and more content? Will it be the year that the majority finally learns that quality over quantity is what wins not only in the short term but also the long term?
It's not only about the current sprint on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Instead the focus should be on building a sustainable business, and an integrated platform which can endure the shifts and changes, both big and small.
How did we get here?
How did we get to this place where small businesses, and even large organizations with limited budgets (and declining sales), believe that they need to post 5, 10, 15 times a day across multiple social networks? Why do they spend time on social networks where their target customer isn't even engaged?
Did this mentality come from the days of black hat SEO, Facebook algorithm changes, corrupt agencies and consultants dealing bad advice - or something in between?
It seems the louder the social web gets, and the more that social networks such as Facebook and Twitter tighten down their algorithms, requiring more engaging, interesting and meaningful content, the higher the volume is turned up from brands of all sizes. The louder it gets, the more junk content that gets pushed out and splattered on the social walls like, much content spaghetti.
This junk content shows up in the form of live videos which ramble on, providing little value. It also shows up in status updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it appears in Instagram and Snapchat stories and clickbait that consistently over promises and under delivers.
And of course, you can't forget all of the beautiful, visual social media posts which are being posted to every social network on a daily basis. Marketers think, and make themselves believe, “well, these beautiful visual images can't be spam, even though I post them 10 times a day… because they are absolutely beautiful.”
The last thing your target, dream and ideal customer needs from you is more content.
Content overload is happening on every social network, communications and marketing channel.
Heck, all we have to do is wake up every morning, open our eyes and we practically see and hear content. I can lay in bed and yell out to my “Alexa” for just about anything I need.
I can grab my iPhone and ask Siri any question I have, and within seconds she'll show me 3-10 blog posts, articles or videos answering my exact question.
It's not more content people want.
It's not more rambling 'blah blah blah' live video people want.
It's not more visual quotes or how to blog posts people want.
It's time to take a moment to consider what people actually need.
What does your customer want?
So what content does your ideal dream customer, community and audience need from you?
How do you answer this question?
The first thing you need to do is learn about your customer.
I can't answer this question for you in this one single blog post, however, I can tell you that in 2018 you have to take an audience-based approach to your marketing, social media, content marketing, and everything in between.
If you don't know your audience, and serve them what they want and need from you, you're guaranteed to lose them at 'hello'.
As you develop your social media, digital, content marketing and branding strategy for 2018, you need to take audience-based approach.
It's time to focus and deliver value, it's time to get in the head of your customer. What do they think? What do they want? What do they need from you and why?
How are you going to help them solve their greatest problems? How are you going to serve them something unique that they can't get from every other blog post, podcast, video or email blast already sitting in the palm of their hand?
If you are struggling with achieving your goals and a positive ROI on your investment in online marketing, it's time you start working smarter.
Stop following the herd, stop trusting every blog post, podcast and video you listen to, stop looking over the fence at your competition and copying what they do.
Instead, start spending time with and researching your ideal dream customer.
Inspire them. Entertain them. Connect with them in a human way. Help them achieve their goals.
Serve them immense value, and you'll have the keys in your hand that can free you from building your business on rented Facebook land.
Less is truly more. 2018 is the year all marketers must learn and embrace this mindset.
A version of this post was first published on Pam Moore's blog.