"This is part one of a series of absolutely scintillating articles about how to create and nurture tight-knit communities within social media comments."
For it is in the conversations you create (and participate in) that relationships are built and you earn favor with The Machine. It’s where your “brand” is developed, influence is built, and money is made.
This series of articles is really about how to give Facebook (and Insta) what they want – so they help you get what you want. Which I’m assuming is to help other people get what they want.
Sound about right?
The key to this whole thing is that it’s win/win/win. Facebook wins, the people you’re helping win, and you win.
But it’s essential that you start with them. Facebook wins first. Then your people. Then you.
Before we get into the specifics – I need to lay some groundwork – because it’s essential you understand how the social media architecture works – so you know how to best exploit it.
In this first article, I’m going to give you a look under the hood and “behind the glass” of the social media machine.
How to give Facebook what it wants so they help you help other people get what they want.
Let’s face facts:
If you’re not paying for it, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT.
I’m primarily talking about Facebook & Instagram here, but this is a constant across all of the popular platforms.
What did you think was happening? That these companies are investing billions of dollars developing technology out of the kindness of their heart? You don’t think it’s strange that you can do all of these wonderfully fantastic things without giving them any money?
They’re selling you. More specifically, they’re selling “access” to your mind – and the minds of the other users – to the highest-bidding advertisers.
So Facebook’s “job” is two-fold:
- Show as many relevant ads as possible to as many people as possible.
- Learn as much as it can about the users so it can help the advertisers get results – and keep them spending money.
And there’s a straightforward way they can accomplish both of these things:
Get people to look at their screens for as long as possible.
Which is why they hire the world’s smartest engineers, scientists, and product designers to keep bringing you new features and tools. For “free.”
This is really what the ‘Like’ button is for – to give the users/creators a little dopamine hit, so they keep coming back to the app to see how many Likes they got.
A brilliant pavlovian reward so we keep doing more things. And tapping more things, and posting more things, and watching more things.
Because while you’re there, you’re also gonna take a quick scrolly-scroll to see if you’ve missed anything.
And while you’re doing that, Facebook can charge a few of their advertisers some bucks for serving their ads.
But here’s the scary/cool/crazy part:
They can track what you were doing and where you were at (location/GPS), and even what you were thinking about (search/other app usage/web browsing) – before AND after you opened the application.
They know that you were at Starbucks this morning - and that you stopped at Whole Foods on your way home.
Your phone connected to their wifi, bruh.
And one of the apps you opened while you were there had the Facebook tracking pixel firing.
And guess what else they know?
They know that you check your phone notifications when you get back in your car before leaving every god damn place you go.
So they start to figure out what sorts of things to show you based on the types of things you’re doing, and looking at, and clicking.
“When Mary has been at Whole Foods, she tends to spend more time looking at recipe accounts – and she seems to look at more yoga and nutrition info in general – so let’s bias her newsfeed towards that on those days. We already know when she goes.”
It doesn’t matter one bit if you actually “Like” or comment or do any sort of traditional “engagement” behavior while you’re there. Facebook doesn’t need you to do those things for them to know what you care about.
Like it or not, that’s the way it is. You agreed when you checked that “I have read and agree with the Terms of Service” box.
But the way I see it, there’s no point in resisting it – or wishing it were another way. The only rational path forward is to accept the world for what it is and work within those parameters to get the result we seek.
After all, on some level, they’re the ones who get to decide whether we “live or die.” Meaning they can (and often do) change how the algorithm works – altering the distribution of our posts – and which of our Followers see our stuff. (very few of them do if you’re not paying for content promotion)
(which is also another reason to have an email list, but that’s an article for another day).
However, they don’t want to kill us. That would be like a drug dealer murdering his customers. How are they gonna keep giving him money?
All they want, underneath all the glitz and bullshit about “connecting the world,” is more people looking at more screens for more time.
They want eyeballs and interaction.
Which means the best thing we can do is play the game and earn favor with the Facebook Machine. We do this by being an account that people spend time looking at.
Even if they don’t Explicitly “Engage” with a Like, Comment or Share.
Scroll down to continue to Part Two
If you liked this, would you recommend or Share? It helps.
Continue to Part Two
Social Media Reimagined.
The Truth about “Influencer” Marketing.
And 1000 True Fans.