It’s an almost every day occurrence. And almost every day I feel myself getting more irritated and twitchy by these social shaming shares.
You know what I’m talking about! I’m referencing the Copy/Paste poseurs, those on a mission to show that they care more about a disease or other worthy cause, because they’ve taken the 10 seconds to copy and paste a post to their wall.
Why Am I Saying These Copy/Paste Shares Are Social Shaming?
Isn’t social shaming what happens when a group of social media users rally to tell a company or brand that they don’t like an activity or idea shared by brand management or ownership. Yes, that’s one form of using public shame across social media platforms.
But it’s not the only example of shaming those we follow, those with whom we interact on social media.
It’s become an insidious practice, something we do without thinking of the ramifications.
This is actually the post that tipped the scales for me and bumped this topic to the top of my “get it written” queue:
With a heavy heart today especially…Nothing is more painful than watching someone at the end of their life because of cancer. Trying to look good, but after chemo and radiation … you know the person is physically changed and they’re in shock!! I know many of you do not give a hoot about this message because, of course, the cancer has not touched you. You do not know what it’s like to have fought the fight or had a loved one who leads a battle against cancer. For all the men and women I know, I ask you a small favor and only some of you will do it… If you know someone who has led a battle against cancer, still struggling or who passed, please add this to your status for one hour as a mark of respect and remembrance …
Copy and paste to support victims and families affected by cancer. From your phone or tablet, hold your finger on the message to copy and paste on your page. Please no tagging or sharing.
Cancer absolutely sucks. I’ve watched my mother battle it, and eventually lose her life to complications brought on by cancer treatment. I’ve watched my dad rally and come back strong after two cancer surgeries. I’ve watched a good friend face almost insurmountable odds as her young husband has battled cancer for years.
I care. I give one helluva big hoot, but I’m not going to copy/paste your pathetic message! One hour on my wall, with no call to action to donate and/or get out and support the cause, does little to NOTHING for that cause!
When I Care About A Cause, I Take Real Action … With My Money And/Or My Time!
The act of copying and pasting a post on your wall does very little to actually benefit any cause or individual. Stipulating no hashtags, tags or sharing means it’s more about you than the cause. You want to look like a crusader, a champion of the cause against cancer, child hunger, gun violence, the list goes on and on.
Actions Speak A Lot Louder Than Copied/Pasted Words!
My sister and her family ring the bell for the Salvation Army every Christmas season, at least once, often twice. They bundle up brave the cold and the indifference, singing songs and supporting a cause they believe in. The share images and call on friends and family to come out and see them while they sing and ring the bell, but they never use social shaming tactics.
My brother-in-law continues to put on a charity golf event each year, which also benefits the Salvation Army. Both money and gifts are collected at this event, with the chosen charity actually receiving the money and gifts.
My husband straight-up stinks at golf. But he’s played year after year, paying the entry fee, because it benefits a good cause. This year a tennis tournament has been added and I’ll be out there swinging my racquet in the cold. Yes, you’re right, I love tennis. But my wallet will be opened and my joy at playing will also benefit with dollars delivered for programs and initiatives.
Put Your Money, Your Time, Your Effort Behind A Cause, Not Your Facebook Wall!
If you truly care about cancer, and I believe many of you do, open up your wallet and donate to cancer research. Get your butt up from your desk chair and take part in a run, walk or other event sponsored by the charity of your choice. Visit the pediatric oncology ward with the gift of books and your time. Sit down and read one of those books to a child, or group of children, battling cancer.
At the very least, if you can’t get away from your desk, pull out your credit card and create a monthly withdrawal if the cause is that important to you.
Your Cause Isn’t Any Better Than My Cause!
Last year I donated time, dollars and effort to a cause that matters to me, as I’ve seen it affect so many friends. I was part of a small group that launched a charity pro-am event to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Atlanta.
I donated a website, Facebook and Twitter design and management, and spent hours at planning meetings. I donated out of pocket as needed to help get the event off the ground. I played in the event, and payed the full fee, even though I was a board member. Overall it was a sizable donation of both dollars and my time and effort. It felt quite good.
But, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about cancer. It doesn’t mean I diss those looking to deliver awareness about those suffering from diabetes or Alzheimers. It doesn’t stop me from worrying about the stray cat problem in my neighborhood (any of you that know me at all know that animal adoption is another cause I back with my dollars and my time and even room in my house … hello, Catt Damon).
Perhaps my dollars are already allocated. Perhaps my time is already taken up by activities that actually benefit my cause of choice.
Make It About The Cause, Not About You …
When I see these social shaming posts making the rounds, I cringe and often want to holler at my computer screen.
These posts are nothing more than a means to share a “look at me, see how much I care about this cause” moment, a moment which is soon forgotten amidst a fast social feed and friends leading busy lives.
Want to really make a difference to a cause this year? When someone asks what you want for Christmas, ask them to make a donation in your name? See if there’s a toy drive in your local area and drop off a couple of toys to help make a child’s Christmas a little brighter. Crochet or knit a scarf, hat and some mittens and leave them on a bench or tree, with a note that they’re free for the taking for someone who needs them.
I’m calling on your to care and act, rather than copy/paste during this season of giving and sharing. Set social shaming aside and do something that truly benefits the cause in which you believe!
Once again I find myself ruefully shaking my head at the antics and atrocities perpetuated by many a member of numerous Facebook groups to which I currently belong.
It’s bad enough that many a member fails to understand that self-promotion is generally a no-no, or scheduled for specific days of the week/month. But when members begin to believe that the group is their free online university and business resource refuge, it’s really time for admins to step up and shout out STOP IT!
Brain Pickers Best Back Off!
Facebook groups aren’t a “gimme” zone. They weren’t designed as a means for you to get your grubby hands on extreme expertise and carefully crafted documents we’ve put hours of energy and sweat equity into.
What does that mean? Don’t ask group members to provide their carefully crafted contracts and client on-boarding documents to you as a “template.” More than likely we’ve spent time and money to create documents strategically suited to our brand and prospect base. Why would you think we’d provide that to you for free?
Investing in your business and brand involves a hell of a lot more than you asking others to give you the goods as a gimme!
When I see this happening in Facebook groups I’m reminded of the coffee or lunch date, which is a thinly veiled disguise for brain picking. You want my expertise? Pony up and pay for it!
Sort Out Your Own Settings
As a creative entrepreneur, I’m in many a group populated with a plethora of photographers, brand strategists, stylists (more on that sad term in a future publish), graphic artists and more. Many of these folks use some pretty sophisticated software and equipment in order to create their awesome products and services.
It’s absolutely okay to ask group members what software and tools they recommend. It’s stepping over the line when you ask group member to share the specific settings they have developed over time and trial and error. Those aren’t yours for the asking, they’re yours for the testing.
Paid for that fancy new camera and lens because you want to be a wedding photographer? I suggest you head out to a venue on an off day with some stand-ins and sort out your settings yourself. That’s expertise. You shouldn’t expect expertise to be handed to you on a platter.
The same goes for code, site scripts, graphic design settings, etc. Someone put a lot of time and effort into the creation of that custom work. Why would you think they’d just give it away?
Advice Is A-OK, But Group Audits? You’re Pushing It?
As a web designer and developer, I often weigh in when the WordPress vs. Squarespace discussions comes up. And it comes up ALL THE TIME, LOL. I’m happy to talk up WordPress and why I think it makes the web wonderful.
What I’m not willing to do? Engage in endless site design and redesign audits as a favor. Why not? Because that’s an expert service that I provide, for a fee. It’s not a freebie I give away in Facebook group grab bag fashion.
I’m not a member of Facebook groups because I like to do individuals I barely know a favor. I’m there to engage in expert discussion, and sometimes to offer a bit of support when I can do so without giving away the store, so to speak.
If you want to eventually collaborate with others, you need to bring your own expertise to the table, not continually ask for the expertise to be given to you as a freebie.
[clickToTweet tweet=”There are no free rides when it comes to running your own business.” quote=”There are no free rides when it comes to running your own business.”]
