Have you ever stared at something, knowing you’re doing everything right, but it still won’t … freaking … work?
That’s how Copyblogger has felt about its Facebook page for quite some time.
As of today, the page has 38,000 “fans,” but Copyblogger’s presence on Facebook has not been beneficial for the brand or its audience.
Just over three months ago, Brian Clark reached out to me for some extra help on the page.
He thought that, given the success I have with my own Facebook page, several others I’ve managed for clients over the years, and the rapidly growing Your Boulder Facebook page I manage for him, maybe I’d be able to bring some life to Copyblogger’s Facebook presence.
Yep, I said. Let me at it.
Well, today I’m here to tell you that we’re deleting the account. This is the last day you’ll see the Copyblogger Facebook page.
If you’ve ever been frustrated with an aspect of your social brand presence, you’ll want to keep reading — because there are countless reasons why Copyblogger is killing its Facebook page.
Fan numbers mean jack
Here’s the first thing you need to know about social brand presences: Your fan and follower numbers mean absolutely jack. (Complete the phrase with the word of your choice after “jack,” if you feel so inclined.)
When I began managing the Copyblogger Facebook page, I ran into a few problems.
First, the page had an overwhelming number of junk fans. These are accounts with little to no personal status update activity that just go around “Liking” Facebook pages. They’re essentially accounts tied to “click farms” — ones paid pennies for every Facebook page they Like.
In other words, these fans are useless to your brand. Why? Because fake fans damage the visibility of your posts in Facebook’s algorithms.
I spent over a week cleaning up these junk accounts and also placed geographical limiters on the page to avoid accumulating any more of these fans. I’ve included a screenshot below so you can create settings for your own page as need be.
Since Copyblogger never used paid ads to acquire fans, the entire team was shaking its collective head to figure out just where these useless fans had come from. What was in it for them to click on Copyblogger and give it a “Like?”
Remember those companies that promised to get Facebook fan page owners thousands of new fans seemingly overnight? The video from Veritasium explains why they’re the source of many brand page woes — even if you’re not buying fans or advertising for higher visibility.
It’s nine minutes of essential viewing to anyone in charge of a Facebook fan page. And that bit I shared about how fake Likes harm page engagement? You can find that at the 4:30 mark in the video.
Then it was time to take care of the legitimate fans we had earned …
Let’s talk about social media strategy
Before I came along, Facebook hadn’t been a brand darling for Copyblogger. And that’s perfectly okay. Not every social media outlet is an ideal fit for every brand.
Copyblogger has found value actively engaging with its community through Twitter and Google+. Since Facebook was never a preferred social media outlet, my job was to:
- Evaluate the fans of the page.
- Assess those fans’ content preferences and build a strategy based on those preferences.
- Explore the possibility of creating a culture of regular, enthusiastic participation (which is what Copyblogger is all about — everywhere).
See, Copyblogger’s main focus is serving its audience. And if that audience wasn’t engaging on Facebook, then there was no real reason for us to pour energy into it. That’s energy we can put into other areas — ones you appreciate more.
Here are the types of posts we experimented with next:
- Sharable Graphics: We used quotes from some of our most popular blog posts and turned those into graphics. We then linked to the blog. We found that people liked the photos but didn’t see any increase in clicks to the posts.
- Forced Shares: My personal brand audience on Facebook loves Copyblogger. So I did some forced shares (read: I shared Copyblogger posts I love directly to my brand page). These were eaten alive, devoured, and reshared. While a smashing result, a brand’s Facebook strategy can’t thrive on someone like me sharing every blog post. The posts I didn’t force share just sat there with an average of six to seven “Likes.” Ew.
- Questions: We asked the audience questions. Our most notable? Letting the Facebook audience ask the Copyblogger team anything they wanted. Out of 30,000 people, we received three questions. Pass.
These results prompted us to compare Copyblogger’s Facebook audience to other brands on Facebook. We began with ones we had first-hand knowledge of, like Your Boulder and my own brand page.
Comparing apples and Toyotas
As soon as we lined up the statistics side by side, it was clear that we were comparing apples and Toyotas. Oranges didn’t even show up on the radar.
Here are some comparable statistics:
So, you may be saying, “But Erika, these are different types of pages. Different brands. Different audiences! How can data from one mean anything for any of the others?”
Simple. It shows Copyblogger that, despite good intentions, best practices, and having a slew of fans, Facebook might not be the best place to invest brand time and energy.
And don’t get me wrong — I love Facebook and it’s wildly successful for both Your Boulder (one of Brian’s projects) and my own brand. But I refuse to tell a brand that they should spend time on efforts that don’t pay them back.
Which is why Copyblogger is, today, saying farewell to Facebook.
How do brands figure out where to best spend their time?
I’ve worked with diverse brands over the years ranging from a quirky, yet powerful cremation urn company (not a good fit for Facebook) to two internationally-known fly fishing manufacturers (awesome fits for Facebook).
The bottom line?
While sometimes, as William Faulkner said, you must kill all your darlings, a brand’s first responsibility is to know what’s useful to its audience.
We all might love Facebook for a wide variety of reasons, but that means jack if our audiences don’t interact with us on Facebook.
It’s not our job to tell our audience where we live. It’s to grow communities where they live.
The Copyblogger Google+ community’s statistics blow Facebook away by miles. Twitter is an amazing platform at both the brand level and for many of the individuals in the company (plus, you retweet posts like nobody’s business).
And we’re grateful.
Which is why Copyblogger is going to continue putting its energy into those outlets and the Copyblogger membership communities (free and paid).
We’re focused on your preferences
Leaving Facebook gives us more time and resources to focus on the places where you already love interacting with Copyblogger.
You’ve told us loud and clear that Facebook isn’t your favorite place to find us. We got the message.
So, here’s the part where I — as a trusted part of the Copyblogger family who is on call for various projects (and delightfully so) — get to say thank you.
Thank you for letting Copyblogger know where you live … and where you don’t.
Thank you for stopping by the page … and for sharing a Like every now and then.
And thank you most of all for helping one of my favorite brands in the universe grow. Because you’re vocal. You’re not afraid to say, “Hey, we live over here.” And you’re just as liberal with your praise as your critiques.
If half the brands I have the privilege of getting unstuck had an audience like Copyblogger, they’d be most grateful.
Which is why Copyblogger is ever so grateful for you.
So we’ll see you around the web — just not on Facebook. And we admit (begrudgingly) that we’ll miss those cute Facebook videos from BuzzFeed.
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