Suck Shit, Social Media ‘Experts’

With this news announcement, Facebook has essentially banned the terrible practice of exploiting likes and shares to increase viewership.

The way it works now — which is equally shitty — is that Facebook metes out posts to people based upon how many likes and shares it gets per view. The thinking behind it was that people like and friend many entities. This way, only “important” content is sent out to large swathes of consumers.

What’s really happening is Facebook is controlling the dissemination of information in order to coerce content creators into buying views. On any post you make, there’s a promote link below it. Hit it and check out what it says:

Promote an Important Post Total: $6.99

Now you can promote this post to move it higher in friends’ news feeds and help them notice it. Any post that you pay to promote will be marked as Sponsored · Terms Apply

So instead of it organically spreading, or just sharing it freely among your followers, they want you to pay for your not-important post to become important.

Big corporations don’t like the idea of paying to get their posts out to all the people that have hit the like button on their page. What they do, is hire someone as a “social media expert” to game the system. They’ll create terrible content that won’t circulate organically, and use the likes and shares as a means of voting.

Hypothetical situation:
Oreo is contemplating a limited run of a new flavor. They’ll put up a picture of an Oreo cookie, with two different colored fillings on it. Share if you want blueberry! Like if you want cranberry!

The post goes out to a percentage of people that have liked the Oreo page. They’re the ones that like and comment the most out of the group. If they interact with it well, the post is then sent to more followers. By encouraging the likes and shares, the post gains importance faster.

Rather than using a poll, which is apt in this scenario, they play the unsuspecting users to interact on false pretense. It’s a shitty way to get around a shitty Facebook implementation, and I’m not sad to see it go. I’m curious how these “experts” will get around this, or if it will even be enforced.

I’m guessing the first step will be using Instagram, Vine, and Twitter to promote the same tactics until they’re outlawed there. Retweet if you want blueberry! Favorite if you want cranberry! Comment on Facebook for a different flavor!

It’s all super shady, and I want it to go away as quickly as possible.

Stop staring at me, cereal!

I came across this research story on Reddit earlier, about how the characters on cereal boxes attempt to entice eye contact with their target audience. Children-themed boxes typically look down, toward the children (with an average angle of 9.6% degrees), while adult-aimed products tend to look straight forward.

I’m constantly fascinated by the tricks marketers utilize to instill brand awareness and trust. At the market this afternoon, I made a point to go down the cereal aisle to see if this information was backed up by what was on the shelves. All of the children’s cereal were on the middle two shelves, with all of their eyes pointing down at the ground. The adult cereal was on the top and bottom shelf, with eyes looking straight ahead.

You can say that the eyes are looking toward the cereal on the box, and I wouldn’t argue with you, but they did a test with the eyes looking straight ahead, or down. People found a stronger connection with the brand when the eyes were looking straight toward them. Seems silly, but there was a nearly 30% increase in trust. Others rated Trix higher when the eyes looked at them. Trix is fucking garbage, so if anyone was rating it highly, it must have been because of the eyes.

With all the money major companies blow on advertising, I would not be shocked if this was something they did on purpose.