How The IPO Has Already Changed Facebook

If you believed in the “Social Media Expert,” it’s now officially time to put that fraud in the same category as the Tooth Fairy – something fictional, invented to comfort the ignorant.

Those who manage Facebook “like” pages (formerly known as “fan” pages often called “business” pages) have noticed a change that affects everyone who uses Facebook. This latest change, after what seems like a slew of changes, is the first visible sign that Facebook will be different as a public company.

For those of us who manage “like” pages, we now have something to dislike. Facebook now tells us what percentage of the opt-in network a post reaches. The short version of the story is that, in essence, the only way to reach 100% of your “likes” is to pay Facebook for the privilege. Clearly, this is an attempt by Facebook to increase its advertising revenue, as promised to Wall Street.

For the average user, it affects all of those pages you have “liked” so you can see all of their posts. As of now, you won’t be able to see all of those posts, even though you have elected to do so, unless the company or person you “like” pays Facebook.

For communicators, the advice is to continue to do as we have been saying since the advent of social media – diversify. Make sure you aren’t relying too much on Facebook – or any one platform – to communicate your brand. Only through a multi-platform approach can you accomplish your objectives.

Additionally, this could end up being a flaw in Facebook’s game. Might it be an opportunity for an upstart to make progress? Or will public pressure begin, forcing Facebook to explore other options? So far, there hasn’t been mainstream media coverage of this. That’s due, at least in part, to a smokescreen put up by Facebook as this new policy began. The company (which has a PR department run by former Bill Clinton communications chief Joe Lockhart) created a distraction in recent days by announcing it was considering access for children.

As for the self-proclaimed “Social Media Experts” – some of what they sold two weeks ago can no longer be peddled. The rules of the game are changing. That’s why it’s important to be able to play as many positions as possible.