Understanding Facebook for Business and User Experience

In this article you can expect to find education and insight into some of the deeper elements of Facebook (and maybe a little humor, too).

Facebook, you're doing it wrong.

It has been nearly two months since this photog, marketer and traveler embarked on an indefinite road trip.  On a Sunday, much like any Sunday, this traveler found himself at a park in Portland Oregon, laying in a thick patch of grass with his dog.  With him, his car keys, his wallet and his cell phone.  He sat there for a while, when a man walked by.  This man had a frisbee in his backpack.

The weary traveler was a fan of frisbee and asked to play.  Together they threw the frisbee around for a while.  Stopping to take a water break, the two men gathered around their possessions.  The frisbee player then informed the weary traveler of the Facebook group that hosts the schedule for all of the games. 

"It's called PDX Goaltimate," the frisbee player said as the traveler opened the Facebook app to search.  

Now, PDX is a very popular acronym for the City of Portland.  Many businesses use PDX in their name.  But when the traveler typed PDX into his phone, PDX Goaltimate immediately popped up.  

Why?  The traveler wondered.  The group had only 124 members.  That would certainly not warrant precedence in a search query.  

The reason why is that Facebook is accessing our microphones, and much more.  Scary, I know, but what does it mean to you?

My celebrity dog.

Facebook has been, and is, the foundation for many of our communications.  I have personally benefited from Facebook, even starting a business based on Facebook management.  There are many reasons why I should be, and am, fortunate to have Facebook.  Hell, they recently verified my dog as a celebrity (yeah, that's real life).   

But in my time on this earth, I have learned one important lesson:  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

There are two types of Facebook users: regular folk and businesses.  Both depend on Facebook for different reasons, both are being taken advantage of.  

Why us regular folk should be concerned...

Many of you probably know what cookie is, but this taste delight isn't as wonderful when you place a HTTP in front of it. 

HTTP Cookies are messages that web servers pass to your web browser when you visit Internet sites. Your browser stores each message in a small file, called cookie.txt. When you request another page from the server, your browser sends the cookie back to the server. These files typically contain information about your visit to the web page, as well as any information you've volunteered, such as your name and interests.  (Indiana University © 2014)

These cookies are helpful for brands to target their marketing efforts.  If you're doing a lot of cast iron skillet searches, for instance, you'll likely see ads on web pages for those products.  The more information these brands can gather about you, the better than can target you for sales.  

Facebook is about to do away with mobile messaging on their app.  You will soon have to use their messenger app if you want to access your Facebook messages.  What many people do not know, is that by using this app, you are giving Facebook permission to access your microphone, your camera, your messages, your call logs, it can even make phone calls on your behalf from your phone.  Basically all of the communications you make with your phone, you're giving Facebook access to.  Troubling, right?  Check out this video, it will give you a little more detail.

Why businesses should be concerned..

My dog, Sid, had a few hundred Facebook likes before I ran a Facebook Ad Campaign.  I paid $8/day, targeting new Facebook likes.  Much to my surprise, new likes were pouring in!  There were over 300 new likes in the first day.  As I watched the numbers, I noticed I received roughly 250 the second day, 150 the third and after about a week, the numbers diminished to just a few likes each day.  Even though I was still paying the same amount, the number has dwindled to next to nothing. 

I stopped the campaign.  A couple of week later, I ran the saem campaign, and the same thing happened.  Since I wasn't concerned where the likes were coming from, I targeted the whole world.  It wasn't long before I started to look a little deeper into who was liking My Regal Beagle.  Instantly, I saw similarities between the accounts that were fans of my 25 lb blonde mutt.  Every account had very few friends, a seemingly infinite amount of pages liked and shared Facebook links almost every hour.

What was even more perplexing, was that the majority of these likes were coming from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Egypt.  They liked the page, but never engaged once.  Not a single like, comment, or share.  

After a while, I found myself on a website that appears to be the underbelly of the internet, BlackHatWorld.com.  There I found a forum where users would post about all of the shortcuts to internet marketing.  One individual claimed he had created a software that could create up to 5,000 Facebook accounts per month.

How would this be useful?  If you want you brand to look good on Facebook, you need likes.  Likes mean legitimacy, well, they used to.  The owners of these fake accounts can make you look good, for a price, by liking your page.  Going one step further, there are web services like Fiver.com that will do a bunch of stuff for just five dollars.  Most of the offers on this website are to promote your business on their Facebook page that has 100,000 plus Facebook likes.  Great exposure, right? Wrong.

It's accounts like these that prey on small business owners who know they need a Facebook presence but don't understand how Facebook works.  Do you know which demographic is using Facebook the most right now?  Men and women ages 40 to 60.

The people who resisted Facebook (technology in general) for the longest time and have now finally folded.  Trouble is, their susceptible to false hope and the manipulative ways of internet scammers.  It's important that business owner understand what they are investing in, because it can go horribly wrong.  And for many, every business expense is a critical one; no one wants to afford a social media budget.  

Take a look at this video, it will give you a good idea of what you can expect from Facebook advertising. 

So what should you do?

Simple, be less dependant on Facebook.  You can't neglect your presence on Facebook, but in many cases the Pay to Play structure of their advertising isn't practical for many businesses.  

My recommendation, start an Instagram account...  

Post quality images methodically.  Post with purpose and always consider your audience and the time of your post when you fire out an image.  Then, forward that image on to Facebook.  Images do very well with ADHD America.  Forwarding your posts should be sufficient content for you business Facebook page.  

Stay on top of technology!!!!!

Don't let yourself get dependant and behind on what's new in connecting with your audience.  This means YOU MAY HAVE TO HIRE A YOUNG PERSON WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.  Tough reality to face, but it's the truth!

Best of luck out there.  Let the process of weaning yourself off of Facebook commence!


Oh, and I'm available for hire. ;-)