Facebook Changes Walk a Fine Line (again)

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR Firm

Facebook and change…

While it appears that this might come as a shocking revelation to many users, the social media juggernaut known as Facebook, is in business to (gasp!) make money!

But, this undeniable, and incredibly fair, fact does not deter users from losing their minds every time the social media platform changes its interface or backend programming in an effort to make more money.

This past August, Facebook announced that it was making some changes to how the information displayed on Facebook business pages would be displayed and visible to users. The execs wanted fewer silly memes and more actual content showing up in users’ news feeds. Of course, they also wanted serious businesses to start paying for advertising instead of trying to connect with one billion users for absolutely free, umpteen times every day.

The move sent many social media marketing firms back to the drawing board, and reminded everyone who uses social media what providers REALLY want on their platforms: content.

But, according to Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, while Facebook is entirely within their rights to make any changes they want, their situation presents an interesting public relations example.

“On one hand you have a business that has responsible to its shareholders: to be as profitable as possible. But, on the other hand, you have an entirely volunteer customer base which is, at the same time, also your product. Piss off the customer, and they will MySpace you as soon as an alternative comes along,” Torossian said.

It’s a tough line to walk for any product or service that depends on an active and dedicated fan base, and a lesson to these businesses to always consider their fans in any creative decisions.

“Will people forgive Facebook for these changes and adapt? Probably. They have before, but that doesn’t mean their patience, and adaptability are limitless,” Torossian said.

And this goes for a company whose users flock to it with religious devotion. Twenty minutes per visit, untold times each day. Time one billion. It’s very likely your brand has a much thinner line to walk.

Not that this is a call to fear change, only to realize that most people do not react well to it. Both your messaging and your interface must be on point, or you are sure to generate animosity…which could turn into fans searching for your competition to offer them relief.


Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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