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Does Facebook Make It Harder To Interact With Fans?

image from www.google.com This guest post comes from musician RJ Comer of LA's Dance Hall Pimps.

Recently, we began running some very targeted ads to help promote the Dance Hall Pimps Facebook fan page, and I have to say it’s been pretty successful, getting almost 500 new fans (real fans) in just over a month on a small budget.

One of the things I wanted to make sure we did was interact with each and every one of these new fans – numbers don’t mean anything, it’s the real personal connections that do.

Does being thanked on Facebook annoy you? Facebook thinks so. We send one short personal “Thank You” message to every person who “Likes” our page. For example, we target fans of “True Blood” in our area, and joked a little bit with them in our thank you message: “I see you’re a fan of True Blood. Us too. Our dream gig is to make an appearance as the house band at Fangtasia.”

We have often received positive messages back. But if we do this too many in a row, Facebook suspends privileges claiming that this activity is annoying or spamming. So we thought we’d ask you. Does a personal thank you message from a band you “Like” annoy you?

We asked our fans this, and they don’t seem to think so. One fan responded “It’s stupid. The note I received from you was one of the nicest I’d ever gotten. The policies are dumber every day and it seems I make connections in spite of FB not because of it.”

Facebook apparently thinks that is spamming activity. I sent Facebook a couple of nice respectful messages trying to tell them that what we do is not annoying and gave them some suggestions. It would be one thing if we have some automated bot sending the exact same messages and not doing these one-on-one, but I feel I feel I should be able to communicate with these new fans, especially if I’m paying Facebook to acquire them.

Thanking Fans = Good

Personally thanking your fans = good. Doing it too fast or too often = bad, at least according to Facebook. Facebook encourages businesses and business activity on Facebook, but still has protection measures that don’t allow businesses to be business-like with their fans and friends.

It should be noted again that the emails back to me from the personal thank-you messages are unanimously positive, resulting in real connections with new fans.

If Facebook were a real business with real people ready to talk to their customers, I would have leapt down their throat over this. But Facebook insulates itself from its business users by providing no mechanism for genuine businesslike interaction with them.

Instead all I get is my messaging disabled without any idea of how “moderate” I have to be in order to adhere to Facebook requirments. Here is the email I have sent that addresses this problem in detail:

Hi again: RJ Comer, Administrator of Dance Hall Pimps page. And a paying FB advertiser. I communicated twice yesterday about my messaging feature being disabled for sending “Thank You” messages to new “Likes” at our band page.

I slowed down when warned, yet was still penalized by being disabled. Our fans have responded that they are not annoyed by receiving 1 short thank you message–in fact they appreciate being acknowledged. If someone has reported my Thank You emails as abuse–tell me that. But the response I get from them is 100% postive.

We do not spam our fans, we attach no links to the single Thank You message. I do not initiate FRs to our fans–though i accept their FRs to me. Then today it appeared my messaging was operational. I proceeded very slowly, and now it is disabled again. I’m being respectful. I like FB. It is very useful, but you’re disabling me from communicating to fans in a limited, respectful, not annoying way. And I paid FB advertising dollars to attract these fans.

Perhaps it would be useful if FB defined “slow down” specifically. Such as “You must limit your messaging to 1 message per hour for the next 24 hours or you will be disabled.” At least then i could regulate my activity within a known parameter. But this process your using is penalizing FB users who are attempting to play by your rules, for activities that are not annoying or spamming.

If FB doesn’t want business on FB that’s ok, just say so. But if you’re going to encourage businesses like bands and musical groups, you have to make sure you avoid penalizing them for communicating directly with fans. C’mon, we’re both business people here. Can we communicate about this like business people and find a solution?

What do you think? Is this a legitimate function that needs to exist on order to battle spam, or id it overkill on Facebook’s part?

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