First off: I am telling you this because we’re friends. Not to sound contrarian, not to burst a populist bubble, not for my own gain, though indeed one of my goals here is to get people to stop their nonsense.
And many of you are not going to like what I’m going to say. You’ve invested a lot of time and, sometimes, money into this toxic, one-sided relationship. But I’m always willing to spit out the truth, even though I know people like BS a whole lot more.
Here it is: Your Facebook feed sucks. It’s useless — the same tired memes and film clips from the same people, occasional sponsored posts of minimal interest and, for business-page owners, nowhere near the penetration we enjoyed just a year ago among the audiences we’ve amassed.
I know this because my Facebook feed sucks, and my business page — the one for this newspaper — is doing exactly squat for my goals.
For any business, social media is not about attracting new customers — though in some cases it has been used successfully to introduce people to a brand. It is intended to build community among existing customers, give them a place to strengthen and enhance loyalty.
For us, it’s a place to grow our readership — technically speaking, our product because it is what we sell — by directing people to our website. Generally speaking, we only post our own content on Triad City Beat social media, with links to the source on our site.
Last week, Jordan Green broke a huge story that within 24 hours had gotten picked up by national media, including Newsweek and the Washington Post. We set a record for daily pageviews on our site — 20,600, up from 19,400 that came in 2014 when Green broke a story about a white fraternity party at Wake Forest University that asked of its guests to dress like black people.
Of those views, a scant 1,500 or so came from Facebook, where we had dutifully posted the story within minutes, just as Facebook has trained us to do. And on a big day, with a big story, it barely moved the needle.
The rest of those pageviews, the other 19,000 of them… well, you’re gonna have to buy me a cup of coffee before I tell you where they came from.