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Guest

Is it Time to Breakup With Facebook?

By: Guest | December 4, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is by Amy McCloskey Tobin.

Facebook was my first great social media love.

I resisted at first, but once I jumped in back in 2009, I was head over heels.

Other networks turned my head periodically, but Facebook claimed my time and my business heart.

I used it to build up one of my own small businesses – at one point 50 percent of our leads were coming from our own small, but highly engaged page.

I even began to do the unthinkable – I neglected my own website – sometimes for months.

But then Geoff Livingston smacked me in the face on my blog last week.  He said, “I think Facebook is toast if they don’t redirect in six months, seriously. Welcome to the big blue dwindle.”

Geoff has written about his own changed relationship with Facebook recently, and I have heard the death knell scenario foretold a zillion times by other marketers whom I respected, but this was the first time I took it seriously.

My repeated comeback in the past has always been, “The only way Facebook will die is by suicide.”

But I Thought You Loved Me?

I think the sickly mixture of Promoted and Sponsored posts may be the sound of Facebook pulling that very trigger. I know Mark Cuban is a hothead, but when he went off on his rant about having to pay to reach the followers his page had worked so hard to accumulate, I totally and wholeheartedly understood his rage.

Any business page with a decent following worked hard to grow that page and they all built it thinking they’d be able to reach that audience.  The only way they wouldn’t is if the audience found their message undesirable. With the requirement that they now pay to reach all of their own followers, Facebook pulled the rug out from under all of them.

I know, I know, Facebook does not owe us a damn thing; this post by Copyblogger makes that abundantly clear. We don’t pay a dime to use its services.

However, we in turn owe Facebook nothing either. It’s time to fall out of love with Facebook.

I Think it’s Time We See Other People

I am not advocating you leave Facebook. The one billion people in the world you might want to reach out to aren’t going anywhere suddenly. But I am advocating you do what Mark Cuban suggests, and make it a much, much less important part of your marketing arsenal.

If you’ve been building your social media strategy correctly, this won’t be quite a scary as it sounds. If, indeed, you’ve been using Facebook as a funnel, or one of the many octopus arms in your inbound marketing, you’ll be okay. That would mean your website is fresh and relevant, and contains relevant and attractive content.

All you need to do now is to start leaning on the many other funnels out there. Dust off that email marketing platform. Beef up your Twitter presence. Get Pinterest working hard.

Because Facebook isn’t the easy, free way of reaching out to your audience it once was. And I don’t see that open line of communication ever coming back.

Amy  McCloskey Tobin is the founding principal of Ariel Marketing Group, LLC. Her mission in life is to create smart, individualized marketing strategies for small business. 

98 comments
Rebecca Carter
Rebecca Carter

In case it hasn't been mentioned yet - no time to read through 96 comments! - I would highly recommend starting to use Google+ to reach out to potential customers as well. Don't bombard G-plussers with advertising in your posts, just become a presence on that network so you're seen and known.

 

Out of love with Facebook and in love with Google+ ;)

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@jessicasmiller @iContact @SpinSucks wow. I'll have to check mine.

WFHConcepts
WFHConcepts

Just like pennyfox...whew! I thought I was the only one who had reservations about Facebook. Yes, I admit I do have a Facebook page for my website, I'd be foolish not to include this in my social media marketing plan but it's not my main tunnel of sharing content and most of my time is on my website keeping my content fresh. In a way, your post helped me realized I'm taking the right approach. : ) 

 

Nothing against Facebook, it's a great social media venue but I had trouble buying into it at first. I don't even have a personal page, never have but I know what it can do for a small business. I enjoyed your post and looking forward to reading more! Have a great day.

HefferonJoe
HefferonJoe

@sacevero @SpinSucks Yes!! and thanks Stacey

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@MargieClayman @amberrisme @shonali Morning folks, and thx as always for sharin'

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@douglaserice And I only mentioned you in the comment section Dougie - shame on me.

JodiEchakowitz
JodiEchakowitz

Good food for thought, Amy. The one thing I wonder about Facebook - particular if it does take a nosedive as many of us are thinking - is what will happen to the communities (Facebook groups) that have developed and have become a go to resource for people so many.

 

For example, I am the moderator/community manager for a Facebook page for a not-for-profit organization (the page is used solely to share information, articles, facts, etc.). I am also the moderator/community manager for this not-for-profit's Facebook group which has over 1,000 members. The members of this group actively use it to get support from others who are facing similar issues, asked the community for advice/feedback, and sometimes to just get moral support when they are dealing with a positive or negative issue. Given that Facebook groups evolved quite some time ago, what are your thoughts on their role when examining the future of Facebook? 

penneyfox
penneyfox

Whew .. I thought I was the only one backing away from FB. I'm almost never on for personal reasons and just get in/get out for my clients and my fan pages. Once I found how easy and simple it is to use Pinterest (and how pinning can help businesses!), I never looked back.

