Facebook: It’s Complicated

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Facebook Data

I realized that Facebook would be a gamechanger for marketing when I joined. As with most folks, I added the information that I was comfortable sharing. For example, I indicated that I was a bird watcher and artist.

When I opened my news feed and found an ad for a birding event in my area. I called a friend, who hadn’t heard about the event. We decided to go. Later, there was an ad for a company called Cheap Joe’s. It offered art supplies at discounted prices. I bought a tube of paint and have been a satisfied customer ever since. Without Facebook, I may never have known about these things. I understood that I was “targeted.” I am okay with that type of targeting.

You are the Product

When Facebook began to offer ads that used member information, I spent a lot of time talking to business groups about how to capitalize on this platform. What I told my audience was that Facebook’s business model was to allow access to information freely given by its members (who had signed up for free) in order to make these folks aware of advertisers’ products and services. In other words, advertisers are Facebook’s customers. Members’ information is the product.

Facebook has never hidden the fact that information shared on the platform is available to other members and advertisers. When talking about social media, I have always tried to make it clear that It is incumbent on members to avoid over-sharing.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The growth of Facebook has been truly amazing. In just a few years, it has become one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. The information it has amassed on its members is mind boggling. As with many young companies, it is struggling with growing pains. It has come to grips with the fact that their platform can be used for nefarious purposes. They are discovering that giving “bad actors” access to information on its members can present problems. They have promised to “fix” the problems but understand that it will not be easy.

In the Meantime, Facebook is Still a Good Place to Advertise

The truth is that Facebook has become a part of our lives. But what may (and should) happen is that people will become more careful about what they share. They should review privacy settings and think about what they are posting.

Facebook is in the process of tightening their privacy policies. They have also promised to diligently weed out the “bad actors” who have abused their platform to market “fake” or damaging news.

For most people, what is shared with Facebook (or Google or almost any digital company) is worth it if they find people whom they want to associate and companies that provide information and products they are interested in.

Social Media Marketing is Worth it – If it is Done Right

Facebook is currently working on algorithms that will change the way marketing is done on their platform. Ads considered inappropriate will be deleted and accounts that don’t follow the rules might find themselves being kicked off the site permanently.

If you are spending time and/or money on a Facebook business page, it is crucial that you review how you are using the site and make sure you are following all guidelines. It is also a good idea to stop wasting time and money on social strategies that are not working for you.

With over 2 billion users, Facebook, has become more than a place to share pictures of pets and children. It is a player on the world stage. People are using it for news and information, and as a place to learn about (and purchase) products and services.

The good news is that as FB weeds out the bad actors, it leaves more room on members’ news feeds for legitimate businesses. In fact, during the last few weeks, our clients have all seen a dramatic increase in engagement on their pages!


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Author: Laura Donovan

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