Sometimes I feel like I’m just being a contrarian. When Facebook went public I thought the company was terrible and had absoutely no value. I said things like, “Facebook only feeds our narcissistic and voyeuristic tendencies.” Actually, Om Malik from GigaOm actually called it “one of the most succinct takedowns of Facebook ever.” Yikes. Now that Facebook’s stock has plummeted (it currently sits at: 19.06) I’m going to tell you everything I love about the channel. Am I a flip-flopper? Maybe. But my job involves providing solutions for people, not just focusing on issues and problems. Below, you’ll find some reasons that still make Facebook a pretty good place to go if you want to reach people.
The thing about Facebook is that everyone and their mother (quite literally) is on there. That means there’s an amazing amount of potential in terms of reaching people who might be interested in your content, brand, product, service, etc… Recently, I started to help manage various social profiles for Ram Dass aka Richard Alpert. When I took over the stats were looking pretty good. On his foundation’s Facebook page there were about 38,000 likes and approximately 600 new likes every week. However, there wasn’t a ton of engagement in terms of comments. So how do you get more comments? Simple, ask questions. After asking the question, “How can you make the world a better place today?” the status received well over 200 comments in a few hours with some truly excellent responses. That’s some serious engagement. No matter how may negatives you can find about Facebook (and there are a lot) it remains an excellent place to build, grow and mobilize a community.
This relates to number one. The sheer number of people using Facebook means you can distribute content to your immediate network quicker than most other channels. If you’re working on or doing something big, your immediate network (friends, family, co-workers) is a great place to get some initial word of mouth going. You might be surprised how quickly content can proliferate on Facebook. All you need is a few shares here and there and your stuff has the chance to spread like wildfire. Also, don’t be afraid to branch out and comment on friends of friends or perfect strangers postings, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.
Before you start trying to push people to different places, understand you have to build up a certain level of trust. Remember, no one likes a spammer. If you’re using Facebook correctly then you know how important the use of images are. Let’s say you overlay some text onto a picture then ask in a status update for your viewers to click on a link. You’ve now created a funnel, that not only gets people to go where you want them to go, but also sets you up for some prime analyticizing (yes, I’m aware that’s not a real word). The beauty of web analytics is you can gauge how effective any given channel is. Booya. Despite all it’s flaws Facebook can still drive traffic to places around the web.
One of the main complaints I hear regarding Facebook is that the timeline feature is beyond annoying. So many comments and updates about things that have no relevance to people’s current state of consciousness. Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, a lot of your “friends” say things that can either annoy, bother, upset or just generally take you to a mind-state that you don’t want to dwell in. The good news is? You can curate your timeline just like anything else you view on the web. That means it’s time to start taking some personal responsibility as fas as pruning your feed is concerned. Someone bugging you? Snip, snip, snip. Annoying picture of a politician saying something stupid? Snip, snip, snip. Request to join someone’s game farm? Seeya later. You get the point. Once you have a timeline that you actually enjoy, Facebook won’t seem like such a horrible place.
I jokingly say I was wrong about Facebook. I still think there are major flaws with the company in its current incarnation, the least of which are looming privacy issues. It’s not the right platform for everyone and every brand. Marketing teams are throwing money at Facebook like it’s a panacea. The fact is, Facebook was never intended to be an ad-serving company. Until Facebook figures out what business model will lead to sustained success (think data mining) I’ll continue to be wary of the platform as whole. That doesn’t mean in the meantime you shouldn’t use the positive aspects of Facebook for your benefit. If you want another article on how to leverage Facebook check out James Altucher’s article, “How To Get 100,000 Facebook Likes For Your Blog Fan Page.” There are some excellent tips in there and James is an amazingly insightful and nice guy. Thanks for reading and happy Facebookin’.