 

Makes me wonder what's going to happen with FB down the road when more people start to feel the way you described in your post.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@howiegoldfarb @SpinSucks @ginidietrich Nuclear? Maybe I just started drawing up the battle plans.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@Lucido :) I think lust is gone too.

stevenmcoyle
stevenmcoyle

Facebook and I have been going through a nasty divorce for the past three years. I'm only still on there out of "obligation and devotion." 

 

Business wise, I think it's foolish to not spread your business across multiple platforms. Great article, I agree.

howiegoldfarb
howiegoldfarb

@thejoshuawilner lol they have a lot of young talent so maybe they can compete i to august

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

Thank you for this!!! I left my personal FB account for ages, and have been sucked right back in socially, yet I still question its business value. 

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I am always the person who does things first. I said short the IPO over a year before they went public....so of course

http://spaceagencynotes.blogspot.com/2011/09/social-tuesday-why-chief-alien-left.html

 

But then @ginidietrich @Danny Brown sucked me back in so now I spend on average 6 minutes a day. They blew their chance in 2009. I blogged about the broken business model. I suggested they charge $3 a month for a killer comm service for people. Combined on a smart phone they could of delivered what nextel tried pre-smart phones. And since we pay $100 for cell/data service if they got just 200m of the 400m to sign up they would have $7.2 billion in revenues and they could shut out all advertising and even brands and reinvest in the user experience. They are now old technology and dying fast. @benkunz wrote a blog post about maybe a year ago regarding how all networks die.

 

Seriously if Friendster and Myspace can be left so can Facebook. Maybe they will die before something takes its place if the value for using it goes negative like what happened at Myspace (spam, long page loads, crashing etc)

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen

@mistya0730 I've still having a love affair with Twitter ;) @ginidietrich

EvilPRGuy
EvilPRGuy

@jeffespo @ginidietrich I broke up with Facebook a long time ago and nuked my account. You have to be a little dumb to have one. #privacy

hessiej
hessiej

Do you know the sad thing @AmyMccTobin , Some brads are still buying into success = the number of likes. They somehow think that seeing a physical number negates the "number of users" who actually engage with the brand posts, let alone SEE them. If Mark Zuckerberg mandated brands to use timeline and sponsored stories as a way to add value to users, it hasn't worked. Brands are more frustrated because they HAVE to buy ads to drive their own fans to their pages. I personally have never really bought into their ad model because it was counterintuitive to the platform's purpose. Someone should actually measure the value of an organic LIKE vs. Paid Like IMHO.

geoffliving
geoffliving

@christuttle LOL, I'm totally unfaithful to the Big Blue Dwindle these days.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@TedCurtin @knealemann Ha! It IS. People are reading into it that I said LEAVE. Nope. I said rely on other mktg channels more.

SharonBautista
SharonBautista

I'm a singer/songwriter/musician and I had a GREAT following on myspace.  I have to say that facebook is just not the same as far as music goes.  I realize I am in the minority here as everyone else is speaking of business outside of entertainment.  I was able to reach sooo many more people on myspace until IT changed too.  These forums make their money and then self destruct.  Sadly.

Please don't laugh at me for mentioning myspace.  It WAS once a tremendous music platform. (-;

ChristineHowse
ChristineHowse

From those of us who use Facebook to link up with family in far away places, to reconnect with school friends, to make new friends to see photographs of friends new babies, their weddings etc I find business pages and advertisements an irritation of the highest degree and an invasion of my timeline. My two cents worth please Facebook go back to the days where we were a community and not a platform where advertisers invaded our privacy.

TedRubin
TedRubin

@domainadvisor @bowden2bowden @AmyMccTobin @andreabritton Yes!

sohinibaliga
sohinibaliga

@ginidietrich @AmyMccTobin Completely on point. Am currently setting up an fb pg for a friend, but it's a "cover your bases" kind of thing.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @Rebecca Carter Hi there... sadly, G+ is the boyfriend I'm just not attracted to.  My clients aren't there... and their customers certainly aren't.  So they can market to the hardcore G+ users, but it's still a desert.  Of course I make sure G+ is a part of their strategy, but I don't trust Google's numbers on activity in their because they're tricky.I'm spending more of their time on Pinterest, Twitter, and niche networks, and waiting patiently for the  new MySpace to get out of beta to see what's up with that.

shonali
shonali

@amymcctobin @MargieClayman You're welcome! @amberrisme

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @JodiEchakowitz I don't think it will disappear Jodi - heck, even MySpace is still around and 'reinventing.'  As far as groups and using it as a communication tool - why stop?  But for brands that have been relying heavily on it to reach their followers... I see a big pull back coming.  Eventually, if you do decide to rebuild on another platform, you'll have time to invite your group over there...

