unsplash-logoWilliam Iven

I was watching a fellow artist on YouTube Live last night, and she went off on a rant about Facebook and its algorithm. It wasn’t a long rant, maybe about 10 or 15 minutes, but it reminded me of all the wrong complaints I hear about how Facebook works. I’m not an expert by any means and I may get a lot of this wrong myself, but I’m looking at this as a consumer of Facebook.

I started out on Facebook playing games and gradually over time began showing off my artwork to friends and family, started following groups and now I have a Facebook Page. When I interact with my feed, I like and comment on the cool posts that interest me. This includes the posts of my family and friends, celebrities I like and follow, cool gadgets and trends, and the FB groups I enjoy the most. What it doesn’t include are posts I ignore as I cruise through my feed, including all those FB groups I joined but no longer care about and the pages I liked but no longer interact with.

Facebook’s algorithm knows my behavior. That is its point. If I like the video post of “F**kin’ Perfect” from P!nk, then it’s going to show me more posts from P!nk, until I stop liking videos from P!nk. The algorithm is constantly changing my feed to suit what I like at any given time.

It works the same way as the advertising you see all over the internet. You shop at Amazon for a new set of sheets, then you go to Facebook and you see advertising everywhere for sheet sets that will fit your bed. I’m an artist and it will even capture that data when I add new products to one of my shops. For instance, my RedBubble Shop (Yes, that is the link to my shop). When I add a new product to my RB shop, I will see an advertisement for that product for days afterwards on Facebook and other websites, even though I added that product to RedBubble.

Facebook’s algorithm works exactly the way Facebook wants it to. The consumer gets to see what he or she wants to see. If they are interacting with your content daily, then they will see your content daily. How do I know this to be true? Because I see my parents, children, friends content every time I log in. I see the posts from the Facebook groups where I’m most active in my feed. I see the advertisements for similar pages for activities, trends and hobbies that I already enjoy.

It’s interesting to me to notice what I don’t see. There are many groups that I joined where I’m not active anymore. I don’t see their posts. There are many “friends” that I made when I was playing Facebook games. I don’t see their posts. There are many trends that I used to follow. I don’t see their posts. The Facebook algorithm grows with the consumer, not with the advertiser. That is the way it should be.

What does all this mean?

Stop blaming Facebook for your issues. It’s not Facebook’s fault that you can’t get customers. The problem is that you’re not attracting the attention of your customers or you’re attracting the attention of your customers, but you aren’t keeping it. Now, I’m not saying that I’m any better than you at figuring out how to do this. It’s a skill I’m still trying to learn, but I am saying to stop blaming Facebook (or Instagram, Pinterest or any other Social Media platform) for your issues. There have been plenty that have figured out how to get the attention and keep it (Gary Vaynerchuk, to name just one).

Do what I’m doing now. Instead of complaining about how Facebook is screwing you because of the algorithm, take the time to work out how to be a better attention grabber and keeper. Build a following. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m putting in the work. I started my art as a hobby six years ago. I have been taking it seriously for less than a year. I have set long term goals that I don’t expect to achieve for a minimum of 10 years. I’m playing the long game here. Take your time and enjoy the journey. You will reach the top eventually, whatever your “top” is.