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Has Facebook Become a Content Publisher Instead of a Community?

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At the outset of 2014, we unveiled our 2014 Social Media Guide. While discussing the new trends and solutions to live by, we covered some of the exciting developments and updates in the realm of Facebook. Later on, in March, we revisited the Facebook scene with two information-packed blogs: one about the new Facebook Paper and another about Google+ overtaking Facebook. Here we are on the brink of June, six months into 2014, and we’re checking back in with Facebook. Why the check-in? There’s an important question to cover—one that affects how and why you use the Facebook social media platform: has the blue giant of social media become a content publisher instead of a community?

Community vs. Content Publisher, What’s the Difference?

When Facebook came onto the social media scene, brands and businesses saw a pointed focus: building communities. The platform catered to different community tastes, too. You could build a community by opening a group or page. Now you can even earn a following on your very own personal profile if you dislike the group and page options.

Community was all about building a following—a group of folks who hung on your every update, followed you in their news feeds and made it a point to participate in the discussions generated on your page or in your group. And let’s face it, a lot of ‘liking’ went on and still goes on.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “it’s time for marketers to treat Facebook as the publisher it has become.” That’s right; Facebook is now being called a content publisher. What’s the difference between community and content publisher? Simply put, community focuses on following, whereas a content publisher focuses on advertising.

Facebook: The Content Publisher

Facebook’s organic reach and heavy push toward video and advertising contribute to the blue giant’s new label. The Content Marketing Institute confirms that experts and content marketers alike are agreeing: Facebook is the new content publisher on the block.

If you think about it, we saw significant signs of this shift back in March when Facebook Paper went live. In a bold and sweeping statement, which we covered in our Facebook Paper blog, the social media giant made it very apparent it wanted to be THE cyber go-to place for news. According to Mashable, after completing a spectacular $16-billion acquisition of WhatsApp (a mobile messaging company), Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made the following announcement at the Mobile World Congress: “We want to create a dial tone for the Internet.”

The next question on our minds is straightforward: how will Facebook’s organic reach, video strategy and advertising outlook affect you? The answer depends on if you’ve already invested time and effort into building a Facebook presence or not.

For Those with a Built Facebook Presence:

If you’ve already invested a substantial amount of time building your Facebook presence, chances are you have a good-sized following. The last thing you want to do is leave your community high and dry. It’s no secret that Facebook’s organic reach has dramatically impacted your ability to reach out, especially to new audiences.

The best way to manage Facebook is to follow three simple tips. We found these tips via the Content Marketing Institute:

  1. Get better at creating and publishing newsworthy content, the kind that’s worthy of and demands attention.
  2. Pay to play (pay for ads and sponsored posts).
  3. Shift your messaging burden to your customers and/or employees.

For Those Just Starting To Use Facebook:

The advice from content marketers is bold and blatant: start building your community elsewhere. If you’re just starting to use Facebook or haven’t invested much time into building a community, the Content Marketing Institute advices heading to the Google+ camp instead.

Using Facebook and Social Media in the Future

Since we started compiling social media, content marketing and copy strategy guides for 2014, we’ve preached this year is the year of mobile. Google and social media have grown ever more compatible with mobile devices and websites holding and gaining ranking are sparing no expense in mobile compatibility. It’s not surprising the Content Marketing Institute has also pushed the need to publish mobile content.

Successfully using Facebook and social media in the future depends on two anchors: publishing noteworthy, attention grabbing content and publishing mobile-friendly content.

As you step boldly into the new frontier, we’d like to leave you with some pointers for publishing the kind of mobile content that will grow your brand:

  • Make your content compatible with mobile devices. The goal is to make your content—from your website to your social media—look good on a small screen. The idea is to create versatility so that no matter which social media app or mobile device your audience uses, they can see eye-appealing, easy-to-navigate and functional content.
  • Create newsworthy content. From social media shout outs to blogs, the key to success is creating newsworthy content. Reaching a large audience on Facebook now depends on either sponsoring a post, trusting your audience to spread the word or buying ad space. Your content won’t go viral if it isn’t newsworthy.
  • Create video ads. Depending on the size of your Facebook following, you may find it beneficial to include video ad creation and pay to plays in your budget. Video ads have taken flight. And with so many users frequenting the blue social media giant, sponsoring a video or paying for ad space may be a viable means of staying visible to followers while simultaneously reaching out to new people.

There’s no doubt that Facebook has changed since its inception. From community creator to content publisher, it’s still a viable social platform that holds prime Internet real estate—particularly for advertisers and marketers. It won’t be surprising if we see other social media platforms, such as Instagram, follow the path Facebook is forging. So instead of jumping ship, spend some time learning how to best navigate the new waters.

About the author

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Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.

7 Comments

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  • After panda update the importance of social media sites has been increased,due to which it became one of the biggest platform for social media marketer.

  • yes its hard to build a new following on facebook, but its impossible not to be on facebook… its the primary driver of traffic

  • Facebook is the part of our daily life. the updating is good on Facebook. Thank you for Julia Spence for this nice share

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