You get what you put into it, what you invest in it, what you work to build, bolster, create and brand!
Facebook Groups Are NOT A Freebie Zone!
I don’t take part in Facebook groups in order to give away my hard earned knowledge and expertise. I’m happy to occasionally share my .02 cents on a learning topic, but I’m not your teacher, your coach, your mentor. That’s a relationship that stretches the boundaries of the online group experience.
If you’re there hoping to gain knowledge and expertise without having to invest dollars, time and sweat equity you just might find yourself disappointed.
Consider this. The group members willing to give it all away for free are generally group members just starting out and hoping to get the good for free, too. It’s not the in-the-trenches entrepreneurs who’ve put in the hard time, tested the tools, tweaked the algorithms and sorted out the best settings.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You get what you pay for. Free advice and group audits will only take you so far.” quote=”You get what you pay for, party peeps. Free advice, fast advice and group audits will only take you so far.”]
Those in the know, those who are truly experts only give away the smallest helping of their smarts and savvy. If you want the whole shebang, you’ll have to loosen the purse strings and shell out a little dough.
Ever Feel Like You’re Giving It All Away In A Facebook Group?
Why are you doing so? What are you expecting to get in return? When you’re giving it away for free, there’s little chance you’re going to land a paying client, is there?
You have to imagine that title being delivered with every last possible ounce of frustration and foreboding. Like when you say “for the love of Pete” when you’re at your wits end!
Facebook, It’s Not My Favorite …
I think anyone who knows me even the littlest bit, knows this. I haven’t hidden my frustrations and my lack of love.
But, while I think Facebook’s returns will only continue to diminish, even I have to admit there are still some returns to be gained, especially if you’ve already got a fairly established presence.
I just haven’t been willing, up to now, to put in the time, effort and dollars necessary.
Facebook Is Like Spinach
That one might throw your for a loop, but let me explain.
I’m a crazily picky eater. I’m the kind of girl that orders the same thing from a given restaurant because it’s the only menu item that doens’t include any of my NO WAY food phobias.
I know, it is good for me. I even find it pleasant from time to time, but it’s just not my go-to choice when I’m rooting around in the fridge!
I feel the same way about Facebook. I understand it’s absolutely got some digital marketing value and clout. I even have a little fun with it when I take the time to visit and interact with my friends. I even know it’s still a powerhouse for a couple of my clients.
But, when it comes to my own business, it’s fallen to the very bottom of a very long social sharing list.
Facebook Is Annoying!
I have to thank my husband for this header. He reminded me that spinach often gets stuck in your teeth and can be as annoying as all get out.
Facebook, my “friend,” you too are quite annoying. You’ve become a fair weather friend, a fickle tween. You can’t make up your mind, constantly flittering from algorithm change to algorithm change.
Your constant need to remain new, fresh and relevant is understandable. You want to retain your #1 spot, your hold on the title of social media juggernaut.
Facebook Still Has A Function
Lackluster inclusion of both spinach and Facebook has been my own choice. But it’s one that’s been on my mind for a while.
I struggle with anemia, so the added iron boost more spinach in my diet would add is certainly something to think about. And, as I work on creating a new information product based on visuals and visibility, the #VizVibe, I understand that I have to out Facebook and a concerted Facebook effort at the top of my social media marketing list.
Intent, Purpose & The Proper Pairings
It’s all about how you incorporate the things that you know are a good idea, but just aren’t all that jazzed about. I love smoothies, so pulverizing a couple handfuls of spinach along with the berries, cucumber and other fruit and veggie goodness just makes sense.
It’s the same with Facebook. Late last year I stated I was going to take a formulaic approach to Facebook. But I didn’t do so with any real intent and purpose. I wasn’t ready.
Maybe that will make it harder to regain any small hold I once held on Facebook. But it allowed me to spend time on building followings on the platforms that matter more to me and my message, Twitter and Google+.
Facebook, Like Spinach, Requires Proper Intake & Inclusion!
