I’m no stranger to social media.
You might say “I’m ancient”.
In spite of being enrolled in Medicare, I operate double-digit WordPress and Zen cart sites and have probably half a million humans(?) following me on social media in the captive bird niche.
My target audience defined broken down by buyer persona:
Does the mirror fog when you place it under their nose? Yes.
Do they have or are they thinking of acquiring a captive bird? Yes
Great make sure we acquire their email.
We were early adopters of YouTube in 2006 and created our Facebook presence in 2010. With the rollout of fan pages in 2011 we started to amass followers, organically.
As a full-time webmaster and SEO since 2002, I was not unfamiliar with Google algorithms.
Facebook claimed to have its own algos, eventually bragging that it used up to 100,000 signals to determine what to serve up in an individual’s news feed.
“What I had for brunch.”
999,996 signals left – hmmmm
How Google became the largest search engine on the planet with a mere 200 signals is a still a head-scratcher to all those facebook developer child geniuses.
Remember when fan page discussions on LinkedIn were all the rage like “I’ll follow your page if you follow my page, he he he?”
People were blind to the fact that a cosmetics fan page and a dog walking fan page following a plumbing parts fan page did absolutely nothing to boost any of the said fan pages engagement because no one ever returned to the plumbing parts fan page (I think they still have the same 3 and only fans from 2012)
Speaking of engagement, which is still a buzzword today, early on I went to the bank and tried to deposit engagement but the banker said “engagement has no real value.”
I replied “I have 120,000 Facebook fans (at the time, now 260,000 Facebook fans) the banker said, “We only accept currency here – I have no idea what a Facebook fan is worth.”
No doubt countless death threats were made by enraged social media marketers when someone else suggested a fan value less than they “declared”.
That didn’t stop me.
I analyzed and re-analyzed.
I subscribed to software that told me the precise time to post on Facebook.
That in-and-of-itself was a conundrum because of the 24 time zones thing. But I spent my 30 bucks a month soaking in the data.
It’s no secret that I am a lover of whiskey (primarily Scotch and Irish).
One early morning (about 2 AM CST) when our fan page was just nearing 200,000 fans I saw a great image of a bunch of eastern Rosellas (a type of Australian parakeet) forming a large circle on the ground while foraging for seed.
John Jameson had been mentoring me that evening and whispered: “ignore the $30/mo software data – SHARE IT NOW!”.
The image got close to 100,000 likes.
How could that be?
I was 11 hours late according to my $30 a month software data.
I canceled the subscription and now post whenever I get a chance or see something relevant to my mirror fogging captive bird keepers
By mid-2013 I had cracked the code for Facebook engagement.
Our fan page was absorbing 1000 to 3000 new fans every 24 hours
The page had a weekly organic reach as high as 3 million people.
In April and May of 2014 SocialBakers.com, the benchmark of social media data ranked our fan page number 3 for engagement in the e-commerce category on Facebook. Number 3 out of hundreds of thousands of Facebook fan pages!
File under “one-hit wonders.”
By November 2014, big sis, Sheryl (Sanders) stepped in and told Lil bro “Zuck you can still play with your hacker peeps but we now have adult STOCKHOLDERS so we’re going to start charging and stop giving sh*t away for free.
We will make engagement our own form of currency.”
Then like Dorothy throwing water on the wicked witch our weekly organic reach burned down a flaming greased flagpole from 3 million to under 100,000 “people reached” per week. The message was abundantly clear “the time has come for pay to play.”
With several years of AdWords experience, I figured “no problem.” I adopted a platform called AdExpresso, which enabled me to create up to 256 Facebook ads from just a handful of content and images a/b/c/d/e/f/g/h/i….testing (the Facebook way).
This enabled me to quickly find ads with high ROI.
The first eye-opening experience was seeing how damaged Facebook’s conversion pixel was and still is today.
The data it delivered had no relationship to what occurred on our e-commerce website.
I collect enough metrics to easily triangulate site visitors. After spending several thousand dollars over the next 3 or 4 months testing ways to drive converting traffic to our site, I said “enough.”
Coming to the conclusion that we would have to spend $30,000 monthly to regain the engagement (which the banker said had no value) we were getting for free earlier in the year.
Although engagement has dwindled I still post to our Facebook page 5 to 7 days a week with images, our own blog posts and video – no one reads words nor listens to videos on Facebook.
To this very day, none of the metrics make sense. Facebook data indicates I reached 98,000 people last week. We had about 20,000 video views and a combined maybe 1500 likes – where are the 70,000 other people I’m reaching?
How does my fan page with 269,000 fans get more likes on a post some days than Coca-Cola with 8 million fans? Why don’t more people question this? Facebook’s numbers never have and never will make any sense.
File under: get over it
In the latest round of news from Facebook for 2018 we were rudely informed once again that the fan pages we invested several years of our life and work, not to mention all those ad dollars will no longer be as relevant because they want to get back to a kinder and gentler Facebook (think Russian cryptocurrency hackers).
Let’s stop here and ask rhetorically:
Do you see ads for items you visited on a website days earlier?
On Facebook, they are “Dynamic Ads” (“remarketing” on Google) which you’ll see on Facebook or anywhere on the web
Are you a small business person?
Do you ever get calls on your cell phone offering financing?
Do you get cold calls and unsolicited emails?
Facebook makes a bunch of money from selling ads on and off-site. It makes more from selling (YOUR) user data. (34 Billion in profits last year, kids)
We have one more child billionaire (I miss Travis stories) flipping the bird to us (again) because “Boost this post” for 10 bucks a crack is an inefficient way to earn ad dollars.
It’s a bookkeeping nightmare, uses way too much bandwidth and having a bunch of big brands shelling out billions (on discounted media buys) is a lot smarter than millions of small brand shelling out pennies.
Sheryl, thank you for keeping Mark from drowning in a cesspool of fake news and thank you, Zuck.
Do you ever wash those hoodies or just ask mom?