Stop creating Facebook pages, Start building websites instead

 

Stop creating facebook pages start building websites Digital Marketing Digital Defynd

What a dumb thing to say, you might say. How can you compare a website with a facebook page, that’s like Apples and Oranges. But this is such an interesting and deep topic, that we need to begin from the beginning.

Around 6-7 years ago, the facebook bug bit everybody. It was this new cool looking platform that was much fancier than the likes of MySpace or Orkut. More importantly, its time had come. The internet was growing at a good pace, people were looking to ‘connect’ and facebook happened. We logged on and no one ever looked back.

Then brands got pages, Fans converted into Likes. Advertising opened up. Companies acquired thousands, millions of likes, whom they thought were subscribers, just like you have them in email. They were right then, they are wrong now. Facebook reach over time has decreased. It has decreased so badly that it is derogatory to use the term decrease to signify what has happened. There are brands with lakhs of fans, and the average reach for something they post is around a few thousand. That’s not even the 10% reach that a lot of people assume the reach to be. Organic reach is down, it’s practically dead. Brands get to make their content reach out to only 1-5% of their fans. That’s like saying, that if you spent Rs 5 at acquiring every fan and you now have 1,00,000 fans, then you have effectively spent around Rs 5,00,000 to reach out to around 5,000 people(considering reach to be 5%) with every post. That hurts.

While part of the blame lies with facebook, brands are to be blamed as well. Facebook kept asking brands to focus on engagement, discussion, community, but brands kept focusing on branding, sales and more sales. What most brands don’t understand is that facebook’s algorithm has over time penalized them heavily and made their reach become lower. But most brands haven’t paid heed to that and have found an easy alternative to keep themselves happy, Boost post(using which in itself is flawed, considering most people do it from the page itself, but more about that later).

So this is where we stand. You have either spent the money and don’t organically get to reach out to fans. Or you haven’t spent any money, don’t have any fans, and naturally don’t reach out to anybody. Either way, you are stuck. Facebook pages are still extremely helpful, relevant and perhaps the backbone of most organisations’ social media strategy, but if you put all your virtual eggs in the e-basket of facebook, then sooner or later, you are surely going to suffer. Move out, get out, and think afresh. Start from scratch in terms of understanding what can you do better, how can you engage fans, what do people like. Now while a lot of answers will come to your mind right from LinkedIn to twitter to Instagram(Do read 10 Instagram tips to make your campaign rock), one suggestion I’d personally like to make is building a website and making it grow. Might sound like the most boring idea in town, but there’s a logic behind it, so let me explain.

Social Media is easy.

You see what has happened over the past few years is that we have all got comfortable with easy. Social Media, primarily is easy, and that’s why everybody does it. Now the more people got used to easy, the more they forgot the basics. For instance, building a website. So let’s say, you did a wonderful campaign on facebook 2 years ago, and a fan of yours wants to access it. Can s/he do it easily? No, because social media doesn’t work that way. It’s more like Snapchat, things vanish after a point(They don’t really, but you get the point). A website on the other hand stores all information at one place and also allows Google to keep crawling and tracking it slowly. What you get after many months and years is a content repository that is not just relevant today, but will be useful tomorrow as well. You get a collection of posts and blogs that can be re-purposed, reused, re-promoted and more. The thing is, that if you slowly  build a website, then it can eventually do wonders for you. Your website is in your hands, you control it, you define the content, you find numerous ways to reach out to your fans. No third party controlling what happens to it, nobody determining where your subscribers go. If you carefully nurture it over time, then it grows in SEO, if you write great articles on it, then you get multiple people to share it too.

Despite those reasons why most people shy away from making one grow, is because a) They either don’t know how to build one b) A wordpress or any other blogging platform doesn’t look as easy to master. Only if we move over our inhibitions and work hard towards going back to making beautiful websites for brands, can we succeed in owning and becoming better at our online campaigns. What is more important is that a website enables us to track a lot of behavioral traits of a user, right from visiting patterns to using cookie tracking for retargeting or capturing email ids for custom targeting on facebook(soon enough on google) or the plain old email marketing, which if done well can work wonders for you.

So you do need a facebook page, you do need to build it too, the same way you need all other social media profiles too, but more importantly, you need a good strong website at the back end. Facebook pages will grow, virality will happen, reach will dwindle but over time facebook might as well give up on you. Your website, on the other hand, it stays with you; you can change it the way you want and get users to engage the way you like. Use facebook to reach out to people, invest in it to promote your brand, but don’t let facebook become the backbone of your entire online marketing campaign.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like reading Its time to migrate from the city of Facebook.

Digital Marketing Industry – Everybody knows something, nobody knows everything

Nobody knows everything Prateek Shah Digital Defynd Digital Marketing Industry

I say this with a fair amount of confidence after having interacted with possibly more than a thousand Digital Marketing professionals from India and some other countries. The truth about the digital marketing industry is that everybody knows something, nobody knows everything.

To understand why we are where we are, it is important to understand how this industry came into being. Let us see who constitutes the industry.

– The web development industry of the 90s – The early risers, these guys set the base for the internet revolution in the region. Google was new, and they latched on. They were the early adopters of SEO and SEM. While many also happened to do some bit of SEO and SEM along with web development, there were some who made the switch full time – The first set of Digital Marketing Professionals.

– The ad and PR agencies of the 2000s – PR and Advertising industry don’t exactly go hand in hand, but there is one thing that binds them both – High Paying Clients. Some of these clients suddenly started demanding ‘Social Media Services’, which naturally lead to the creation of multiple social media wings within Ad and PR agencies, with many of these wings now having flown away to service clients on their own.

– The startups and the college kids – Now what is a good startup idea? One that makes you money and is easy to do! That’s social media right there for you. Brands had only started understanding the potential of this whole social media business, and many jumped on the bandwagon.

– The agency owners and the clients – Owing to them having started early and risen up thanks to their hard work; many people in this category happen to know more than many others. But don’t be mistaken, there are many brand managers, who are in positions of authority, handling multiple digital agencies but still just as unaware as some of the agencies themselves.

So that broadly gives you three set of people if we discount the creme de la creme – The SEO/SEM experts who know their tech, their website development and more; the Ad and PR professionals, with their gift of the gab and the art of creativity; and finally the young kids on the block, who are practically your social media champions by default since they live this stuff.

Now this presents an interesting problem when some of the agencies or the clients are looking to hire. They need not 3 people but one person who knows it all. But where is that person? Who are those people? How can there be many such people when most clients and brands themselves are only trying to figure out how all of this digital media works?

There are more jobs than takers. There is an immense need of experienced individuals, but unfortunately not enough experience. There is a lack of enough knowledge and awareness at possibly every node – the client, the agency and the executioners.

It’s the time to give chances, the time to offer people the opportunity to learn as they work for you, the time to make people grow along with you. Looking for the quintessential digital marketing professional right now is much like every guy looking for an Angelina Jolie or every girl wanting a Brad Pitt. It’s time to look for the will in people to learn, the hunger to grow and the passion to perform. You might make a mistake, and so might they, but if you keep waiting for long for the perfect candidate, then you are surely making one big mistake.

Digital Marketing – This industry blew out of proportion before people could catch up to it. Let us share, learn and grow : )