Facebook: The tabloid of the online world

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The quality of Facebook ‘marketing’ has stalled.
There are numerous reasons for this, but let’s just name a few:
  • Brands have become over-obsessed with Facebook analytics and engagement statistics
  • Product messages are still outweighing ‘shared passion’ content on many of the bigger pages
  • Operators of these pages treat them as though they are static ‘traditional’ web sites, offering little or no interaction
  • Apps have become a lazy way of ticking a ‘promotions’ box
  • The wrong offers are being served up e.g. not exclusively created ones

But, more worryingly, Facebook has become even more mainstream than the most mainstream media type of our generation, the tabloid newspaper.The simple writing style, the emphasis on pictures, the sensational captions and the celebrity endorsements are all there, just like an edition of The Sun.

There is no-one to blame for this trend, it is simply a product of being the most popular media platform on the planet. And mass popularity can only be achieved if you appeal to the masses.

Rising above the ‘sameness’

The tabloid nature of Facebook is an important realisation for brands and organisations to make, especially if they want to stand out from the cloud of ‘sameness’ currently engulfing Facebook’s magical feed.

It is almost like brands have mastered Facebook 1.0 (a HUGE challenge internally and externally for many), plateaued, and now have to try their hands at Facebook 2.0.

So, how do you stand out? What is a Facebook 2.0 tactic versus a 1.0 tactic? Is your Facebook page destined for a plot at the virtual cemetery while your rival ascends to angelic status? Enough questions, time for some answers.

Your still operating a Facebook 1.0 page if you are doing the following:

  • Running generic 50% off special offers every single week (normally as a pasted flyer graphic) – think about it, imagine you are walking down the street and are constantly confronted by price-driven billboards, you’d go out of your way to ignore those messages. Well, Facebook pages are the same.
  • You only talk about yourself, your products and your people – news flash, if someone has illustrated their fondness for your brand by ‘liking’ your page, chances are they have a good idea of the things you sell which makes content of that nature pretty pointless.
  • Overuse of studio / professional photography – boring product shots aren’t engaging, especially if they are ripped straight from a menu.
  • The ‘Hit LIKE if…’ tactic is used on nearly every single post – while it is good to encourage interaction with your content, using this tactic too much not only gets boring, but tells me you are only interested in the number of likes you are getting as opposed to serious interaction. Remember, comments and shares require more effort from fans and as a result indicate a better level of engagement than a ‘lazy like’.
  • You refuse to feature other people’s content – content curation (as opposed to creation) is the most efficient way of creating a destination that people find time to visit because you’re consistently finding things they love and can consequently share. If you only share your own originally created content the things you can talk about will be severely restricted.

The point I am really trying to make is that the people advising brands on how to best use Facebook need to ask themselves some pretty honest questions. Mainly, has your Facebook output become as mainstream as the platform itself?

In the coming weeks, I’m going to talk more about ‘Facebook 2.0’ and what that entails, including some profiles of brands who are taking the lead and the specific things they are doing.
While the tabloid edition of Facebook might survive for a while, just like its offline cousin, it needs reinvention  or it may need some serious resuscitation.  

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