Grow Your Social Network But Not On Facebook

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If you are growing your social network with outside networks like Twiends, Twimates, or Increasr getting Facebook page likes just got A LOT harder. Over the last week Facebook has shut down access for these networks, which means that the members of these networks can no longer link their Facebook pages or like another Facebook page from these sites.Why would Facebook cut these networks and their users off from promoting Facebook pages? Well the short answer….MONEY.

Sites like Twiends allow users to grow their social profiles outside of the social networks through incentivized reciprocation or through paid placement, this takes ad money away from Facebook. Facebook says that sites like these that charge or offer some sort of compensation to “like” a Facebook page break Facebook’s TOU. But if Facebook were being honest this is really about lost ad dollars from those few individuals that do not want to pay to advertise on their network.

How much money could a network with 600 million users really be losing from communities like Increasr? These sites get tens of thousands of members – maybe 100′s of thousands but not 100′s of millions and the majority of users of these sites are people that do not purchase PPC or CPM ads. Facebook wants you to promote Facebook but only on their terms and monetary benefit….at least that is what the conversations in the forums about this news are saying.

What do you think?

What do these networks have to say about the Facebook blockade?

Most are saying that they are working on the issue, Twiends has taken it a step further by removing Facebook tabs from their site.

It’s with great regret that we have decided to close our Facebook features.

Unfortunately, Facebook are not happy for Twiends to promote Facebook fan pages in the way that we have up until now. After a fair bit of discussion this week with Facebook we have decided that changing the feature the way they have requested will not lead to a good experience for Twiends users. Our goal is to help people grow their social networks in an ethical and compliant way. We want to be a great discovery engine for users, and we always want to make sure that we conform to the policies of the networks that we integrate with.

Although we would love to have Facebook on board with us, we see this as an opportunity to expand the Twitter services we offer. We have some exciting features planned on the Twitter side, such as competition features, and with the removal of Facebook from Twiends we’ll now have the capacity to roll these features out. We see this as an exciting new chapter for Twiends, where we can hopefully become an even more valuable contributor to the Twitter ecosystem.

We’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused. In many ways this was out of our control. The Facebook profiles that are on the site will be removed over the course of the next few days and a small redesign of the site will be made to make space for the new features we’ll be rolling out..

If this is the first time you are hearing of these networks let me walk you through what they are and why people use them:

How do you grow your social network?

  • Put out good content
  • Connect with like minded people
  • Consistently post and interact
  • Have fun and be creative
  • Buy community favor

I absolutely believe that if you create quality profiles by implementing the first four points in your strategy that you will grow your social network, but is good content and consistent communication enough to build a robust community? Unfortunately, it is not.

When looking to build up website traffic most people understand that they will need to implement a plan that includes paying for placement, whether that is a Google Ad, a banner ad on a strategic website or blog, or backlinks it’s about getting visitors that can be converted into business and buying those visitors is a necessary part of search engine optimization. These same individuals and companies that are willing to pay for SEO often do not understand why they would need to pay to build their social profiles.

What does it mean to buy community favor?

  • Network Ads
  • Contests & Giveaways
  • Social Growing Networks

I think most people know that you can buy ad placement on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, etc. to help you promote and build your social profiles, and those same people may know that if you want people to ‘like’ your profile giving them something like a discount or a freebie will get you more love, but what you may not know is that you can join outside networks to grow your online communities. There are networks that are free to join and to use and then there are networks that are free to join and use but also offer paid ways to grow.

Most of the networks focused on helping you grow your social networks started with blog, website, and/or Twitter building. These networks are based on reciprocation and paid placement. Twiends, Twaffup, Twimates, and Increasr are just a few of the networks available to help you grow your networks. These networks are unique in that you get rewarded for liking or following another user. Through the distribution of credits, seeds, or grains you are rewarded when you visit, like, or follow another user. You can buy better placement on the site to get the members to like you, you can buy their “currency” to offer to users to join your community, and you can get more points/credits by joining other user’s communities which you can then turn around and use to build your profiles.

So why would people join these networks?

Well, it is fast and cheap (in comparison to a PPC or CPM ad) way to grow your social networks. You still have to spend time and energy on these sites, so it is not as simple as joining another network and then overnight you have a huge Twitter or Facebook community. You have to spend time checking out other member profiles to grow your credits, adjusting your keywords/categories for visibility, buying credits, and keeping up your social profiles so these new friends/followers don’t unfollow you.

Is this quality community building?

No, not generally it is a great way to give a new social profile a quick kick but to really grow a quality community the first four components mentioned above are imperative. If we are being honest though, social networking is like being back in junior high, if you look like your popular people are more interested in getting to know you. These social growing networks allow you to find other ACTIVE social networkers to help you build your social networks, but though you will get their like or follow most often you will not get engagement from them.

Moral of this story:

Never throw all of your eggs in one basket, diversify your efforts and you will keep growing. Building your social community takes time, creativity, and constant R&D.  When new opportunities present themselves there is nothing wrong with giving it a whirl, but remember to stay true to the purpose of social networking – it’s about creating an authentic presence. Genuinely connect and engage with your community and in time you will reap the rewards.

 

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About Author

Bridget is President of The Get Smart Web Consulting Group, a web presence and digital strategy firm with offices in San Diego County California and Collier County Florida. But more importantly she is a web, tech, and Twitter addict!