Dear Social Media Entrepreneurs,
There is a large and growing presence among the Facebook community that deeply wishes for a platform that doesn’t shove it’s agendas down our throats. While your alternative platforms may be superior in many ways, what we from the Facebook community really want is another Facebook, without their stupid rules. Essentially, we want an agnostic Facebook. What we don’t want is to take the time to learn an entirely new platform. We have short attention spans. That’s why we’re on Facebook in the first place and that’s why it works. And we also don’t want a massive all-inclusive app that incorporates all the features of all the popular social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, WhatsAp, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and the like. That will only lead to confusion. Embrace what we want, not what you think we want.
I have two suggestions for you. One is much easier than the other.
1. Skin your interface. The hard way. You software geeks will know what that means. For those that don’t, it means put a shell around your interface that makes it look like something else. You could offer it as an optional interface.
2. Make tutorial videos. The easy way. That you haven’t done this defies all logic. No, not the unprofessionally produced ones you hide on YouTube and force new users to seek out. Call it a primer for Facebook converts. And no, not the ones that shout to the world why your new UI and model is better. Don’t do that. What you should do is create a video tutorial that is featured and pinned at the top of your platform, for all the world to see every time they log on. And what should that video do? It’s very simple actually. Take the major features of Facebook and explain how users of your new platform can duplicate those in an easy way. First consider the well established lexicon of Facebook and use that terminology so people will relate it to your platform. Here’s just a short list:
- How do I find and add friends?
- How to I share with those friends.
- How to I create a group and a page and offer it to exclusive members?
- How do I find groups and pages of interest to me?
- How do I follow people, groups, and pages?
- How to I tag someone so they’ll see what I want them to see?
- How do I control who sees what?
- How do I upload a video or photo?
- How do I share posts on other platforms (yes, even your competitors)?
- How do I prevent spamming?
- How do I block someone?
- How do I invite someone to my feed/wall, page, or group?
- How do I see my history?
- How do I control what shows up on my feed?
Answer all of those questions and more in your video. If you can’t duplicate those features, you might want to rethink your direction.
If you want to woo me away from Facebook, you should understand why I’m there in the first place. And you should understand the growing frustration of its enormous base who is growing weary of being manipulated by a social and political agenda. Let your users define their agendas. I have tried your platforms and quite frankly, they suck. They suck because the UI is foreign and they are both intimidating and frustrating. The learning curve is too steep. Make it easy for us and we’ll gladly hop on board. Watch how fast that happens. You have misunderstood why we don’t like Facebook. News flash: It’s not their UI. We’ve invested years in understanding how that works and we don’t want to do it again.
Only after you’ve shown us how we can duplicate the features of Facebook within your platform, should you begin telling us all about the great additional features you have. Feed it to us in a way we can relate. Don’t shove it down our throats and force us to figure that out for ourselves.
Heed my advice or be happy with leaving a substantial market behind.