The Night I Stopped Marketing on Facebook (It’s Not What You Think)

facebook marketing status updateA beautiful thing happened tonight (now last night).

I stopped marketing.

Is Reach down? Has the EdgeRank algorithm changed? Is Facebook forcing us to pay for Promoted Posts? Are shared photos no longer effective? Do long posts or short posts work better? Should I ask my Fans (who supposedly don’t see my content) to add me to an interest list (so they do)? What time of day is best to reach the most people? Hey, look at this cat! Should you reach all of your Fans? Fill in the blank. I LOVE BACON!

Market! Market! Market!

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Stats! Stats! Stats!

Even I get caught up in this stuff. But it’s time to slow down…

Facebook marketing has gotten out of hand. Everyone’s chasing the next shiny object. Trying to solve EdgeRank. Focusing on a freaking algorithm. And throwing a temper tantrum when that algorithm changes.


In the eyes of your Facebook Fans, you have one purpose: Provide Value.

If EdgeRank drives your content strategy, you aren’t providing value.

If you are focused on “fill in the blank,” “caption this” and cat photos because they drive interaction, you aren’t providing value.

If your first concern after an hour of writing a post is how many people it reached, you aren’t providing value.

If you are freaking out about whether you should be sharing links, status updates or photos, you aren’t providing value.

If you are copying and pasting a status update that begs your Fans to add you to an interest list because they aren’t seeing all of your posts (even though they couldn’t care less), you aren’t providing value.

Focus on value first. Sometimes that value is simply having a conversation.

Tonight (last night — yawn –), that’s what I did.

I just asked a question. I took the marketing out of it.

I was tired. I don’t sleep nearly enough these days. All I wanted was a quick blog post. So I wrote the status update to the right at 11:20 PM my time (1:20 AM EST).

This was probably the most informal Facebook post I’ve ever written. Now the most informal blog post I’ve ever written. Pulled back the curtain and let everyone in. Language was loose and no one cared.

It was fun.

The result: 63 comments in 40 minutes.

Did it provide value? If you say that nothing was accomplished in that status update — that it’s no better than a cat photo — you’re missing the point.

This status update proved something important. People don’t respond best to pictures. They don’t respond best to calls to action. They don’t respond best to specific words or phrases.

People respond to people. Not brands.

The lesson learned: Slow down on the marketing. Be authentic. Show your true self. Relax, pop open a cold one and have a good time with your audience.

Oh, and another thing… Don’t wait until 11:20 pm to start thinking about the night’s blog topic. Next thing you know, you’re writing about cats.