By Rachel Happe, Principal & Co-Founder, The Community Roundtable
I have long thought that Facebook has been on a slippery path, because while it revolutionized the communications and engagement model from a linear transaction to a networked flow, Facebook’s founders built a traditional, transactional business model (advertising based) on top of it. Those two things are in fundamental conflict because they way value is created does not match the way revenue is generated.
That conflict is starting to come to a head – Facebook Pages no longer generate much organic reach through engagement and the latest changes to the Facebook news feed algorithm make it even worse. You have to pay to play. The irony in all of this is that it all stems from the fact that they made engagement too easy.
Let me use BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model to explain. Facebook wanted people to connect with brands, so they made liking a page super easy and gave people lots of triggers to do so – requiring little motivation of people. So people liked a lot of pages, which seemed initially to demonstrate value. Now that is biting them in the backside because people have liked hundreds of pages, many of which they actually care very little about – and don’t want them bumping their friends’ posts from their news feeds. Facebook’s solution? To keep diminishing the percentage of Page activity that shows up in peoples’ newsfeeds and prioritize based on who pays. The new problem? That solution doesn’t align well with what people really want to see, or the way they prioritize pages that have value to them. It’s solely driven by which page owners are willing to pay.
So what are organizations to do? Well, we think owning your own social experience by creating communities is the only way to really protect yourself from the vicissitudes of social networks – and it will feel a lot more like social media did before the big players had to figure out a business model.
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