The blogosphere has been bursting with complaints about Facebook in recent weeks. Facebook, notorious for constantly changing the rules of the game (and always for the worse, it seems), has changed them once again. This time, the change means that just a fraction of our Facebook pages’ fans actually see our posts in their news feeds. We can certainly increase that number – but it will cost us.
So can we really blame Facebook for wanting to make money and trying out different ways to achieve that goal? After all, Facebook is a social platform, but it’s a business, and businesses have a right to make money. It’s good for the business, it’s good for the business’ employees, it’s good for the economy.
I think what really irks people is not that Facebook is trying to make money, but rather the disrespect it consistently shows by changing the rules so often, by doing so without notifying anyone, and in general by displaying an arrogant, uncaring attitude of “we can do whatever we want, it’s our company and it’s super cool.”
I own a business too, but I could never get away with being so careless towards my clients.
There’s also the issue of suddenly taking away from users something that they have become accustomed to having. So, if I’m used to 25% of fans seeing my posts, and suddenly it goes down to 7%, even though I didn’t change anything, I am obviously going to be upset.
The change feels especially sleazy because not just fan pages, but also individual profile pages were affected. So fewer of your friends see your posts, and now you have that little enticing link at the bottom of each of your posts that tells you you can promote them. Ewww.
So why does Facebook keep getting away with this behavior? Because we have no choice. Even with all those other social media options out there, Facebook is still the most powerful tool we marketers have for connecting with our audience. Twitter is fairly weak in my opinion, Instagram is limited to photo-sharing, and while Pinterest has a huge potential, it will probably take some time until it reaches that potential. For now, Facebook is the most varied, media-rich, useful tool we have at our disposal.
Personally, I am torn between being grateful to Facebook for the (mostly) free tool it gives me for promoting my business and my clients’ businesses, and hoping it continues to flourish, and being so mad at their antics that I hope they’ll someday be wiped out by an amazing competitor who would be transparent, fair and non-arrogant. Time will tell!