I’m a fairly tolerant person for the out-of-the-blue changes that Facebook drops on its users because I don’t pay for anything on the site and I’m not asked to pay to use the full scope of its reach. It’s also one of the few ways I can keep in touch with friends and family spread all across the galax–err, globe. So what’s my beef with the new page promotion fee introduced recently by Facebook?
Update: I’ve posted a follow up regarding this topic, it turns out things are worse than I thought!
There are a couple of things I believe are ‘bad’ about it, probably most is how it’s been rolled out without much earlier notice. I’m not ever suggesting that Facebook shouldn’t do whatever the hell it wants with its own platform, until I buy stock in it, then those bitches had better listen up! What I am suggesting is that if you’re going to be a publicly traded company with a product as influential and yet totally expendable as a social networking platform, then communication with your consumers is an important thing.
Luckily, Facebook does just that via emails and a blog! What they don’t do a good job of telling you is how to get to that information in the first place. The “Help” center doesn’t link to the blog or to any newsletter-type communication channel. Neither does any link in the footer on any page on the site. NOTE: Be sure to visit some page other than the auto expanding ones if you ever hope of finding the footer links!
Since there is a lack of worthwhile communication on this new ‘feature’, plenty of misinformation and misconception has sprouted to take its place. Here is one such post to give you an idea of what they look like:
Some of you have read about FB charging page owners for posting. Due to FB changes, I now only reach roughly 20 – 25% of my fans. But, I have the option to pay $15.00 to $300.00 per post. If you want to continue to see this page and your other favorite pages, please see the image for the easiest how to! Also, don’t forget to “like”, “share” & “tag” my pics and page, it will be the only way to keep it growing!
Here’s a short FAQ I’ve personally developed after correcting several people spreading panic throughout Facebook:
- Some of you have read about FB charging page owners for posting. Due to FB changes, I now only reach roughly 20 – 25% of my fans.Wrong; Facebook isn’t charging any page owner to post their content, nor have they reduced the reach of your content. The content reaches who it reaches naturally if you’re not using the new promotion feature. What the ‘reach’ numbers show is that less than everyone who can see your content was glued to their Facebook account long enough to see if flip through their news feed. With the rampant addiction to that site, I know it’s hard to imagine not everyone spends as much time there reading your stuff as you do re-posting stupid pictures of cats wearing bread on their heads.
- If you want to continue to see this page and your other favorite pages [make sure you have 'show in news feed' checked in the mouse-over menu on our 'like' button.]Wrong, again; Your page will not disappear from the news feed because you’re not paying for greater exposure (I’ll explain further down), and that check box is checked by default so it’s not mysteriously hiding your stuff either. Perhaps people don’t want their news feed clogged up with every cat/bread amalgam photo on the Internet.
- Also, don’t forget to “like”, “share” & “tag” my pics and page, it will be the only way to keep it growing! That’s never been the only way to keep it “growing”, if by growing you mean adding to number of ‘fans’ that you’ve misinterpreted as a stagnant content quality indicator. You could buy ads that drive likes, hide content until the page is liked and other ways! Just as an aside, I’ve never found a page so perfect with such amazing content 100% of the time that I will ‘like’, ‘share’, and ‘tag’ everything that is posted.
So take a look at the screen shot. This is what’s bad about the Facebook post promotion feature, paid spam in my news feed from pages I’ve never liked, without a way to turn it off! Adblockers have no way of determining that this post is an advertisement because it’s just a post in the news feed, which means you can’t block them. Also, I may not want to block all promoted posts because they might be something from a page I actually have ‘liked’ and would be interested in seeing!
So, the only way to not see this post in the future, I assume, is to ‘like’ the offending page and then uncheck the ‘show in news feed’ box, which essentially rewards that page with another like. That’s not a good thing from any angle. Many people, for better or worse, look at the number of likes a page has as some sort of quality indicator. The offender in this case looks like a ‘better’ company/page/person because the like count has increased by me actually not wanting to see their content, hence not liking them in the first place. It’s also no good as a page owner because I would be misled into thinking that because my like count has risen, I must be gaining popularity/credibility/achieving goals, but in fact my reputation would be going down. I know I dislike this company more now because of this being in my news feed.
Finally we come to the last part of the equation for people fretting over their ‘reach’ stats. STOP IT! This number is indicative of nothing worth knowing. It signifies the amount of people who saw your content as compared to the number of people who should have seen it if they didn’t have so much other stuff clogging up their news feed. The solution isn’t to clog it up further, which is what you’d be paying Facebook to do; you’d also be paying them to destroy your reputation if people hate this new form of spam as much as I do. I’m sure you can find better ways of spending your money. Also, perhaps your reach is dwindling because people like what your page stands for or the title of your page, but can’t stand to see the content you’re putting out, Facebook doesn’t give you a way to tell the difference because there isn’t a way unless they asked the users every time the unchecked that ‘show in my news feed’ box.
I have a feeling this is just a way to generate some extra cash to keep investors from panicking after a less than stellar performance from the Facebook stock when the company went public earlier this month.
What say you?