Why I Don’t Want to be Your Facebook Friend

April 29, 2013 3:49 pm Published by Bill Boorman

This week I was in Amsterdam for #truAmsterdam, running a track on Facebook and Facebook recruiting. As always happens when we have this discussion, we got involved in the personal space discussion.

When we talk about connecting with brands on Facebook, there is always some resistance, given the nature of Facebook as a personal channel. However, I prefer to think of it as the “life” channel where users spend more time than anywhere else online, which means both sharing many aspects of our personal life and parts of our professional life–and a big part of life is work.

We connect with other types of businesses we find interesting or exciting, brands like Spotify, TripAdvisor and plenty of others. Why should connecting with interesting brands, jobs and opportunities be any different?

The big thing here is understanding the difference between being a “friend”, and being a “fan.” You might not want me to have access to all of your pictures, but you might like checking in on what is going on with my business from time to time, or taking a look at the jobs on offer. You do this by being a fan rather than being a friend. The relationship is different, the communication is different, and you will only see my updates if we connect and engage on a frequent basis, because my visibility is dependent on our interaction.

If you are thinking of setting up a fan page to give people the opportunity to connect with you, then you need to understand the fundamental difference between fans and friends, and the critical part interaction plays in visibility. You need to understand Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, and the type of updates that encourage your fans to comment on, like or share them.

As always, it’s about understanding your audience and what they respond to. When we stop thinking “candidates” and start thinking “audience,” the approach is different. An audience needs to be engaged and entertained to stick around. Fans are supporters and advocates, but their allegiance can be fickle. Instead of worrying about personal space, you need to keep working on creating opportunities for interaction.


This post was written by Bill Boorman

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