Here's Why We Stopped Wasting Time on Facebook

jgibbard
Jeff Gibbard President & Chief Strategist, True Voice Media LLC

Posted on June 2nd 2013

Here's Why We Stopped Wasting Time on Facebook

Facebook marketing

We’re constantly assessing the impact our of various marketing channels.

One thing has become painfully clear: Facebook is not worth the time and effort.

Today I’m going to tell you why we decided to stop wasting time on Facebook.

Profile vs. Page

To start, I have to be clear that my Facebook profile is great.  Though many of you know that Twitter is my favorite of all social media platforms, I still get the most engagement from my Facebook profile.  My friends rock!

So you can imagine my surprise when our Facebook pages for Social Media Philanthropy and True Voice Media fell entirely flat on engagement.  The problem lies in the number of people we’re able to reach organically.  Pages have a much harder time making it into the Newsfeed because of Edgerank.

Due to the Edgerank algorithm, we are only able to reach 8-16% of our audience on any given post.  In order to reach more than that, one of two things must happen:

  1. We get more likes, comments or shares on our posts
  2. We pay Facebook to promote our posts

There are no shortage of people who would come out and tell us that we’re “doing it wrong.”  There are plenty of people willing to show us exactly how to get more engagement on our page.  We’ve read enough articles and seen enough guides to tell you what that advice would be and the problem rest squarely on this fact…

In the eyes of Facebook, there is a “right way” to build a page.

Facebook has designed a system in which the best way to “win” is to appeal to the Edgerank lowest common denominator.  Unlike other networks where you can do whatever you like and succeed based on your brand, the merit of your content, or your storytelling, Facebook has built a system in which the only way to get visibility is to acquire the social signals they deem important, or pay for it.  This leads to the degradation of the entire platform as law firms begin posting “Like if you love Fridays” and realtors posting cat photos.

It has nothing to do with brand.  It has nothing to do with what’s actually important to the company.  It has everything to do with what Facebook has deemed important.

It also doesn’t take into account the TYPE of audience you have.  If you have an audience full of active, content creator types, it is much easier than if your audience are quiet spectators.  It’s a rich-get-richer system.  If your audience are spectators, you begin to see your reach gradually decline until it’s virtually impossible to get it back up again without “boosting” a post.  It’s like when banks hit you with an insufficient funds fee.

We designed our pages based on what WE felt was important.

The Social Media Philanthropy Facebook page was a place for our readers to see our posts in their newsfeed, and be able to go back through the timeline as an archive.  Unfortunately, after acquiring 285 fans, only 9-16 will see any given post.

The True Voice Media Facebook page was created to tell the story of our company highlighting key milestones, new clients, new partnerships, new employees, case studies, and new content from our blog, podcast and other resources.  Unfortunately, only 6-20 of our 230 person audience will see any given post.

So even though we’d planned out how to use our Facebook page in a way that fits our brand, we are hindered by the platform, Facebook has gotten in the way.

Why we’re not going to waste our time anymore:

I have an MBA but not an MFA (Master of Facebook Administration).  The platform is just too damn complex at this point.  Between 3rd party apps getting penalized, trying to understand Edgerank, keeping up with Facebook’s newest advertising opportunity, and the undeniable frustration of reaching a small fraction of your audience, it’s time to stop the nonsense.  Furthermore, we all know why we’re on Facebook, to connect with friends…PERIOD.

On Twitter, we post and move on about our day, there’s no complexity to it.  If someone wants to @mention or @reply us, we get notified and keep moving.  On Twitter, we either get seen or we don’t and it’s due entirely to whether or not we’ve captured our audience’s attention and whether they happen to be on at the time we post.  There’s no algorithm to find out, there’s no best practices around posting irrelevant content to improve the chances of showing up in a newsfeed…none of it.  Same holds true for Google+, Tumblr and virtually every other platform without Edgerank.

We were wasting valuable brain power on trying to get our Facebook page working, and for what?  We have tried all sorts of approaches, types of content and frequency of posting…and nothing “worked.”  Meanwhile, we were diverting time, attention and effort away from the real important platforms.

  • We meet and interact with incredible people on Twitter.  We’ve used Twitter to invite nearly all of our guests to be on the Podcast..and look at our lineup!
  • Google+ gives us search value.  So while we’re on the subject, why not click the +1 button on the right or at the bottom?
  • …and most importantly, our blog is our home and our email subscribers are our most loyal readers and the single most important asset we have across our marketing mix.

Every email we send out achieves 100% reach.  Every email reaches the inbox of our subscriber.  Whether or not they read it relies on a single variable, whether or not we wrote something interesting or valuable enough to pay attention to.  By contrast, Facebook has an additional variable, Edgerank.

So here’s what we’re doing next…

For Facebook:  We are going to simply autopost our content to the Facebook pages.  When we looked at the data from our different approaches, engagement didn’t move one bit when we shifted from auto posting to manual posting.  It didn’t matter if we added commentary or if there was a link preview.  No matter what we do, short of whoring ourselves out with irrelevant content, we’re only reaching a tiny fraction of our audience.  So we’re done fighting and problem solving.

