I’d like to think that people appreciate it when a news anchor warns a viewing audience, “Caution, what we’re about to show you can be disturbing.” Better yet, I’d like to think most of the time, people like it when an editorial decision is made not to air something because it’s too disturbing or perhaps even unethical to show it.
Unfortunately, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook don’t have that capability. That means that questions of common sense, ethics and decency are left up to the person who is about to post something. As a result, I have seen things that I not only wished I hadn’t seen, but I also get a headache wondering why someone would openly post such stuff without any consideration of others.
One of the worst examples is animal torture or anything sad related to dogs. Do I think there are times where sharing stories about abuse are appropriate? Yes.
Do I need to see images of a scared and helpless little dog being cornered by an abusive owner to go with it? No. Do I need to see an animal’s face ripped off? No. But, nonetheless – I saw both and I had no choice. That’s because these things weren’t posted with an optional link to click on them. Instead, these are images showing up in my Twitter and Facebook timeline.
As I write this, I just got done seeing a video with the text “MUST WATCH & SHARE PLEASE” underneath it. The video started as soon as I passed it on my Facebook timeline. It was a dog crying profusely over the gravesite of a loved one. Why is that a must watch? Why would you beg people to share that? It’s depressing! Is this the type of thing that we go to see on our social media pages?
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s not what most people want to see on their timelines.
Facebook has opened floodgates as to what can show up on your timeline. Not only video, but posts from people and companies you don’t even know. Not long ago, there was a really disgusting image showed up on my timeline. Since it was all written in another language, I have no idea what I was looking at. It kind of looked like a tumor busting out of what looked to be human skin.
It was super close-up, so I got a nice view of this disgusting growth growing out of someone. Again, it wasn’t a link. It was an image I was forced to see. It was hard getting that image out of my head and it made my skin crawl. I wondered again – What made someone share this for all the world to see?
Not long ago, someone shared a gruesome video of bodies lying all over the street in what was presumably an accident caused by texting. I had no choice but to see it.
This is not why I log into social media!
Want to make an anti-texting message? Fine. There are some awesome ads and videos that make a strong case without showing bloody bodies on the street.
This is my plea to the social media community – Please stop the madness! Use some discretion before you post stuff. Ask yourself why you’re sharing something and consider your audience before posting it.
Want to shock? Fine. Give people the option to click on something. Facebook & Twitter give you options to share photos/video or just post a link.
It’s not too much to ask and people will appreciate it.
When I think about the continuous algorithm changes Facebook has made in recent days, I can't help but think of the movie WarGames. In my head, however, Professor Falken is looking at his computer screen talking to the social platform instead of Joshua. I can hear him say,
"Facebook, what are you doing?"
It's important to point out, that I'm specifically talking about Facebook fan pages, not personal pages.
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that simply posting is going to generate leads and sales. That might have been an okay idea at one time, but you can't do that anymore. Now, you have to do a lot more and that's after you decide if it's worth it.
At the beginning of 2014, I remember reading that many companies were going to change their social media marketing strategy. At one time, they thought they had to be on as many social platforms as possible. This year, they are more likely to pick 2-3 that work best and just use those.
If your strategy consists of just posting and maybe running a few ads to gain followers, your challenges are just beginning. You'll notice that when you post something on your page, you'll see a little button on the lower right corner that says, "Boost". It could also say, "If you want people to see this, pay us."
If you don't boost the post, and it doesn't get any engagement, hardly anyone will see it. So, after you spend money to get people to like your page, you then have to spend money for them to see what you post. That's making a lot of people angry.
In other words, Facebook is not the ideal place for organic reach. As a result, I tend to caution small businesses and companies from using Facebook as a marketing tool. Keep in mind, I say caution and not rule out. Facebook marketing gurus like Amy Porterfield contend that they can still make the social platform work for you. However, you have to implement a multi-layered strategy and understand the results you should expect. Her process follows a roadmap of attraction, then promotion, then sales.
The good news is there are alternatives. For example, there's always Twitter and LinkedIn. Perhaps if Facebook isn't working for you, it might be time to give Google+ a chance. All social sites require a understanding of the platform and a strategy in order to maximize results...but alternatives to Facebook might not cost you as much money.