As many people are lamenting the change in Facebook algorithm that will likely impact many in the boating industry, it prompts a question in my mind. But, before we get to the question, here is the change that has the digital marketing world gossiping like a gaggle of teenagers.
Mark Zuckerberg – the founder and CEO of Facebook – made a long post on Jan. 11 stating, “We’re making major changes to how we build Facebook.” He goes on to state that they will be prioritizing content for “friends, families and groups.”
In essence, he goes on to state that brands (i.e. your boat business) will have less and less reach to their audience (which has been steadily declining for years). Meaning that you will have to pay, and likely pay more to get your posts seen by your target audience and fans of your page. So, that’s the change that is in the works as I write this line and likely already affecting your Facebook posts.
But what does it mean for us in the boating industry?
In my opinion, it means that you need to pay attention to the effort and dollars spent on Facebook (and other social media; you can bet Instagram won’t be far behind). It does not mean you should jump ship. It’s too valuable a platform when used properly. However, to continue on as you have or letting your vendors continue on without adjusting strategy and tactics will likely be costly.
Use Facebook, don’t be used by Facebook
You can really substitute any social media in that line above, because here is one of the major flaws of building your marketing messages on a media platform you do not control: eventually, that platform will change and you will be left holding the bag. It could be a change like this one or others in the past, or it could be a change like fading into irrelevance like Myspace did a decade ago.
That one reason is why the most stable and predictable strategies – like the SPLASH Systems my clients maintain via a 24/7 Selling Machine – are built on multiple media channels.
Many of the channels they control like relationship focused E-zines, boat previews, personalized emails, direct mail, phone calls, events, online video (on YouTube and their sites), and a strategic social media strategy as a leverage point for the content created for the other channels.
Take more control of marketing messages
One of the best ways to maintain control is to be diligent in building a list in your Customer Relationship Management system (LightSpeed, ThreeClix, Constant Contact, etc.), and communicate with them on a consistent and persistent basis with interesting, relevant, and educational content.
The other area that should be monitored and tested if not being used is Facebook’s ad platform. Whether you use the Ad Manager or Power Editor, Facebook ads are a powerful tool.
Now, I’m not talking about boosting a post with $50, I’m talking an actual ad that has more flexibility and power than any general post. If you haven’t created an ad, now may be the time to test it with a true lead generation approach to capture name and email, so you can add them to your 24/7 Selling Machine.
If you’d like an example of this type of approach, you can visit www.BoatSalesVendingMachine.com, where I’ll show you an example that is running right now.
Let’s close with a quote from a mentor of mine, Dan Kennedy. He says the worst number in business is one. Being reliant on only one product, one marketing strategy, one sales person, or one marketing platform can be very costly if something happens to that one key thing. And, given enough time, something will always happen.
Although my belief is a few smart adjustments to your marketing budget and plan will be in order, there is nothing too disruptive in this change. As a matter of fact, some in the industry will likely realize there was significant waste in their Facebook marketing plan and will be able to reallocate time and resources to a better strategy.
Which leads us to the challenge: This month’s challenge is a little different. Instead of a specific short-term task, I challenge you to prove your time and money investment in the way you are using Facebook. Ensure you are not busy doing Facebook, and confirm you are being effective using Facebook, or engaging your audience with a 24/7 selling machine via additional media.
Matt Sellhorst is the creator of the SPLASH System and committed to helping honest and ethical boat dealers, manufacturers and brokers sell more boats, make more money and have more fun. He is the author of two industry books; “Boat Dealer Profits: How the SPLASH System can help you sell more boats, make more money and have more fun” and “Marine Marketing Strategies.” Sellhorst is also host of the Boat Dealer Profits Podcast and Boat Dealer Profits TV channel. For more articles, videos, webinars packed with tips, tricks and tactics visit www.boatdealerprofits.com.