If you follow me on facebook, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t like those pictures of sad-eyed kids or lonely American soldiers. But why not?
I don’t share pictures of CEOs holding signs that promise to give some lucky friend lots of money. I don’t share the posts about Apple giving away a bunch of iPads or iPhones. I don’t add my comments to the picture of the 99% off laptops. When I do comment on things like that, it’s usually with one word, “Hoax!” – and I move on.
Ever wonder why?
How Social Media Scam Artists Make Money
Ok, you probably don’t wonder why, but I’m going to tell you anyway. First of all, most of those are not real. But more importantly, I don’t want the scammers getting their hooks into me.
Imagine the expansive grassy plains of this great nation of ours going out in all directions. Imagine the overall-wearing, John Deere-driving, wheat stalk-chewing farmer planting a whole crop of likes. As far as the eye can see, row after row of likes. What good are they? Who wants them? How can we turn this crop of likes into dough?
Likes are the cash-crop of social media because we live in an audience-economy.
Selling Your Audience
If your facebook page has a whole bunch of fans – people who have liked the page – you can start posting content that people and corporations have paid you to post. I’m not talking about the ads that show up on the side of the page. I’m talking about the posts on the page. It goes like this:
“I’m recommending this book to all of my facebook friends as a way to…” and it’s followed by a link to a page where the book is sold. The publisher of the book paid the page owner to post that link. It was valuable to the corporation because of the size and demographics of the audience.
Essentially, you’re selling the audience. Advertisers have been doing this forever. Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, even the billboards on the highway calculate the number people in an audience and then get money for posting things that might appeal to the audience. Social media makes this much easier and is much more accurate.
This is no different from the traditional advertising that has been going on in other forms of media. What I object to is how people and organizations are gathering their social media audience. They lie to you.
The page owners are betting that you’re not too bright.
They bet that you’ll like a page based on a picture of a kid, a soldier, a puppy, unicorn, sunset, Bible, chocolate milkshake, cartoon character, bacon, cupcake, bacon-cupcake and any number of other popular and attractive things. They bet you won’t look up the picture or story to see if it’s true.
They bet that they can continue to dupe you into interacting with other things they post, boosting their engagement numbers and increasing what they can charge for an ad.
They also bet that you won’t ever UN-like that page once you’ve liked it and the posts will keep showing up in your News Feed. And they bet that you’ll keep liking, commenting, and sharing them so they show up in the News Feeds of your friends.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it…
There’s nothing wrong with liking pages that provide uplifting and excellent content. There’s nothing wrong with liking a page that you genuinely like. That’s what social media is all about. Just use some discretion in what you like. See what else a page is posting before you click the like button. If you get content that isn’t valuable to you – visit the page again and see if it has changed. Don’t like it any more? Unlike it.
Unlike A PageTo unlike a page – visit the page, go to the “liked” button, click it, mouse-down to “Unlike” and click that. Done.
Smartphone unlike – Go to the Page by clicking on its name in your News Feed or searching for it, under the Page’s cover photo on the left side, tap the Liked button. It removes your like – and you’re done.