We are still setup to receive notifications if someone comments, likes or shares, and we’ll be sure to respond.  But we’re not going to waste anymore brain power on it.

For the rest of social: We love Twitter, there’s no denying it.  The format of Twitter is a better fit for our company; it’s open, it’s quick, it’s simple.  So Twitter is going to be our primary company outpost.  Aside from that we’ll still be using Pinterest to curate great resources and exploring the possibilities around Google+.  We still have Slideshare for posting our slides and PDFs.  We still have YouTube for hosting the videos from our Podcast and any webinars we do.

For results: It’s simple, our blog is our home.  We can do whatever we want with it.  We are going to continue to focus on growing an email list of people who care about the things we write about.  Our primary focus will be to create content that can help our subscribers.

Our email subscribers are the ones who refer us business.  They are the ones who share our content most.  They are the ones who are the most engaged.  So we’re not going to fight for Facebook to work for us because we’ve already found something that does.

jgibbard

Jeff Gibbard

President & Chief Strategist, True Voice Media LLC

Jeff Gibbard is the President of True Voice Media. With keen insights on Social Business, Marketing, Relationship Building, Communications and Creative Problem Solving, Jeff has helped numerous business people see the value in embracing social tools and processes to drive business value.

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Comments

GordonGower
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 11:30AM

Thank you.

Jeff, you've summarized what we all expected, chose to ignore but are now coming to realize. There is no "there" there. There is no such thing as a Facebook "page", a social media page. These facilities are in motion, the "page" is merely a stop along the way...

I've been battling this for over a year now; fighting with myself to justify why I want to "stop" people on Facebook at all when what I'd really like to do is get them to my customer... page/store/offering. I rationalized a Facebook page as, well... at least it's a place to collect warm bodies who don't want to bite, but I'll keep 'em warm there (some how) until they do... as you intimate in your article, enough.

Why spend the effort, time and engagement cycles on this activity, when, as you say, we're left to rely on Facebooks mechanism to later leverage that "pool" of prospects we've left there.

I'm now just summarizing what you've said, so I'll leave it there. Facebook is a substantially useful marketing tool! But, I'll only contnue to use it to feed my business model, not service their need to service theirs.

Super Article! - Gordon

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 12:55PM

Thanks Gordon.  Nice to connect with you on Twitter also.

erichempler
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 1:08PM

I've found building a Facebook Page for Real Estate to be a big struggle. 

Unless i don't some advertising on one of my posts to pull people in it seems to grow at a snails pace. I've also noticed most of these types of pages typically have other angents following them, not consumers. 

For such a narrow audience I can see what it would be tough to build a Real Estate Page, but it's working out pretty well now that I've found a few things that work. 

HelenP
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:11AM

A friend of mine in Real Estate uses her page to post open houses and shares pictures and info of the houses she has on her list.

Perhaps you could share hints and tips on how to best sell your home. Packing and moving tips. Be the go to for vendors and buyers.

It can be daunting buying or selling a house, think about what someone outside the industry would want to know.

I think that we need to throw an irrelvant picture of a cat in every now and then, after all it's social media not a broadcasting station for your business.

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 12:58PM

Helen, those are all great points. And you are absolutely correct that Social Media is not a broadcasting station for the business.  I just wish that the platform would get out of the way.

EmersonDelSent
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 6:54PM

 

   I'm absolutely sure Jeff is not alone in his perception. In fact, it has been quite a long time I've came to the same conclusion. 

   For me, seeing the desperate, unplanned, messy, cannibal Facebook measures to monetize its platform is the evidence, if we understand even a single bit of history, of the "empire" decadence, especially considering the current and unstoppable teenagers withdrawal from the "Social Network" where Facebook reached success earlier, like in the US. 

   And like the syrian president, or any other nearly-to-be-won dictator, they refuse to change.

   I live in Brazil, a country where Facebook still grows at a great rate, but I tell you from my "privileged" geographical  position: I've seen the same happening to Orkut just a couple of years ago and like the tide backing up quietly before a tsunami, this delusional popularity is the step right before the out breaking of a process I've already  seen taking shape: people here are also getting enough of Facebook.

   And I just want to agree to everything said about Twitter: it's great, steady and most important of all: ever holding the true spirit of social networking and at the same time, and most because of this spirit, absolutely relevant for branding.

    Great article, I shared almost at the same time I was reading it.

    I just hope the so called "experts" and even actual social marketing professionals admit they see the same and talk more frankly about it.

NickKellet
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 6:54PM

Well said.

Really well done. I'm going to quote you in an upcoming post.

I echo your sentiments. Facebook is a great place to find people, but you need to get them to your home base. 

Facebook feels like a Hamster wheel to me. Easy to be busy, hard to be effective.

