This is a shocker, indeed. I don’t mean that I used the big “O” word in the title. I mean how the script is unfolding.
Facebook is trying to eat away at Google’s search hegemony. Meanwhile, Google has been laser-focused on toppling Facebook’s social network dominance.
It’s just like a classic movie showdown!
But every now and then two rivals meet at a climactic point in the script, engage in hand-to-hand combat, and…get distracted. They smell each others’ hair. They touch each others’ skin. They look into each others’ eyes.
But rarely do we see one of the rivals give the other an orgasm. Perhaps Hollywood is more family-friendly than social media after all.
In case you have been hiding under a rock this past week, Facebook “announced”:
“We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”
This has not sat well with the many, many online small businesses who are among the most voracious users of social media. Here are a few samplings I have read this week of reactions to this news:
- Mary Green reports that How Facebook is Killing The Small Business Fanpage.
- Mike Alton makes the case Why You Should Opt Out of Facebook Advertising.
- Janelle Vreeland reports that Brands Are Losing Organic Visibility on Facebook.
- Carol Lynn Rivera is “calling B.S.”: Facebook Marketing For Small Business: Dying Or Already Dead?
- Mari Smith’s fans figure they’ll be pulling back from FaceBook.
To sum it up, if a person “likes” your page on Facebook and wants to receive your updates that way, tough luck. For them, and for you. Chances are they will very rarely see those updates.
As a user, I actually like that. Just because I “like” something, doesn’t mean I want updates. In fact, I might like something because a friend recommends it or because there is a contest or some other incentive, and the last thing I want is to have all that commercial stuff blocking updates from friends, inspiring mini-posters and those crucial lol-cats.
But from a marketer’s perspective, after investing huge amounts of time and money building up a “likes” arsenal, it totally sucks. 100 percent. Let this serve as yet another warning – I laid it out in Who Owns Your Twitter Account? and in 2011 Social Media Fail of the Year – you don’t own the work you invest in someone else’s website.
Google “Likes” Facebook
So Facebook is neutering your “likes”.
And Google really likes that.
Well, it looks like Google’s long history of trial and error is finally over, and the question most of the way through 2013 has been whether Google Plus could do to Facebook what Facebook did to MySpace. (Don’t get me wring – MySpace is still big, especially in certain niches. But it is “big” only if it isn’t in the same room as Facebook.)
A year ago, Google Plus already had some impressive stats, having passed Twitter in total number of “active” users, but still with only half the number of Facebook.
Dreamgrow published the following graph showing the trends up to March of 2013, and as you can see, Google still had not broken out of the pack as far as actual usage by US users is concerned.
According to Jeff Bullas, Google Plus is closing in on Facebook, at least as far as the number of users and active users is concerned, but still had quite a way to go before catching up as of March.
I wish I could find some more recent stats, but I can’t. However, over the past six months, I have seen traffic from Google Plus increase, not just to my sites but to others’, as well. And the engagement going on now has hit fever pitch with all the circle sharing going on (Yes, drop me a line if you want to include me in a circle share; I would love to join the party.).
So, to cut through the blah-blah-blah, Google Plus is storming the palace gates and what does Facebook do? Facebook opens the gates. If small businesses move from Facebook to Google Plus for their marketing, and at the same time bring their personal social networking over, it could just be enough to create a neck-in-neck race.
In the world of social media spectator sports, 2014 promises to be a year full of oohs and ahs. And one big social media “O”.Written by David Leonhardt
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