Social media

Why Facebook is Not Worth The Effort?

facebook-like-unlikeBy now we all know the importance of a social media presence, but many people fail to make the most of this presence. Every time a social media account is created, there is a good chance that it will fall flat, fail to generate engagement, and just be left running for the sake of being there.

I recently had a clear out on Twitter, call me anti-social, but I like my feed to be quiet, clear of unnecessary noise. Looking through the early accounts that I followed, I saw many that had piqued my interest, but then failed to engage me, or anybody else. As a result they had been abandoned, the last tweets being in 2011.

This kind of behaviour on Twitter makes no sense, the network is a great outlet for customer service so, even if you don't put much effort in, at least let people know you're there. On Facebook though, you can soon find yourself talking to a brick wall. Brands that excel on Twitter, can stagnate on Facebook.

The problem is Facebook's insistence is that they know what people want to see. The Edgerank algorithm effectively gags small businesses, making it difficult to reach people organically. When a fan page updates its status, less than one fifth of the fans will notice it on their feed. To get more exposure, you need to either;

  • Get more likes, comments or shares on our posts.
  • Bribe Facebook.

Essentially then, Facebook are trying to be Google. To get to the top of Google's rankings, you need to build up a health backlink profile; while you can buy these links, natural and organic growth is more effective. If this doesn't appeal to you, there is always PPC. Through paid and organic content, Facebook seems to be balancing revenue and usability.

Just like search engine optimisation, the exact science of Facebook likes is not yet fully understood. We are irrational beings, and many people seem to switch their brains off when Facebooking, making it impossible to tell what will be liked. After putting together a witty, thought provoking status, seeing it fail can be disheartening, especially when some people can gain 100 likes by posting.

‘Like if you like kittens, ignore if you worship Satan'

These irritating updates show how Facebook's attempts to balance usability and revenue have failed, moreover they show what you are up against. The social network may feel that these spammy pages are robbing them of money and may set out after them, but enforcing this will be difficult. There is too much grey area, if you removed all the obvious attention grabbing posts, there would be little left.

To be honest, if you can nail Facebook down, you will have a powerful online presence, this however, seems to be reserved for the big names. To keep up with these you will find yourself investing hours of time and effort, constantly fighting the tide, treading water in a pool of spam and nonsense.

Twitter still has an element of brainlessness, the cast of Jersey Shore can all be found here, but allows you to select who you engage with. You gain a better quality fanbase, although it is smaller and less engaging, you are more likely to connect with the people you want, cutting out the deadwood.

More importantly though, your followers can see everything you post. This allows you to maintain clear channels of communication with them, there is no algorithm to figure out.

When posting a Facebook status, you are essentially attaching a message to a pigeon and hoping it reaches its target. While you could waste time understanding pigeons and training them better, your resources should be invested elsewhere.

Joe Errington is a marketing and social media executive for MITIE, a strategic outsourcing company who look after the facilities management in the UK and abroad.

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