I wrote a post a while back about Facebook being your Landlord.

http://www.nickkellet.com/2012/10/is-facebook-your-landlord-are-you-cult...

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:02PM

I LOVE being quoted :)  Be sure to let me know where it is so I can post it out to my network.  

Love that post about Facebook being your landlord.  Facebook continues to do things to remind us that we are just guests in our own "homes"

socialitesos
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 8:07PM

Yes...Perfectly put. I stopped wasting my time with it a while ago for these reasons.  You can begin to believe that people on facebook don't want useful content - actually they do but Facebook isn;t showing it to them.  Unless it's cat pics or 'like or a penguin will die' kind of post.

victorvalencia
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 11:32PM

I think you're all right, it already came thinking for a long time, the blog will remain nowadays the best tool positioning and growth on a website, social networking is to share but in the end the heart of the site is the blog, the content and the users who read it.

Jasonmillerca
Posted on June 2nd 2013 at 11:36PM

Interesting post Jeff but I respectfully disgree. Telling the world that Facebook is a waste of time is a blanket statement that could turn off a lot of businesses from even trying, which defeats the entire idea of social. 

You get out of Facebook what you put into it. There is so much potential for ANY type of business on Facebook, BUT you need three things to be successful. Great content catered for Facebook, a solid strategy (based around a FB editorial calendar), and last but not least a bit of paid ads. 

Here are two examples of how we turned our FB page into a major traffic and revenue driver for a B2B company. If we can do it, anyone can. 

http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2013/04/an-editorial-calendar-for-facebook-absolutely.html

http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2012/11/does-facebook-work-for-b2b-lead-generation-hell-yes.html

And here's another great post from Facebook engagement/ad master Marty Weintraub which addressed a similar situation when GM prematurely gave up on Facebook. 

http://www.aimclearblog.com/2012/05/16/thanks-gm-that-leaves-more-facebook-ads-impressions-for-me/

The bottom line here is that if you neglect Facebook you are simply missing opportunities. Switching from a reactive to a proactive approach is not the answer. Trial and error, experimentation, and learning to manage edgerank with your own good content is. I would love to hear Brian Carter or Dennis Yu chime in on this post as well as these are two of the smartest folks on the planet when it comes to Facebook strategy and engagement. 

Jason Miller - Marketo 

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:10PM

Jason,

Thanks for your reply and thoughtful rebuttal.  I do want to clarify my position.  Facebook is a big waste of time FOR US.  

To your points however, you do NOT get out of Facebook what you put into it, because you must apply the Edgerank discount.  Other networks are different, our blog is different because every person that subscribes is reached.  Facebook has an alogirthm and they don't care about our editorial calendar.  

While it is POSSIBLE for ANY type of business to succeed on Facebook it is also UNLIKELY. Some businesses are better suited to Facebook, and some companies--especially those with money--will see greater success.  Playing the Edgerank game is a fool's game for us.  It's a waste of precious time to reach a fraction of our audience when we could much more easily engage on other networks that we've seen results from.  

There is opportunity everywhere and that includes Facebook, but perhaps you could explain why WE should divert ANY attention from our sites that generate results to learn to play Facebook's Edgerank game to reach the audience we spent time already building?

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:32PM

And just one more thing...

You posted 3 links.  

2 links talked about Marketo's approach, 1 talked about ad impressions.  

Marketo is not your average company on Facebook.  Comparing Marketo's approach to other companies is silly.  It's like saying "well Seth Godin knows how to sell books." Marketo has a wealth of knowledge about lead generation and is an industry leader.  Marketo has a sizable network on Facebook that grew from its popularity around the web.  

As for the other article, we're talking Chevy...again not your average company on Facebook. Ad impression are worth much more to larger companies than it is to smaller companies.  

In the small and medium business market, Facebook is a much more difficult network to use successfully than other networks.  I'm not saying it's valueless, I'm saying that it may not be worth the time, money and effort. 

Jasonmillerca
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 2:22PM

The idea is to effectively manage edgerank with content. Edgerank is a good thing becuase without it everyone's posts would be a giant flowing mess on nonsense. Those of us who learn how to manage it will reap the benefits.

Marketo was not your average company on Facebook. When I took over this account we had less than 9k Fans. I build this page up to be what it is today through a tremendous amount of trial and error. I hear this argument all of the time around the B2B space andI tell them the same thing everytime. Take the strategy and tactics that successful companies use and make them your own. Facebook levels the playing field for SMB's and allows them to target so precisely that they can get their message to the right audience at the right time which is the name of the game. 

Again, Marketo's approach was built organically over time and it continues to grow based on the fact that good content is what drives FB engagement. I understand that you are saying that FB did not work for you, but as a social media consultant to SMBs I think it's reckless to make a blanket statement as I mentioned before. I would change that statement to say something like, without good content and a budget, FB may not be the right fit for your business. 

 

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 2:34PM

"Reckless"?!  Come on Jason.  