Much as I know that adding more spinach to my diet will make my anemia symptoms easier to keep under control (FYI, that whole Mallie never sleeps thing is tied to it), I also know that carefully and consistently adding Facebook back into my digital marketing and social media sharing mix can only be good for me.
How About You!
Any “good for you” actions you plan to take in the future? Let’s hold each other accountable!
… but if it ain’t working, it’s A-OK hunky dory to jettison that *%$#^@!
I have a couple of clients for whom Facebook is still an absolute dream. Their reach and level of activity, or engagement, has seen no drop. They continue to steadily add new page likes and continue to see positive results in weekly Facebook reports.
That’s certainly not the norm of late, when most marketers are seeing numbers continue to dwindle, especially since the calendar rolled over into 2015. My own, already less than impressive, Facebook functionality has continued to decline.
Why are these clients continuing to see so much activity. I can’t give you hard facts, but I believe several factors are working in their favor:
- Their content is targeted to a niche audience that can’t get that information anyplace else.
- There’s little duplicate content being shared, because the niche is so specific and targeted – so every post is an AHA moment, as that content hasn’t already been seen elsewhere.
- Both of the pages I’m referencing could be considered hobby pages. Each has an incredibly avid and sometimes volatile following. Passionate followers keep pages moving along, especially when discussion topics are shared.
For those marketers managing pages of the same type, with the same continued result, I say hooray! And don’t do a ding-danged thing differently. The old adage that things that aren’t broken need no fixing very aptly applies.
But there’s another side to this story, one that many marketers and page owners are facing, and will continue to face as the year progresses. Dwindling numbers, rock-bottom reach and diminishing return on investment.
What are those in that boat supposed to do?
Hopefully you’ve never been one to put all of your eggs in one basket and you’ve been creating connections, engaging in conversation and building relationships on other platforms. Be it Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, what have you?
I’ve been seeing increased activity and killer conversation in the new year, especially on Twitter and Google+.
And if you haven’t spent much time elsewhere, it’s not too late. Get on board the Twitter train. Greet new connections on Google+. Finally devote that effort to Linkedin.
It’s never smart to rely on only one piece of rented digital real estate. You could be evicted at any time. And the landlords are in it for themselves, not for you!
Create A Fixed Formula
This is what I’ve chosen to do. I’ll be following a strict, formulaic posting schedule for the next several months. If Facebook continues to drop as a referral source, I’ll drop the frequency of my formulaic posts.
While I have any referral links from Facebook, I won’t drop it completely. But, I make no promises once those referrals dry up and blow away.
Don’t Let The @$$holes Get You Down!
There are several Facebook marketers out there telling you to quite whining, intimating that it’s your fault, that your posts are metrics marauders, that you’re an algorithm chaser. Here’s what I say to that:
I’m guessing you haven’t much changed your posting style and frequency all that much since you started on Facebook. I know I haven’t. I didn’t all of a sudden start posting multiple memes and monotonous, or moronic, motivational quotes.
Any changes made were those touted by Facebook themselves or the very same Facebook “experts” that are now calling many of us out as whiners.
It’s not whining to talk to your peers about what’s going on. It’s not whining to fess up and say you don’t have the budget to engage in daily post advertising or boosts.
It’s reality, and if those experts don’t like your reality, then they’re not really anyone you need worry about in future.
A Facebook Farewell May Be In Your Future
But it’s not going to knock you back and here’s why:
- You’re no dummy, you’ve invested time and dollars in the real estate you own, your website and mailing list!
- You’re no dummy, you’ve built relationships elsewhere! Facebook isn’t the only social media hot spot in town!
- You’re no dummy. You’re not listening to the guilt trips of the Facebook fan club. It works for them … YIPPEE. For you, not so much, and that’s not that big a deal. Certainly nothing that’s going to fell your business.
- You’re no dummy, you know exactly what works when it comes to your marketing dollar and you’re not about to throw it away. You’ll invest advertising dollars where you see the most benefit.
If you have to say goodbye to Facebook, it might be hard. You might feel a bit sad. But when one door closes, another opens. It might be time to see what’s behind door number two.
How About You?
What’s your plan of action when it comes to Facebook and 2015?