As you know, control (at all levels) rests with controlling information flow. If you control the flow and decide a video is “wrong” you can activate followers to respond to that control. If you spend a bajillion dollars to flood the airwaves with negative advertising, you control the message and votes. If you restrict the flow of information, you’re doing exactly the same thing – exercising control.
Turns out Facebook is 1) only showing approximately 15% of your author pages posts to your “likes” and 2) willing to take advertising money to show the same post to the other 85%.
In other words, they could do the right thing and show all your posts but they’ll make more money if they don’t. By restricting the flow of information, they’re taking responsibility for that flow away from you and making it a monetizable chunk of information. Instead of having a “real” social network, where we actually view and interact what we “like”, they’re rolling for the big numbers.
And if you’ve ever done a social media experiment on something like Twitter where you actively try to get bigger numbers, you’ll quickly understand that bigger numbers don’t turn into bigger response rates or more interaction. They just turn into bigger numbers.
It isn’t about the size of the dongle, it’s what’s in it that counts.
From my practical point of view, it means the 3600 “likes” is only generating around 600 actual views to my author page. Which likely accounts for why the response rate to freebie ebooks (I offer discounts and KDP free ebooks on Amazon to this FB fan group) has declined.
From another practical point of view, it makes it very difficult for me to reach the 85% because I don’t engage in branding advertising. The “big boys” of course will and can afford the advertising. So if you “like” a major brand, you’re going to see their posts but probably not for all the smaller individual (and likely local) businesses you liked.
It also means that costing my social media presence just changed dramatically. If I know Facebook is reducing my exposure by 85% then I have to adjust the cost of dealing with them accordingly – each reader they do deliver becomes that more expensive to acquire and the response rates to ebook offers etc all change in a cascading effect. It’s clearly not the bargain I thought it was.
This is a fascinating development in social media operation and I’m going to have to think about this some more. The point, however, is that what we think we’re doing isn’t what we’re really doing with Facebook.
And that’s as good a starting point as any.