Again, the statement wasn't a blanket "no one should use it."  This was about US, and why WE stopped putting in the time and effort.  

We still recommend Facebook to clients when we feel it's appropriate.  

As for "Edgerank is a good thing..." BS!  That giant flowing mess of nonsense combined with a proper lists feature would allow people to curate their own experience of what content is worthy of their attention. Edgerank is the single worst feature in social media.  I see no value in letting an algorithm determine FOR me what is important.  Edgerank has little to do with "good content."  Lots of great content doesn't make it's way through to the newsfeed.  The best way to manage the noise is with the filters that we call lists, content should be free.  If Facebook really wants to be open and connected, let the information flow openly to people that are connected.

I'm glad it's working for you and Marketo, and I'm sure you've had a lot of success yourselves and for your clients but for US it's a giant waste of time.

SocialTraffic
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 5:14AM

I don't agree Jeff,

Facebook's goal is to turn each of our personal news feeds into a personalized newspaper. Where our grandparents news was delivered in rolled up paper on the front lawn, ours is delivered via Facebook news feeds.


The difference being we get our own version of the news.

Whilst Facebook have a way to go, the only way they'll realize their vision is by bringing content that's relevant to each of us to the surface. The edge rank algorithm is designed to do that.

Facebook have partnered with Bing & Klout to take on G+, Google Search & Author rank... in the social search turf war's being played out over the next 24 months.

I believe the biggest opportunity for marketers today, is building multiple silos of highly targeted, responsive, engaged communities that we can influence.

Facebook advertising ---> pushing into fan pages, segmented down into FB groups, FB events, and email subscriber lists is the best way for marketers to achieve that (by design).

The reason I believe this to be the future; "the way Facebook will bring relevant content to the surface as relevant (unique) news to each of their 600K daily users...is by triangulating digital touch points in the social graph between like-minded users, and content they share...

Community managers with responsive members will become key players in Facebook's long term success.

Lets face it, Facebook has plenty of money to attract the smartest minds on the planet to realize, what I think is a game changing vision.

I'm on board sorry to hear you wont be joining me...<-;

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:43PM

Simon, thanks for commenting. I must respectfully disagree with you on several points.  

Facebook's goal is not to turn our newsfeeds into a personalized newspaper.  It's to get us to continually give more and more control over what we see to Facebook so that they can monetize the newsfeed.  I have plenty of my own "personalized newspapers," it's called Twitter lists and Google+ circles, neither have Edgerank.  Edgerank is an aboniation in my opinion.  I continually see the same crap in my newsfeed with little discovery of something new, where as every other social site I use exploses me to something new or at least gives me the opportunity to see everything that I chose to follow.

Facebook + Bing + Klout?!  Please.  Bing is the butt of the search joke. Klout is the butt of the social influence joke.  And Facebook is incapable of innovative ideas on its own...it's a copy and push model. Google+ will eventually overtake Facebook as a serious tool for businesses.

The future of social is something far more open and connected than Facebook has the capacity to envision or move us to.  

Here's where I agree with you:

"Community managers with responsive members will become key players in Facebook's long term success." Yes. True.

"I believe the biggest opportunity for marketers today, is building multiple silos of highly targeted, responsive, engaged communities that we can influence."  Yes BUT it's not silos, it's highly connected networks with multiple touch points.

SocialTraffic
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 2:26PM

Thanks Jeff,

Granted the Facebook + Bing + Klout aliance has some work to do but Google won't match Facebook for social data. G+ing stuff has never quite been the same as "liking" it, for me personally. Facebook has always got that right.

Facebooks social data delivers ad targeting opportunities Google's display network can only deam about.

Granted Facebook needs to find a better balance to keep their social data flowing, I think you'll find the numbers will force them to do that.

 

 

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 5:29PM

Google can't match Facebook for social data YET.  It's getting better every day.  Facebook wants us to believe that they own the social graph, but all it takes is a migration to another network for Facebook to lose that.  All they really know is who we're connected to on Facebook and any data that gets fed into Facebook from other sources.  It doesn't take long to replicate that structure.  

As for Facebook's ad targeting "advantage," when Facebook can show an ROI for that targeting ability then we can talk about what Google is actually dreaming about...until then, let's not overstate what's actually happening.  Facebook has a wealth of demographic data and the social graph, and that may allow advertisers to target ads with greater precision than what Google can currently do, but people are turning a blind eye to ads more and more.  If that's all Facebook has, they are going to find themselves in quite a perdicament in the upcoming years.  

SocialTraffic
Posted on June 6th 2013 at 4:09PM

When it comes to Facebook targeting; “it’s a lot more sophisticated than knowing who people are connected to”. We can target overweight single woman for example; “she spends her time on Facebook gathering weight loss tips, daydreaming about having a body like “PINK” -- she’s a big fan…”

Now when (let’s call her) Stacey finally gets engaged we know losing weight is at the forefront of her mind. What if I had 10,000 Stacey’s as fans of our page…acquired through targeting women who change their FB status to engaged. Now, I know each of these women will be preoccupied with losing weight in the months leading up to their wedding. So can segment the group by content tagging, events and creating groups within the community followed by an even more targeted social ads campaign.

