I wrote this today about the FB feed changes and how it's effecting the Kickstarter Community. tinyurl.com/aegr523
Facebook's feed changes, the effect on KICKSTARTER, and what we can do about it.
Facebook has recently lowered the volume on users' posts to encourage paid and promoted posts. They are doing this to generate more advertising revenue for shareholders now that the company is publicly traded.
Posts are now estimated to reach only 10% to 30% of friends' Facebook feeds.
This article on 'Dangerous Minds' by Richard Metzger is an informative read explaing the changes to the Facebook feed.
The dilemma for the KICKSTARTER COMMUNITY is that we heavily rely on Facebook's 'SHARE' and Twitter's 'TWEET' buttons to promote and to get the word out about projects. These two buttons are highly effective and powerful tools for creating healthy Kickstarter projects.
My Kickstarter advice has always been, "Don't pressure or guilt your friends to buy your book. Ask them to share and post about your project. Support and reach have more value than a single sale. The 'Share' and 'Tweet' buttons when Kickstarter projects are concerned are currency."
The great thing about the share feature is that friends only need to take five seconds of their time to hit the buttons and post something personal and nice about the project. Their post goes into their friends' feed, their friends check it out and pass it on, creating a ripple effect and expanding the reach a project has by getting it in front of an interested and supportive audience.
The Facebook share was revolutionary for growing healthy Kickstarters.
Those days may be over for all of us on Kickstarter.
Facebook giveth and Facebook taketh away.
The Facebook ‘share’ feature has now been lobotomized. It's returned from the doctors, but it's not the healthy and whole feature we once knew. The share feature has been broken intentionally so that now we can pay more money to go back to the doctor again and again to get it working as it should from time to time.
Let’s say you pay for the promoted post, now what?
You’re one person doing a promoted post. That’s it. Your post works once, but your friend’s posts will not have the previous effect.
*I also feel like using promoted posts is rewarding bad behavior. But it might become a necessary evil if we don't fix this problem.
Now if your friend, who had your back before, hit the share button, their post is only reaching 10% of their audience. It’s not reaching the full audience and it’s at a LOW broadcast frequency. The only way for their post to reach the full potential is if they pay the fee for the promoted post.
That’s probably not going to happen OBVIOUSLY, unless it’s your best friend or your mother or father who love you and are awesome.
For a business, you might have advertised on Facebook to build your brand, and expected your posts to reach your full audience, only to find that the terms have changed. Retention really is key with Facebook pages. It was looking good for a bit for for Facebook pages because when people hit 'LIKE' they would get updates in their FB feeds with with new posts.
All the time, work, and money you have put into cultivating your page with Facebook’s tools to reach your audience has all been forfeit.
There's been a debate with regards to Facebook advertising, if it's better to steer people towards a Facebook page or an external site. With this new action Facebook has answered that question.
If you use a Facebook page for your business instead of a site, you're on their property, and you don't own the page. If you're a business on Facebook you should steer people towards your own site & RSS feed, and come up with ways to retain customers.
Whoever fixes this problem and finds a way to recreate the Facebook share experience externally is going to be very rich. If you're a business you need to go outside the box onto real estate that's your own because the landlord can change the rules as they see fit.
Now we know that Facebook is not to be trusted. It's not wise for a business to keep their audience inside Facebook's framework. Facebook can change it up at any time and make them start over again. They'll want you to pay again and again to milk as much as they can out of you.
Remember the 'Golden Rule', "Those who have the gold, make the rules".
It's never been more true in this instance.
The cold hard truth is that we don't own facebook (unless you have some stock, then technically you own a little bit of facebook).
There's been a lot of talk in the United States these days about entitlement. We have zero entitlement when it comes to Facebook. Let's face it Facebook is not ours. Our profile isn't ours. Our posts are not ours.
Facebook has made is more apparent than ever before that we're just squatters with this new feed mutilation (soon to be renters lining up to pay regularly). It's a business and they can and WILL change the rules and take anything back as it benefits them.
If your landlord starts doing ridiculous stuff, what do you do?
You move of course.
You can own your own land. You can make your own rules. And I don't think Facebook is going to go away, but we can generate support for a feed that gives us what we want and that's not compromised.
I think the real sting is the dishonesty of Facebook. They gave us valuable tools and then took them away. We now see having those tools and abilities as our right. Without the change there was a huge potential for authors and artists to grow their audience, to have reach, to support each other, to be heard, and to build a true community that supports the arts.
One solution might be a $200 yearly Facebook flat fee, that gives full access.
Or a fee for each Kickstarter project, that takes down any walls for the Facebook feed and gives projects good circulation.
I'm not proposing a boycott or abandoning Facebook, because in all likelihood that's never going to happen. Your mom is on Facebook, and it's impossible to get her to make a switch. So we need to be realistic about that. But we can create something new where people go for information like a site, or that's specifically tailored as a feed service to them, with the social and share functions.
I do believe we can make or even encourage a rival (Like Google) or startup tech company (Like Tumblr) to come up with something better. We need something that replaces the valuable tools that Facebook gave us and then took away, and that makes them more powerful for the creative community to share and benefit from.
I personally think this will be a feed that's a combination of GOOGLE READER, GOOGLE+, and a bit of the Facebook experience. In Google Reader people plug in sites that relate to interests, so the internet comes to them. If this RSS Feed was mixed with the community media experience, where people can share, comment, and interact with others we have a winner because the Facebook Feed doesn't have the RSS feature.
Then it's important for people to be able to send out posts that can travel further and further around the internet.
Google needs to educate people that Reader exists, make it really easy to use, and make it easy to put sites that people like into it, and make it easy for friends to recommend sites. They only need to update it more and make it sexy because it's kind of blocky. Another problem is that Google Plus and Google Reader are both buried deep in Gmail. These things need to be brought in together, in a central place and not hidden.
Google has it if they created a central launch point where people log in and have options and different places to go for gmail and for the feed. Or a startup can pick up the ball and run with it.
An honest Social RSS can kick FBs butt if they're letting their guard down and going backwards.
There is a million dollar opportunity here for any tech company that wants to step in and create a full and honest feed experience without limitations.
It's time to get the Kickstarter community mobilized and to come up with solutions to this problem, so that we all benefit. We need to replace these tools that have been taken from us with more powerful new ones that encourage growth for the arts and give projects vast circulation on the internet.
We must replace the Facebook 'share' button with something honest that gives as much or more push. Or have the replacement alongside it on the Kickstarter page as a safeguard. I think it can be done, have the sticky factor, and be more interesting and engaging than the FB feed.
We've identified the problem, no complaining because that never does any good, now we need to put our thinking caps on, we need to focus and come up with viable solutions, and then we take action.
What do you think?
We don't want our voices to be muted. We want to be heard as artists, and we want to broadcast and connect with our work to the largest audience possible.
We need to start a discussion and rally the Kickstarter and creative community towards action.
Always, if need be...
We can Kickstart this thing! :)
Thank you friends!
Mark Andrew Smith
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TWITTER: @MarkAndrewSmith https://twitter.com/MarkAndrewSmith