You Don’t Have To Be a Slave to Facebook to Get Fans

Telling the Truth About Facebook Pages: I Think They Suck Alright, here goes. I’ve been ignoring this for far too long. I’ve been keeping my thoughts to myself. I’ve been encouraging myself and others to persevere through this traumatic experience called Facebook Pages. I’m going to suck it up and say what I really think about Facebook Pages.

I think they suck. Really, I’m so tired of mine.

I’m tired of:

  • Having to connect with people on Facebook’s terms (and let’s face it, nobody is happy with Facebook’s lack of consideration for the user’s feelings on their interface re-designs).
  • Facebook’s algorithms punishing me for being a new page owner with limited reach and engagement. Really Facebook? I have to start somewhere!
  • Wracking my brain to figure out how I can get more engagement, more comments, more likes. I shouldn’t be thinking this way at all! This is not the point of social media! This is not relational!
  • Trying to appease the Facebook gods by posting directly on the site because 3rd party apps are penalized.
  • How much extra time I have to spend to maintain a page that is bringing me almost zero traffic, zero customers, and almost zero new friends and contacts.

It’s not just me…

I get notes from musicians struggling with this all the time. 

“Rachel, I feel that my Facebook page is a lost cause. Nothing is happening on it. What do I do?” “Rachel, I’m really disillusioned with this whole social media thing. My Facebook page is doing nothing.”

I usually say some generic tips I’ve heard from other people that sound really good, and would actually be really good if there were anything to work with.

Things like: “It takes time, don’t expect overnight success.” “Check what you are posting. Is is spammy? Are you only posting links back to your site? Are you asking questions and getting to know your followers?”

The question on my mind (and I’m sure many other people’s minds) is, “What do you do when you ask questions, you try and relate, you aren’t being spammy… and no one answers.”

*crickets* 

What do you do then?

I know I’m supposed to be this all-knowing social media wizard. I know I’m supposed to have the answers. Well, I’m admitting that I don’t have the answers. After over 9 months of trying to make this work, I’ve decided that enough is enough. I’ve followed my own advice and the advice of others. I’ve persevered, and I’ve committed the allotted amount of elbow grease. It’s time to admit that this isn’t working right now.

99 Problems…

I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook pages are not very good for starting from scratch. Think about it. When you already have made some sort of a name for yourself, people know who you are, and like what you have to say. When they  “like” your Facebook page, they are signing up to keep in touch with and learn more about something or somebody they already know about.

When you are starting from scratch, nobody knows what you are about, what you have to say, or have any reason for learning more about you. As you can probably already see, this presents a problem for your Page.

Pages are not social discovery areas, they are audience curation areas. When you have, as yet, no devoted audience, the Page becomes almost worthless.

Another problem is that a page is not set up to be a peer-to-peer conversational device. For personal brands, like myself, this might not be a good fit. Personally, I want the free and easy peer-to-peer conversation that happens on twitter, or the groups on LinkedIn. It’s a good fit for me, and I can tell it works because of the success I’ve had with it.

The Alternative

I really like the Google Plus interface. It combines the best elements of the twitter environment I love with the best parts of Facebook with a few handy extras like hangouts thrown in.

I honestly have not spent a whole lot of time there because the people I want to talk to the most are either not there or are not connected with me. Starting today, I’m going to make a concerted effort to learn how to use and grow my Google Plus network. You are hereby invited to connect with me, and by connect with me, I mean talk with me. :)

I also have just started a Facebook group. I want to see if this will better suit the kind of relationship I want to have with my audience. It’s a private group so no spammers can get in, but I’m planning on being very free with my invitations and acceptance into the group. I want to talk with you, hear your ideas, thoughts, and questions, so don’t be shy and hop on over.

I’m calling it “Marketing and Web 2.0 for Musicians and Performing Artists”. Please feel free to invite any of your friends who might be interested!

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Facebook pages are a great tool for some brands, and I think it is a good thing to try and see if it might work for you. However, it is also okay to admit that after trying your best, it’s not working out for you. It’s okay to devote your energies elsewhere.

I’m taking my own advice. I’ll revisit my Page after a while, but for now I’m going to devote my energies elsewhere. I hope to see you in the elsewhere(s): Google+ and Marketing and Web 2.0 for Musicians and Performing Artists.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you frustrated and fed up with your Facebook page as well?

photo credit: amanky via photo pin cc
  • http://couchable.co Tyler Herman

    I think it comes down to managing your time. Just scrape Facebook and spend more time writing better content. Only huge blogs really need a Facebook page anyway. I think social media is the big mistake medium and small blogs make. I know it is hard but just focus on the content and the followers will come. 
    The Apple approach: just build solid products and ignore social. Seems to more people try to promote themselves the less they’re seen.

    • http://twitter.com/dino_dogan Dino Dogan

      there is a lot of truth in what you’re saying. 

    • http://twitter.com/Rachelannpoling Rachel Ann Poling

      Yeah Tyler, I hear ya! There seems to be this big push to have a Facebook page, and really, there’s a ton of false expectations about what it will do for you. We can talk about techniques and tricks until we are blue in the face, but content is what builds you an audience. Content before audience, audience before page. Nobody is saying that!!!

  • troublesometots

    My readers are Moms and frankly, THEY’RE on Facebook. But lately the hard sell on FB to “promote” your posts and the idea that many of my fans aren’t even seeing my posts has got me feeling fed up. I’m going to keep my FB page live for the fans who are there but remove the “like” link from my sidebar and stick with G+ and email newsletters (or possibly just newsletters because the new Mom types just aren’t yet on G+). Was just ruminating on this with a blogging buddy but your timely post has gotten me fired up about it!

    • http://twitter.com/Rachelannpoling Rachel Ann Poling

      There’s other ways to use FB besides a Page. If your audience is there, you need to be THERE! From your name, I’d say a group would be a perfect fit for you because moms love to chat about their issues with their kids, especially when they feel like they are in a private, close-knit club. Who knows? It could be a hit!

  • http://twitter.com/AFFILIATESOUTH Jonathon Ross

    Personally I’ve never cottoned onto FB at all but some folk seem to do okay. In reality it’s just one of many tools available so it’s just a matter of finding the ones that work best for your business.

    • http://twitter.com/Rachelannpoling Rachel Ann Poling

      You are exactly right, Jonathon. My issue is that there is this magical aura around facebook pages. For some reason people feel that they are the holy grail of a Social Media Marketing strategy. Then they get all disappointed and “disillusioned with social media” when it doesn’t work for them. You are very right to view it as one of the many tools in the toolbox. :)

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