Facebook will signal me when it’s time to find new products to promote to these ladies outside of weddings, and weight loss; “the day they change their FB statuses from engaged to married”.

Facebook is about customer targeting, not product targeting. There are dozens of different things we can promote to these girls if we come to know them over time. If we don’t we won’t sell them anything.

If you want Facebook people to buy your stuff you need to get to know at a different level. You need to target them with advertising that pulls them further and further into a relationship on Facebook. Once you do that, you can sell to them over and over again. The only reason Facebook’s ROI is poor is because not many marketers know how to leverage the platform effectively. Making the shift from product-centric to people-centric, in the case of Facebook, changes everything we knew about being successful with Google.

Keyword driven ad targeting like adWords is for prospects on a mission. They want information to solve problems they have at the time of searching. They aren’t casually interested in weight loss products. They aren’t randomly searching any more than you might randomly look through the Yellow Pages for a car mechanic.

While search might be great for generating hot, credit card on the keyboard and ready to buy visitors… there’s a massive downside to it also; “In addition to the ridiculous costs generated by Google’s keyword auctions, search visitor inventory is extremely limited by the number of problems people need solving each day.”

Delia Jalomo
Posted on June 4th 2013 at 7:20PM

I'm on board with you, Simon re: personal newspaper and relevant feeds. 

News agencies have always monetized news and do better when it's tailored to their market. I think it's kind of like local advertising: local newspapers :: Edgerank: Facebook. 

Facebook has consumed like 7 years of my life now and I've been a regular poster on several online communities since 1998, which feels like it was the social network before the Social Network - a LOT of my reading and purchasing information follows a social word-of-mouth, probably more so than it does for others. Twitter has always felt to me though, like something I'M doing wrong, because try as I do, Twitter has just never had the ability to engage me. (Pinterest on the other hand - geez I could Pin all day.)

I'll fully admit though that I'm a designer and the visual aspect has a lot to do with it. I worked in news for several years though and could spend hours reading the AP wire (stories come in raw form, no photography, uncut) and so in theory Twitter should appeal to me but it just doesn't.

I have mixed feelings about the sentiment behind "having to" post a picture or a video in order to increase the likliehood of being seen — I mean, I totally get the comittment to the brand and staying pure to its vision, but as a designer I just see that as another spec to meet in using that tool. Has Twitter really changed much since its inception? It's always had the same spec it seems: 140 characters or less. 

FeldmanCreative
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 5:56AM

Good for you Jeff to have the huevos to say all this. I too believe it's time to understand what Facebook is and use it (or not) according to your company's goals. For most, it'll be of very little value. And every move they make only solidifies what marketers already know: it's a media, a publicly owned media, so it answers to stockholders and advertisers.

Now Jason Miller may not be wrong. I've had this convo with Jason. He claims you get out of it what you put into it. And for Marketo, what they put into it is money. Jason says as much. This is not to say they don't put other things into it. Clearly, Jason and his co-workers at Marketo know what they're doing.

He also says Marketo has made it a meaningful part of his company's marketing. I take that to be true. So when Jason says universally saying "stay away" is short-sided, he's right. 

But my take is you said it doesn't work for YOUR company, so you'll waste no more time with it. That's helpful and I suspect it reassures a great many readers who had/have similar thoughts.

I personally have never recommended taking Facebook seriously for any client and I doubt I ever will. I can't think of a reason why it would help them.

Agree totally that their algo is a bullshit trap to do "AdWords for social." And I LOVE your commentary on email and blogging as real marketing. 

Facebook's a nice service for socializing with friends. That's what it's for, right? 

If you believe as a company you can use Facebook to make friends, it's probably possible. As Jason suggests, that'll require putting a whole lot of heart into it (and putting up with the reality that only a small slice of that heart will bleed through the damn filters).

 

 

 

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:48PM

Barry,

You GOT IT!  I was not saying it's a waste of time for EVERY company, I was saying it's a waste of time for us.  For us to benefit from Facebook, we realize that it's a long road with a number of obstacles and we'd need a larger budget.  By contrast, we use Twitter for free and it benefits us constantly.  

We recommend Facebook to a number of our clients when we see it fit.  Obviously it'll work for Marketo...it's what they do. :)

Businesses only have so much time, money and attention, they should choose where to spend it wisely.  We know for certain that we can benefit from Facebook, but it would be at the expense of our other marketing initiatives which we feel have a greater long term value and a higher likelihood of success.

Thanks for commenting.

FeldmanCreative
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 5:02PM

Good to read I heard you right and you're speaking of your company's use of Facebook, not every company's. 