JodiEchakowitz
JodiEchakowitz

Haha! I think the water got to me... just re-read this part of my comment: "for people so many." Seems my language skills disappear after 5:30pm!

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @penneyfox Pinterest is one of the big draws away. I actually think niche networks have a real opportunity. I've been watching Senatus (luxury community) for a few years. Most people haven't heard of it - it caters to the very wealthy, but it has been thriving.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @stevenmcoyle I still spend hours on FB everyday... and I still use it for Biz, but I am certainly shifting that focus to other platforms.  All divorces are filled with regret though.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@EvilPRGuy Oh @jeffespo is dumb. No question about it.

jeffespo
jeffespo

@EvilPRGuy @ginidietrich are you calling me dumb? I thought you established that years ago

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @hessiej And obviously the 'organic' likes were what brands aimed for initially... which is why Cuban blew his top.  Now, the first post I see is usually sponsored  spam.... and I think this has the danger to destroy Facebook's charm.  Add that to the brands who are angry at the shift in access to your own fans, and you have a real opportunity for another platform to sneak in.

flemingsean
flemingsean

 @SharonBautista Sharon, I'm also a singer/songwriter/musician.  But because I work in PR & digital communications, I've been watching the MySpace resurrection rumours for a while, with mounting interest.  

I have a feeling that if/when the 'new' MySpace gets its act together there could well be a surge in interest in it.  I think a combination of nostalgia (a bit like the sentiments you've expressed) and a desire from many people for an alternative to Facebook (burn all the people who say Google+ is a Facebook alternative, it isn't).

I'm not the only person expressing this view - about MySpace making a genuine comeback.  No, it's not obvious, it might not even be likely.  But there are a lot of indicators there that it might be on the cards.

IF MySpace gets itself together.  :)

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @SharonBautista Hey there Sharon... from what I hear it may be again.  And your point is totally valid: that these channels that we DO NOT own and DO NOT control can evaporate before our eyes. Use them effectively to draw people to your hub - your website, or to build your brand. But the social space changes rapidly: all of us must be adaptive and ready to evolve with it.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @ChristineHowse Sadly, it's about revenue Christine.  Do posts from pages you Liked annoy you.  You have hit on EXACTLY what my point is, if I didn't express it clearly: by allowing sponsored & promoted posts to clutter up a news feed, you are annoying the 'customer' by interrupting them.   By forcing the Sm Biz Page to PAY to reach their own followers completely, you are annoying THEM.  People start looking around for other channels, and they might just find one.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@TedRubin @domainadvisor @bowden2bowden @andreabritton Of course, but how will they earn revenue? THE reason they're in biz. Driving biz out

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@sohinibaliga Exactly... the same reason I continue to set up G+ pages in that desert.

jeffespo
jeffespo

@ginidietrich @EvilPRGuy I will cut both of you... bought me the Rambo knife this weekend in Jersey...

EvilPRGuy
EvilPRGuy

@jeffespo @ginidietrich Fess up. You just play dumb on Facebook.

TedRubin
TedRubin

@AmyMccTobin @domainadvisor @bowden2bowden @andreabritton Very simple... start charging Brands for like, data, services.

sohinibaliga
sohinibaliga

@AmyMccTobin Ah yes the G+ desert. Not much of a party there .....

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@bowden2bowden @TedRubin @domainadvisor @andreabritton Of COURSE.. remember, I was in LOVE. But I think they're making a huge mistake here

bowden2bowden
bowden2bowden

@AmyMccTobin @tedrubin @domainadvisor @andreabritton but you have to give FB credit for driving that audience and providing the platform

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@TedRubin @domainadvisor @bowden2bowden @andreabritton Charging to reach the audience you spent $$ building = dumb.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@TedRubin @domainadvisor @bowden2bowden @andreabritton harging for data that is valuable is a no brainer.... cont...

bowden2bowden
bowden2bowden

@TedRubin @amymcctobin @domainadvisor @andreabritton Sounds like a solid plan to me :)

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