When was the last time you scrolled through Facebook--and paid close attention to what you were scrolling through?
For most people, this practice is intended to numb the brain. We scroll when we're bored. When we need a break. When we want to feel like we're doing something, but don't want to do something that requires us to actually think. That was certainly the case for me today. I was home sick, scrolling.
All of a sudden, I started to pay attention to what I was scrolling through.
- A video ad promising to teach me how to land my first Facebook ads client.
- Another video ad encouraging me to sign up for a free webinar.
- A long-winded status with a link to a book called Overnight Millionaire Secrets.
My entire feed was a mix between baby pictures, engagement photos, and people selling things. Lots of things. Pretty much every thing you could imagine:
- Consulting best practices
- Digital marketing "hacks"
- Free eBooks
- Landing page optimization
- Social media workshops
- The next entrepreneurial event featuring Gary Vaynerchuk
Facebook has become noisy over the past few years.
But in the past 2 years, that noise has increased exponentially.
It seems everyone is on the bandwagon in search of "passive revenue success." Everyone wants to know how they can arbitrage their Facebook ad spend against their $299 course on social media marketing--so they can make money while they sleep. Every "hustler entrepreneur" video ad starts with the phrase, "A year ago, I was homeless, sleeping on my friend's couch...". And all the while, very few brands and businesses have bothered asking, "Is Facebook where I should be investing more of my time and resources?"
To clarify: I'm not saying Facebook isn't worth keeping in your marketing mix.
I still think it's the most powerful paid advertising platform on the Internet. I still see value in boosting certain posts to targeted audiences, or keeping Newsfeed ads that drive traffic alive.
But to anyone with a finite budget, to any brands or companies that want to get the most bang for their buck, or to anyone who wants to get creative and separate themselves from the noise, here's my advice (and prediction) for 2018.
Go spend 10 minutes on the platform and see for yourself. Count how many times you scroll past someone trying to sell you something. It won't take long for you to realize that your brand or message (no matter how much you want to believe that you're "different") will get lost in the sauce. You'll just be another video ad, asking bored, glazed-over consumers to take action.
They're not going to.
I have always believed that one of the best ways to find which platforms are best for marketing yourself and/or your company is to approach the platform without a budget.
A lot of people would disagree with me.
But when you approach marketing with zero budget, it forces you to get creative. It demands that you understand every single element of the platform you're working with, so that you can get the most out of it you possibly can.
More importantly, no budget means you will get some brutally honest feedback regarding the platform's ROI potential.
Facebook is a platform for brands and companies with bottomless budgets.
As an advisor and consultant to a number of startups, I would never, ever recommend Facebook as a primary platform for a company that has small to medium-sized marketing budget.
It's just not worth it.
In 2018, I really encourage marketers and brands alike to look elsewhere. There is more to Internet marketing than Facebook.