Not sure what you mean by your Marketo comment. It sounds like you think Facebook is what they do in one way or another. I'm no expert on their platform, but it's a serious, powerful beast that appears to be a very good fit for companies investing in blogging, building a database, and making the most of it with email marketing, which appears to be a big part of your company's marketing charter.

Fun to see things get stirred up here at SMT. My posts get read a lot, but not commented on a lot. I ruffled feathers when I stated my POV on self-appointed "thought leaders" and struck up quite a convo, though that was on the SMT LinkedIn page.

Anyway, I love it when engaged readers disagree. This thing we call social gets far more exciting.

 

 

Henri Deschamps
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 12:15PM

Jeff, SPOT ON! As a person who has worked close to 6 hours a day developing on the platform for the last 4 years, and who manages or co-manages with other artists, non-profits and companies, about 100 pages, I have been observing it's demise into irreleavance especially the last 12 months and wondering when this article would appear.

They have systematically turned off every community building capacity and feature to set up the toll booth. If the story is the same across 100 pages, regardless of what dozens of people do on each of those pages in their own way, many expert seasoned media, social media, and graphic artists pros, who know how to communicate, then all the FaceBook banter about how to improve "engagement" hence Edgrank is pabulum for the masses based on the premise there is a sucker born every minute.

Talk about blowing it, as the entire world moves to content marketing, they actively seek idiocracy.

They have broken trust, and lost credibilty as a business partner with millions of folks and businesses like us. I would imagine that out of their fabled 1 billion, close to 75% have already exited full or part time, and I cannot imagine what they can do to get professionals and professional communicators back on board after the history of the last 12 months. As some point 90% will say Amen and move on.

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:53PM

I still invite everyone to come over to Twitter, which in my opinion is one of the two best things to happen to the internet (Wordpress is the other).  Where Twitter and Wordpress have democratized the web, and given everyone/anyone a voice, Facebook is closing it off and making it more difficult.  

I find it so frustrating that posting a link on Facebook is barely worth the time because links rarely make it into the newsfeed.  So then I have to make a picture or a video or some other content because Facebook's Edgerank algorithm says so.  

Glad you liked the post. 

Henri Deschamps
Posted on June 6th 2013 at 1:46PM

I agree, on one of our FB pages we have 18,000 and the Twitter account which matches it 19,000. I have seen a major shift in influence and referrals from Twitter, as more and more pros leave FB in disgust over their business practices.

And when it comes to unfiltered clean and fast Twitter is unbeatable. Surprisingly enough, coming to the same conclusion as you after having read reams on EdgeRank and dealing with it these last 12 months, I just got Sprout Social to deal with FB because as you say it makes no difference either way. We try to deliver quality content and information and the few who see will probably like it as we always try to include an informative "learn something new" component.

I find disturbing how many people think trying to rig edgerank with tricks and tittilation posts are the answer. At one point we may all end up just posting the three "COMMENT.LIKE.SHARE" with no image or other content, and just share those three words three times a day on our pages :-) EdgeRank is full bluff and a fiction to justify ad sales, and that's fine, why don't they just says so and offer a hosting plan or other sound business siolution that is serious, reliable, honest and forthright. I for one do not need any entity sifting through information I have requested to see to decide for me what I most want to see. What is more disturbing is the spirit and philosophy behind it. FaceBook talks a mean game about engagement yet is the least engaged company I know on FB.

In passing I wonder what would occur if your cell provider or FedEx or the post office only delivered what it thought you cared about and threw the rest in the ocean. 

I for one would have no problem paying FB a monthly fee like I pay a hosting company, provided they provide an unfiltered feed for pages with no ads and let the user decided if they wanted to continue to see us or not. Even if they charged 20 bucks a month for pages, they would make 50-100 million a month.

The "we know better than our blind sheep users what they need to see" mentality is appaling to say the least.

They have harmed millions of small businesses worldwide who invested what was for them significant time, resources and money to develop their pages. I used to love that platform, and I kept waiting for them to fix it, but business people are starting to get as riled towards FB as people are getting riled about Monsanto.

Wilfried Schock
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 2:34PM

It is always a good idea to develop a social media architecture, that fits the companys needs and ressourdes istead following buzz and hypes. 

To use social media in a sustainable way, it needs an own social media architecture including the platforms like facebook, pinterest, twitter and others. Facebook could be part of a corporate social media architecture or not. And if, pages could be used, or not. If a company wants to use facebook for marketing, a page is the most common option. But it ist not the only one. 

Pia Alves
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 2:46PM

Great post.. Thanks for sharing.. I loved what you said here, but I still think Facebook still rocks!...

jgibbard
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 5:25PM

I still really like Facebook for connecting with friends.  However I'd still prefer to interact with those friends on Twitter or G+.  Facebook has the benefit of a large userbase and ubiquity in the social media space.

GordonGower
Posted on June 4th 2013 at 1:06PM

Facebook remains a stellar service and a really great venue for marketing, just not FB pages. I'm one of those "the best is yet to come" ones.

