Facebook's Graph: Don't Worry, Be Relevant

Photo by origami_potato

I’m sure this says a lot about how behind I am on things: I just finally got around to signing up for Graph, you know, that latest improvement Facebook rolled out oh, back in January–which is a minor eon in Internetlandtime. Yes, I’m behind the curve. And yet I worry not.

Now, to be clear, I’m not unaware that Graph exists, I’ve tracked coverage of it. And to be sure, you should be aware of what Graph does to change the daily management of your organization’s Facebook page. The point however, is that I just wasn’t going to rush to get it. And I don’t think you should worry if you aren’t on it yet, or haven’t got it yet. Here’s why:

You Gotta Go With The Flow

Change is the only constant in social media. This has been true for years, and no one can really keep up. Some people do, but they’re paid quite well to do so, and if I made what they did, I’d have been on the latest rollout the second it came out. But the vast majority of us do not fit that category or work for well-funded multinationals with budgets the size of a small country.

Most of us on this blog–professional non-profiteers, consultants, accidental cause advocates–have to make the best of stretched budgets or, in the case of some lean nonprofits, the time left over at the end of the day after the full-time job, and the kids have been put to bed.

Hopefully you have accepted what me and many digital colleagues did years ago: you just gotta let go, and go with the flow.

And you can’t worry, because the upside of a constantly evolving social media landscape is that there’s always room for one more person in the discussion. There’s always another way to stake out you digital presence. The downside of a crowded digital landscape is equally clear–the noise to signal ratio gets worse by the minute. That said . . .

Tactic Vs. Strategy

The platforms are important, and you should know what’s up with them. But don’t lose the forest for the trees. None of it matters if you don’t have the basics down: clear messaging, a strong brand, great content, and a serious executable strategy and plan.

Think about the people, pages, products, organizations, and causes that are dearest to you, that you care about the most. Do you notice if they’re suddenly gone from your Facebook feed? Do you find yourself going, “Huh, what’s the deal? What’s with the silence?” That happens when they already have your loyalty, and have built a relationship with you. And chances are you value that relationship for more than just the entertainment value in your already busy feed, yes? That’s what you want your community to feel about you.

Unless there’s a huge change–like Timeline, which truly changed the layout drastically enough that people had to get used to things all over again (and the little I see of Graph images doesn’t suggest that’ll be the case)–your core community will probably continue to find you. If they don’t, if they were content to let you just fade into the background, might the problem be deeper or have nothing to do with the latest Facebook rollout? It’s an uncomfortable question, but one that is always worth asking.