Dear every major brand, product, company, website, celebrity, news organization and publication,
Please, I beg of you, stop using Facebook. Also, please stop assuming everyone is on Facebook in the first place. I’m not on Facebook. My friends are constantly amazed by that fact. They say, “but aren’t you a web guy?” and they’re correct. I simply can’t support the policies, systems and clear invasions of privacy (edit: for advertising purposes) that Facebook entails. You, however, you major brands of the world, have so embraced the desperation to be a part of people’s lives that you’ve forgone the opportunities to connect to your customers on your own terms. You’re in a walled garden and you’ve assumed everyone has accepted an invitation to the party.
Major motion pictures screening exclusive trailers only for their “facebook likers”. My local news broadcast, wanting “my” reaction to their top stories, not on their own website, but on their Facebook page. ESPN radio hosts, telling me to visit their Facebook page instead of ESPN.com. Hundreds of thousands of websites using “Login via Facebook” options as the ONLY option to leave a comment on their site. If I hear the phrase “please visit our Facebook page” one more time, I’m literally going to scream.
If you had told any marketing director 10 years ago that they would be ignoring their own brand’s websites and directing people to facebook.com/whatever, they would have laughed you right out of the boardroom. What’s changed? Are your web developers so inept that they can’t handle posting relevant information as needed? Have they not been trained to maximize your sites for search engine efficiency. Do they not work really hard to create often stunning and unique experiences for your users? What is it then?
It’s the millions of users isn’t it? You have a captive audience. You don’t have to “heard the sheep” to your website, you can get in their faces (pun intended) without leaving Facebook. They can be your “friends” and you can promote the number of “likes” your worthless content gets. Guess what it’s getting you? Nothing. Show me the data that shows that Facebook has significantly increased your brand power. People still buy Nike, still visit Disneyland, still drink Coke and still watch their local sports teams in roughly the same exact percentages they did before Facebook. Facebook has done nothing to help you reach fans you didn’t already have. The only thing it’s done is put their URL first, and yours second. You think Facebook is helping you? Really? Are you getting a cut of the massive amount of ad revenue generated by your pages? No. I didn’t think so.
So, please, stop using Facebook. If you make Facebook the only login option, the only information source and the only interaction you’re having with your client base, you’re diminishing your brand and pushing people out of a walled garden that isn’t even yours. You’re just renting the garden for a while. I’ve lived my life just fine without seeing the latest “exclusive” movie trailer, or by talking to real people, in person, about the election, or about my local sports team. You can too. Be strong. Dump the book, and build your own brand.
I have to take exception to the “clear invasions of privacy”. Facebook doesn’t come into your house, rifle through your things, reading your birth certificate and passport. It only knows what you tell it. People who tell it everything, and then get angry when they use that data continue to amaze me. If you don’t want the information out there, don’t put it out there!
I know my home address, phone number, pictures of me are all available on the ‘net, because I put them there.
Personally, I find Facebook to be a very valuable communications tool. People who never write emails have no problem with Facebook, people who never got on AIM or Yahoo are fine using Facebook Messenger. They’ve done a remarkable job of making communications easy.
Perhaps that was phrased poorly. The entire post was actually about companies using Facebook as their primary means of brand identity and advertising. From a marketing perspective, the “brand” is everything, and you’d never want to confuse it with another, ie: having facebook.com/whatever as you’re primary URL.
Actually, I believe personal communication is EXACTLY what facebook should be for. However, that should have been it’s sole purpose. Gathering all your friends in one place, sharing photos and information, that’s awesome. And they have made it an easy “one-stop-shop” for those sorts of things. I’m not against that at all. I don’t personally engage in it, but that’s a personal choice.
But when facebook becomes the go to location for things other than communication, that’s where I draw the line. Why should I not be able to access something because it’s been walled off? It’s not like Facebook is “exclusive”. I could join if I wanted to. Why would a movie trailer, a contest, an event schedule, etc, why would THOSE things be put in that walled garden. You should want everyone to see those things. Making them “facebook exclusives” only reinforces facebook’s brand, not your own.
Coke is my perfect example. On the main homepage for Coke, there are THREE ways to get to their facebook page, including a “give a friend a Coke” widget/app to give a facebook friend a virtual Coke. Shouldn’t Coke be encouraging people to give their friends a REAL Coke instead? There are more ways to “interact” virtually with Coke on their facebook page than there is A) in real life, and b) on their primary website.
So, TL;DR version, I agree completely about the personal communication, which is very handy to a ton of people. My problem is with corporate mis-aligning and brand recognition. Also, “liking a page” to enter contests is dumb. 😉