Patrick Launspach
Posted on June 4th 2013 at 5:13PM

 Jeff, thanks for a fantastic article. I think it brings to light the importance of looking at your business and saying, "Why do we want to be on Facebook? What do we want to achieve?  How do we measure success?  And how much are we willing to invest? Are we getting the return we want?"

Regarding Edgerank.  First of all, I think Facebook is trying to fix the content overload problem, but instead will likely make it worse.  I remember when the rule of thumb used to be, "You don't want to burn out your follower base, resist posting more than once a day."  It seems like this rule of thumb has become, "With EdgeRank only 8% of your base will see your content, feel free to post a dozen times a day, reusing content up to half a dozen times."  More posting will result in more filtering . . . I can only see this 'posting inflation' continuing to snowball.

Secondly, I almost sided with the Facebook on EdgeRank except that paying a little bit of dough catapults your content ahead of others with no regard to quality.  If your content is engaging, you can use this to grab a foothold and reach additional people organically, but I have a suspicion that as the posting inflation continues to rise so will the price of ads.

It will be interesting to see how facebook reacts.  A swift and clear backlash might convince facebook to adjust its strategy.  On the other hand a decrease of facebooks marketpower might give secondary networks like G+ a foothold.

Delia Jalomo
Posted on June 4th 2013 at 10:27PM

I have to agree with Jason Miller about the Facebook filtering - part of what turns me off about Twitter is that it DOES feel to me like a giant flowing mess of everyone's content.

Again, maybe I'm doing it wrong. 

But as a really heavy Facebook user I just enjoy the experience so much more. And a substantial part of my daily reading and interaction is actually with local business that I'd "liked" at some point or other. They've just done a really good job at being the watercooler and I've even friended people and had them friend me based on conversations we've had about their posts. But there's plenty of large brands - like Squarespace, for example, I find completely engaging too and they affect my buying decisions and recommendations.

And it's not all cat pictures either that suck me in (although, I'll admit to heavy aggregation of such :p ) - but a photo is not a photo is not a photo.

A visual, combined with typography and engaging copy - IS content. The two are not mutually exclusive.

jgibbard
Posted on June 6th 2013 at 1:18PM

Delia,

I don't think it's a matter of you "doing it wrong" perhaps just a matter of preference.  I personally don't like some other entity controlling what I see based on what I've already chosen to follow.  If Twitter feels to ooverwhelming, try making lists.  I find it helps tremendously.  

  • I reserve who I follow for those I want to be able to send me a Direct Message (DM).  
  • I created a list called "The River" which is where I put anyone else I want to follow without following them.
  • I have a list called Newsfeed, for the accounts that just broadcast news.  
  • I have a private list called "Personal Hotlist" for my 10-20 closest friends
  • I have a private list called "Professional Hotlist" for my 10-20 closest professional connections.
  • I have a private list called "Industry Hotlist" for my peers in Social Media and Social Business that I respect and follow
  • I have a list for clients, and one for prospects.

Find a system that works for you but I'm sure you'll find that lists can help tone down the noise of Twitter tremendously.  

Again, I don't think Facebook is flat out wrong for every situation.  This post was about us, our company, and what we find to be a valuable use of our time.  Facebook has been the least productive, and for every minute we spend trying to figure out how to make it work for us, we miss the opportunity to focus on networks that are working for us.  Again, this post was about what worked for US.  If something works for you, keep doing it.  

I still use Facebook personally everyday and my own personal profile has been very effective for me.

theurbanartisan
Posted on June 5th 2013 at 3:29PM

Amen Brother.....would be interested to find out if you have ever catergorized which forms of social media have the most effective reach depending upon the nature of ones enterprise. I am in the world of art and design and specifically built a FB personae to reach a similar audience. The FB platform has failed miserably and I have known for years it was mainly a place for people to be tickled and entertained. I have not pursued other options so I continue to post and plod with it despite its lack of effectiveness or abilty to create meaningful engagement. Thanks for reinforcing REALITY.  I am going to think more about some of the alternatiives you've mentioned...

jgibbard
Posted on June 8th 2013 at 7:22PM

Stephen,

I haven't done any sort of categorization, but as with anything, it all depends.  If you are looking for a platform to show off your work to other artists, it may be better to go to networks like Tumblr, Pinterest, Deviantart and Dribbble.  If you are looking to get work, you have to go where your clients are, which is probably Linkedin, and potentially even Facebook.

It's not that Facebook can't be used successfully, it's more that we found it didn't work as well for us relative to the time and effort we put in.  We know our goals and who our audience is, so we made the data informed decision to redirect our effort.  

What are you looking to do?  Maybe I can provide some more guidance?  

 

christycross
Posted on June 10th 2013 at 3:51PM

@Stephen: One of my clients is an artist and has had great success sharing his work and building an audience on Instagram!

