Why Facebook Really Doesn’t Give a Toss that You Hate It

Facebook: no one likes us, we don't careIf you’re an admin of a Facebook page, you’ll more than likely be growing more and more pissed off with the way the site is developing. Advertising has gone from being an optional extra to being a front-and-centre, in-your-face necessity if you want to communicate with the community you’ve lovingly cultivated over the last few years. And yet when you use it from a personal perspective, you’re only too aware that the increasingly invasive nature of the ads in your own newsfeed is getting out of control and irritating. It’s impacting user experience, and that’s not good news for users or for those advertising.

So what do you do: advertise and hack people off, or ignore Facebook’s increasingly frantic attempts to get you to part with your cash and put up with a less impactful brand page?

Back in the late 70s, the fans of Millwall football club adopted a song in response to sustained criticism by the media for being hooligans. No one likes us, we don’t care, they chanted (and still do, see below). I’m starting to wonder whether Zuck & Co. sing it at strategy meetings.

Facebook purports to want to “make the world a more open and connected place”. Bollocks.

Facebook wants to “make money”. That’s all. Since its IPO it’s become very apparent. It has a billion users who pay nothing for the service (other than access to our data and, arguably, our eternal souls). And so in order to ‘make money’, Facebook has to extract every last pound and penny it can from commercial organisations using it through paid advertising. As I write this, I know that I can only reach 16% of the fans on any of the pages I manage through organic means alone. I’m painfully aware that I face a daily battle to get into my communities’ newsfeed, and that it’s nearly 30 times easier to get into Harvard than it is to achieve this!

I also know that Facebook’s increasing emphasis on images means that posting links is becoming fruitless. It’s no wonder our newsfeeds are stuffed full of pictures of cats and babies; it’s what Edgerank assumes is valuable social content. Give me a break… And I’ve also now heard strong (but so far unconfirmed) rumours that page activity no longer appears in the news ticker to the right of the main newsfeed AT ALL.

So where does all this leave us? Paying the extortionate rates to promote posts? (Or “boost” them, as Facebook now patronisingly terms it.) Play the game as Facebook begins to feel more and more like an advertising platform? Why do we bother with Facebook at all? Why don’t we go elsewhere? Why don’t we start building followings across other platforms and going where we can most impact them without being Fraped?

Because we’re not brave enough, that’s why. We put up with being rodgered on a daily basis because we’re scared of losing something. Something that, actually, we don’t really have. Well I for one will be taking a long, hard look at every single page I’m an administrator of with a view to evaluating whether it’s worth it any more. What about you?

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Posted by Paul Sutton

  • http://www.essentialmarketer.com Steve in Birmingham

    Never thought I would see a connection made between Millwall football club and Mark Zuckerberg :-)

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      Seems perfectly natural and apt to me, Steve :)

  • http://twitter.com/montagecomms Montage (@montagecomms)

    I have actually started to advise some smaller brands to focus their energies elsewhere, as there seems to be ‘still’ a belief that you can ‘engage’ with an audience without a significant budget for advertising in Facebook. *shakes head*

    Rather than paying someone to effectively talk to a stone wall (by not paying for ads) they are perhaps better off using Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or focusing on SEO for their blog site instead.

    Time costs money, oh and it costs you double when using Facebook so you’d better have big pockets.

    Also I note that Facebook lost 2M (in the UK) users recently, perhaps this is the start of the rot against FB spam, bearded dogs, silly Memes and babies etc?

    Matt @mrmattanderson

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      What Facebook has in its favour, Matt, is inertia. And one billion people is one hell of a lot of inertia. Get it moving and maybe, just maybe, users will start looking elsewhere. But then again, maybe not. I think it’s telling that Facebook is losing out heavily to Tumblr among teens.

      But I agree with the advise you’re giving smaller brands. Facebook is the default option, but not always the best. Do a search for pretty much any brand using a pro tool (we use Brandwatch) and you find that typically 70% – 90% of mentions are on Twitter. So it makes sense that Twitter should be the primary comms platform, doesn’t it?

      Personally, I’d still love to see Google+ taking off, although I haven’t really seen any signs of mainstream adoption yet. I guess time will tell…

  • http://www.hurricanemedia.co.uk Mark Smout

    I always thought Brandwatch finds more mentions on Twitter because a much greater proportion of tweets are publicly available to be read, unlike Facebook where any updates mentioning brands are on the whole protected. Twitter claim something like 90% of online chatter for TV shows, but again, I always assumed this is because if you mention a brand on Facebook only your friends see it, and tools like Brandwatch can’t monitor this chatter.

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      You are correct in that assumption, Mark. Brandwatch and other monitoring tools can’t pick up private mentions and, as much of the conversation on Facebook is behind a closed wall (shared only with friends, not publicly), those mentions are invisible. But from a brand perspective, you can’t respond to stuff you can’t see anyway…

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