Can you please hand me that rag so I can dust off my soap box?
Love it, hate it, or love to hate it, Facebook pervades every part of our existence.
Facebook has never been in our daily conversation more so than now.
I get that folks are upset. I get it. I do.
Facebook isn’t a charity. It’s not a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting you with that classmate you kind of liked in the third grade, nor is it a community outreach program that links your birthday with causes closest to your heart. (I mean, it kinda does that, but still…)
Facebook is a corporate entity whose goal is to make money.
How do they do that?
Well, they sell data about people to other companies so that those other companies can craft really specific, high-targeted, customized ad campaigns to get you to buy stuff.
You get to connect with that kid from third grade, support your favorite charity, share pics of your kids and pets with all your family and friends around the globe, organize local events, sell your car, market your blog’s content, etc., etc., etc. not for free, but for the cost of your data.
That has been the cost, the exchange, since the day you set up your profile.
I’m OK with that. I was pretty clear what I was trading to use the platform, and I thought it was a pretty decent deal. I got a lot of connectedness in exchange for some details about my life that I was already willing to share on the internet. Anything I’m not willing to share? Well, they don’t get that “payment” from me.
Not everyone is OK with this exchange. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why because targeted ads also make online shopping a heckuva lot easier these days, and you’re the one choosing to publish private info and family photos and your birthday on the internet.
But I digress.
Not everyone is OK with this exchange. That means some of your readers might not be OK with it and might quit Facebook. That means some of your readers might stop checking Facebook minute-by-minute and, rather, do a quick weekly scan of their timeline.
In other words, all this attention on Facebook’s data-selling business might diminish your audience.
Plus, a ton of publishers are up in arms that Facebook is charging companies to have their content seen. (See previous point re: Facebook not being a charity.)
I mean, I have to hand it to them: It was an epic bait-and-switch. Facebook got us all to create pages to promote our content. We did. We built an audience. That audience grew and so did our readership. The more you shared, the more engagement you got, the more you kept your readers on Facebook, the bigger your numbers became. Awesome, right?!?
PSYCH! Now you gotta pay!
With their new algorithms and rules of engagement, Facebook prioritizes paid content.
Unless you “pay to play” your content isn’t seen even by your own audience that you build following all their previous rules. Now? In order for even those folks to see what you create, you have to kick in some cash.
And who’s to say that won’t change again down the line? Maybe Facebook will go all-in with Bitcoin, and none of you use Bitcoin (I mean, honestly? Who does.) Well, then you’re stuck.
Really, they can decide anything they want because it’s their platform.
Know what isn’t their platform?
Your email list.
You shouldn’t rely on Facebook to build your audience. Facebook connects you to your audience, sure, but it shouldn’t be the place your pour your time and energy into (unless, of course, Facebook growth is somehow critical to your business’ success somehow for some reason…).
Pour your energy into your blog.
Pour your time into building your email list.
Those are the things you own. Those are the things you control.
Why build a house on someone else’s land?
Don’t rely on Facebook to build your audience!
And now I shall step off my soap box, but I’d love to connect with you on this topic… tweet me @maggiemarton your thoughts on Facebook and audience building!