 

JamesBull
Posted on June 6th 2013 at 1:54AM

The main reasons I like this article are the messages that it's OK for a business to not to be actively involved  on Facebook, and that your business priorities are more important than theirs.

Well done... I think we are going to start hearing about more marketing decision-makers and business owners deciding to do the same.

meljameson99
Posted on June 7th 2013 at 12:53AM

I absolutely agree with Jeff. And, as for the types of businesses that benefit from using Facebook, they are NOT typically B2B professional services.  Therefore, I have delineated my activity with personal/Facebook - professional/Twitter.  As a firm, we have received the most social media traction from LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, and Slideshare.  

As far as Facebook being the modern day newspaper, there are MANY other sites that perform this service and do it alot better. (e.g. Flipboard, Trapit...etc.)

Great article and dialouge, Jeff!

 

jgibbard
Posted on June 8th 2013 at 7:25PM

Thanks Melanie.  I agree that typically Facebook is challenging for a B2B company, however there are some companies that are knocking it out of the park of Facebook as B2B agencies.  Marketo and Hubspot immediately come to mind.  But they have an ad budget and a wealth of content.  They've also invested the time in putting together an editorial calendar for Facebook.  Finally, they also haver the resources to put a full effort behind any network they want.  Most smaller businesses don't have the luxury or ad budget, content or staff.

We found that for us, and many of our smaller clients, Facebook is an uphill battle that simple wasn't worth the time.  

Glad you liked the article.

christycross
Posted on June 10th 2013 at 3:48PM

Couldn't agree more and yes, Flipboard is awesome!

 

Ed Holtzman
Posted on June 7th 2013 at 1:22PM

Great 'pull no punches' article.

I couldn't agree more. My personal profile? love it. The personal engagement is fantastic. The several pages we manage, ranging from our own B2B to a church, seem like an excersise in futility.  Without a big daily spend that they want you to commit to it often feels like kicking a dead horse trying to get engagement. Seeing a lot better resesults on G+ already. Especially for B2B.

jgibbard
Posted on June 8th 2013 at 7:26PM

I never pull punches. :)

Thanks for reading, glad you liked it.

Henri Deschamps
Posted on July 6th 2013 at 2:28PM

FaceBook pages seem to be so messed up that some are even recommending you ditch your old FB page to start new one from scratch. That is the last thing I would do but an indicator of how FaceBook and many page admins have lost their way. And it sounds to me more like throwing good money after bad. FaceBook has for all practical purposes downgraded pages, orput them in a corner till they sort it out, and much the same way they got people to play and then ditched them, you can pretty much count on more of the same. Something that is wrong for a year and does not gets fixed, is unlikely to get fixed. | http://bit.ly/17AiPQ2 | #wow #facebook #right

abelspeak
Posted on June 7th 2013 at 4:06PM

Great article, Jeff! I can't help but agree with you 100% on this. Facebook is increasingly going into the back burner of my company's social media marketing strategy. We reach about 30% of our fan base AT BEST. It's just getting to lose its value. I don't want to resort to posting cat photos or stupid memes that fans might possibly "like" just to say we got some "likes". 

tommy_landry
Posted on June 10th 2013 at 10:42PM

I've had this same sentiment, but it is heavily dependent on our business model. We only aim for B2B, and our target audience is mostly internet pros. Those guys don't want to be pitched on Facebook, plain and simply. We also won't start posting inane stuff just to catch attention, so our page is very low in activity and likes. That's by design. We get much more run from LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and especially content marketing (our blog and other sites).

Kudos on the no nonsense opinion piece. Every platform and medium is unique, and we don't learn anything by sitting around the Facebook fire singing Kumbaya.

Sam Cort
Posted on June 14th 2013 at 6:13PM
LinkedIn? You must be joking. You realize everyone on LinkedIn is only there to make their own pitch, right? Every person who reads your shiz on LinkedIn is not looking for your solution — he's only looking for how it gives him an angle to pitch himself.
jgibbard
Posted on June 14th 2013 at 8:18PM

Sorry you've had such a bad experience on Linkedin Sam.  I've found it very valuable.  I guess it all depends on who you are connected to and how you use it.

ChuckBartok1
Posted on July 13th 2013 at 5:42PM

Excellent posts made by everyone.

Our clients (Mostly B2C businesses) have been VERY pleased with the smal investment of time and energy on Facebook. A few are enjoying 5 figures in new sales monthly from Facebook Engagement.

But we are seeing some positive shift over to Google+

Henri Deschamps
Posted on July 13th 2013 at 7:16PM

"Recently it was reported that the US State Department spent more than $630,000 on "Likes" for their Facebook page between 2011 and 2013. The problem is that in spring 2012, Facebook changed the way in which it distributed status updates to users. Instead of seeing every status update from every friend or page they follow, users instead see status updates according to an algorithm Facebook uses called EdgeRank." • http://bit.ly/1ak5zO1 • Buying 'Likes' is a waste of money

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