By: Scott Dickson

Recently Facebook announced a new round of updates on the heels of Google+ opening its doors to the outside world and not requiring invites to join the network. Supposedly, these were changes that Facebook had been working on for a long time.

Most people don’t like change. And these changes caused quite an uproar amongst users, even to the point that users were fighting with each other about whether or not the changes were good. I must admit, I joined the debate.

Tickers, Timelines and Top Stories

Personally, I really like all the changes, except one…top stories. There are some pros and cons to this one.

Basically, Facebook picks which status updates/posts should be your “top stories” based on the relationship, number of people who like it, etc. and puts those at the top in the news feed. Most would argue they would rather see ALL of their friend’s updates, as well as updates from the pages they’ve liked, chronologically. That’s certainly how I feel.

What does this do to marketers who have worked so hard to grow their audiences and cultivate communities on their Facebook pages? The jury is still out, but I see some issues.

Pros and Cons

The bad thing: This means the likelihood of their audience seeing their posts will go down. In fact, I can see in the analytics where site traffic from Facebook has already started to decrease.

The good thing: Marketers who count on their business pages for website traffic and customer interaction will now have to work much harder to generate relevant, interesting, sharable content. Better content means more people will “like” it and be more likely to share that content with their friends.

Where Should We Focus?

The biggest takeaway for me in regards to the explosion of Google+ and the significant changes/updates to Facebook is the fact that regardless of social media evolution, everything always comes back to your website. Social media will continue to change and develop, as it should. Your website should also  improve on a regular basis, but IT should be your top priority…not mastering social media marketing. Your website is Base Camp. It’s a platform that YOU can control. The visitors generated from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. should land on a website that doesn’t look like its straight out of 2004. Basically, it’s very important that your website doesn’t suck.

Make sure your website is at the top of its game. It needs to be visually appealing, have modern architecture, be search engine friendly (do the keyword research) and social media friendly, incorporating all the latest widgets and buttons that make for easy sharing. Your website should have a blog integrated within the site, not separate. It should also have analytics installed and you should be posting on the blog regularly, if not often.

Roll With The Changes

Don’t freak out when Facebook makes changes. This wasn’t the first and won’t be the last time they do. Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Get active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. and get familiar with Google+. But, most importantly…have a website that stands out amongst your competitors. Make “Base Camp” your top priority and then put the icing on the cake with an awesome social marketing campaign.