Wednesday, 29 May 2013
To Facebook or not to Facebook
Those of you who are 'fans' of me on Facebook will know that I run a fairly busy page. I enjoy Facebook for the most part and never really looked at it as a chore. I've met some fantastically funny people whose comments genuinely perk me up via my fanpage as well as some amazing supporters. And I've worked hard to gain new fans by being picky about my content and running giveaways etc. I've even invested in a few paid promotions via Facebook in an effort to get more targeted fans. But is it really worth it? Recently, in spite of a nice influx of 'likes' following the success of one of my titles, interaction has plummeted. For the vast majority of my posts, approximately 5 - 15% of my fans see them. Essentially I'm barely reaching anyone in the vast wilderness that is Facebook.
Now a lot of this is to do with changes to algorithms and the quantity of pages out there. People 'like' so many pages that its hard to get into their newsfeeds. But also you'll have noticed a rise in the amount of sponsored stories sneaking into your newsfeed. I check my Facebook page constantly. I mean, constantly, and there is always a sponsored story at the top and several cluttering up the rest of my feed. And if you run a fan page you will have noticed that they've replaced the area where you could see all your new fans with a nice big box pushing you to purchase further exposure. And it ain't cheap.
So here's the thing - do I put my very minuscule advertising budget into Facebook and pray that those 10 likes I gain purchase all my books or do I go elsewhere? In general, Facebook is becoming more and more uncomfortable to use and I can feel my terrible addiction to it waning. Friends getting banned, ads just about everywhere, lack of visibility... I think Facebook need to get over their cocky assumption that they are that amazing that people won't give up and go elsewhere. I've always sworn Facebook was my best marketing tool up until recently. Well, sorry Facebook but I will not be piling money into you anymore. Knowing how easily you could pull the plug on my page and how cannily you hide everything, I am not pouring my money down that drain.
Fellow authors, I urge you NOT to pay for sponsored stuff. As a consumer I am peeved with each ad and I am spamming them as well as blocking the content of that page. I know others who do the same and I suspect there are many more. Don't allow Facebook to be your only form of advertising and look elsewhere.
And finally - Googleplus sort yourselves out. We need some competition. You are a big, supposedly clever company and yet your 'social network' is the biggest, most confusing mess I've ever seen. You have the money and the power to do something amazing, so please do it. Bring social networking back to what it was originally intended for - making social connections. Oh yes, and with strangers if I want to, thanks very much. Some of my closest friends happen to be people I've never even met. So what's your experience with Facebook? Do the ads bother you? And if you run a fanpage how do you feel about its effectiveness?