This article originally appeared at CaseyPetersen.com.
The times are changing, and to many brands' surprise, Facebook is behaving like a company with shareholders that has to make money. Of course, this is what it has always been. But for many, the recent hit to page reach destroyed business models and was a major reality to check to brands and publishers who relied on a great Facebook community to drive reach and engagement.
Shortly after this, Facebook announced that people would no longer be able to take money for distributing content that they didn't at least have a hand in making. If you're George Takei or one of the Kardashians, it was a day of mourning. For the rest of the us, however, it was a blessing in disguise. It forces us to do social media "better." That is good for us, consumers, and business models as a whole in the long run.
The fact of the matter is that when brands make something to share and pay people to do it, it sucks for everyone: The influencer they're paying, the consumer, and the brand. It cheapens the interactions between the content and the consumer. There is a new reality for content marketing - and it's better for everyone, if slightly more work.
You're going to have to have people making stuff.
And it's going to be great. In the past it has been attractive from a bandwidth and budget standpoint to take the easy way out, and all Facebook has really done is remove that benefit. Now, more than ever, it's going to be much more attractive to compensate influencers to make great content, rather than simply renting their audience for ad content.
But I believe it's opening the door for something much more important. What if brands provide assets and tools for customers and fans to more easily become their mouthpieces, not only creating authentic content to share with their friends - but creating content that is on-brand as well.
We are all influencers. We've said this for years - one day we will recognize the influence of every person on their friends and peers. The rise of services like Photofy is the future of influencer marketing - where each person becomes a brand-approved marketing partner, and word-of-mouth becomes a viable productized marketing tactic.