Waltzing in the Social Media Ballroom
The Continual Dance of the Socialites
It’s no secret that search engine providers such as Google and Bing regularly change the criteria that places links at the top of the results page. Search engine optimization efforts dance around these shifting algorithms with regularity. Still, canny web masters can follow prescribed best practices to receive a high ranking. When social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter similarly decide to change the order and frequency with which your social media messages are displayed, there seems little recourse. Unlike search engine results, your messages can follow no best practice criteria. They will wind up on the bottom of the updates page, if they get displayed at all, simply by virtue of originating with your brand instead of an individual.
At the Whim of the Cyber-Giants
Anti-trust laws serve to prevent corporations from gaining a market position so dominant that other companies are effectively locked out of the niche. The fragmentation of the Bell Telephone Company into smaller companies exemplifies the type of protection this law is supposed to afford. No such regulation governs online social media, it is almost wholly driven by consumer response in the marketplace. The more dominant the market position of giants such as Facebook and Twitter, the more dependent companies become on a single service provider to distribute their brand message. Any social media strategy tied to a single provider this way becomes more vulnerable to the policies of the service provider and less responsive to movements within the consumer marketplace.
Don’t Hate the Dance, Change the Music
The social media providers may be able to change their rules at any time, but they still have to play by the rules they set. The key to controlling your social media strategy lies in leveraging your existing community to work within those rules. Your community is already your greatest ambassador. When you create content with real value, you enable that community to share your brand message on whatever social media platform they choose and still remain within the rules of the game. All of a sudden your brand message is valuable social content, not just another advertisement.
Dance, Cyber-Giants, Dance!
Now the tables have turned. Social media providers respond to the consumer marketplace just like everyone else. When that marketplace begins sharing your valuable message content, the social media providers have little choice but to enable their users. Your community is the source of your online strength and the backbone of your social media strategy. The social media giants soon begin to dance to your tune instead of writing their own playlist. It’s your online community that calls the music, and they know it.