Are you prepared for a Facebook exodous?

by Smartie on June 2, 2010

Martin Denton is leaving Facebook. He’s irked about their privacy policy–well, not so much about the policy itself but that Facebook’s corner office folks aren’t listening to the concerns of their members.

But there’s another doozy of a reason Martin is leaving Facebook, and everyone needs to pay close attention. He thinks it’s making people marketing lazy–he’s worried that he is hearing about shows via Facebook invites, not press releases, which is certainly concerning for one of the highest trafficked sites about indie theater. (And Martin’s contact info is super easy to find, so that’s going to be a lame excuse.)

And you know what? I agree. And I will add my own criticism to the mix–it’s also making companies very very annoying.

I “fanned” a friend’s theater company on Facebook. I am now sorry I did this. I don’t hear from the company for a while. And all of a sudden I get 4 or 5 invites and mass messages from this company in the span of HOURS. Not weeks, not days, HOURS. And they have nothing to add to their prior correspondence. It’s opt-in spam, basically, and I am opting out of being their fan (or liking them or whatever icon Facebook decides is best).

Which brings me to another Facebook problem. They control the medium. They change the interface around as it suits them. Suddenly, mass messaging is more complicated, and there are complaints about the whole group getting the replies (a huge issue). Once I get the hang of the new interface, they change it again. I don’t have time to learn and relearn.

But beyond these annoyances is a potentially devastating problem. Facebook can decide to shut down tomorrow. And this is insanely important to any company out there marketing on Facebook. If Facebook closed down tomorrow, would you be able to find your 2,000 fans? Would you be able to reengage them? Or would your marketing department be completely wiped out?

Is Facebook still a useful tool? Yes it is. But it’s just that, a tool. And you can’t build a house with a lonely old power drill. And you certainly cannot build a house on borrowed land.

Is Facebook your marketing homebase? If so, why? Or, why not? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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June 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

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Dave Charest June 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Facebook should never be anyone’s home base. Plain and simple. Facebook is just a tool to bring people to your home, which should be YOUR self-hosted website. I discuss this a more in this post: http://caseacecopy.com/blog/social-media-secret

Also I believe Facebook should not be used for email at all. Even if you weren’t sending spam. Use email instead.

Interested to hear what others have to say.

Michael Powers June 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I agree. Facebook is a nice tool, but to put all your eggs in that shifting basket is asking for trouble. I think it is good for “unmarketing,” nice conversational pieces that complement traditional marketing, but it is a long way to supplanting any of them.

Smartie June 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for linking that post Dave! Excellent.

Michael, I love that you brought up “unmarketing,” which is such an important piece of the marketing “package.” Particularly if you don’t like marketing!

Amy Wratchford June 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm

An excellent point about what happens if Facebook is gone tomorrow. When FB first came on the scene I heard a lot of talk about making sure you collected contact info from your fans in some way (hosting give-aways was a big one) but I hardly ever see that anymore. Have we all become complacent? Are you capturing your FB fans’ info and connecting them on your own platform?

Smartie June 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Hi Amy, you have a great blog!!

I don’t see many people capturing fan info via Facebook. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do this at all (and I am definitely guilty as well). It’s so important to have a homebase that’s the driving force of the marketing efforts, not a Facebook page. A static website isn’t really doing it anymore either. You want to give people a reason to visit regularly.

Amy Wratchford June 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Thanks, Karen! I need to get back to it now that I’m settled in my new gig at The American Shakespeare Center. Connecting our FB fans to our regular outreach is something that we are going to start focusing on here at ASC. Hopefully it will produce all sorts of useful blogging fodder to share!

Dave Charest June 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Congrats on the ASC, Amy.

They do some good email marketing a lot of other theaters could learn from.

Dave

Malini June 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Amy,

What an excellent blog! FB is not my homebase for my company, Black Henna Productions. It was the perfect layover while our site was being updated. We were at one point at fault for spamming our supporters but that’s because we didn’t realize at the time that if three people who are administrators of a site, there’s no reason to have 3 seperate event invites. Thankfully, a dear friend pointed it out to us and we stopped before it got out of hand.

At this point, I know for a fact that not everyone reads messages and wall posts. It’s important to keep marketing as we move forward but these social sites are not the be all end all of true PR.

Smartie June 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Malini, that’s such a fantastic point about not everyone reading the messages and wall posts. Honestly, at this point, I have so many event invites, I rarely look at them. It’s just gotten too overwhelming.

Good luck w/ your summer show! I used to work on a some free summer Shakespeare in various parks for several years. It was loads of fun. Lots of fun stuff you can do to promote!

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