As of early 2013, Facebook now has over 1.06 BILLION users per month, something like one-eighth of the world’s population. That’s an enormous user base, and that’s also why one-quarter of the page views for US Internet users are on Facebook – there are a lot of eyeballs on this site! What business wouldn’t explore Facebook as their social media outlet of choice?
Well, Facebook may not be as ideal for your business as it may sound in the first place – let’s look at some reasons why:
- Do you have the time to post regularly? Facebook pages, and Facebook posts, take time to create. Your business page on Facebook should be the result of clear planning and decision-making about the priorities of how you will use Facebook. Will you attempt to get conversions right from Facebook itself? Will you use it just for brand awareness? Will you use it to inform your customers of new offerings as they become available? Of course, you could do all these things, but someone will need to manage the page, and someone will need to commit to posting regular Facebook updates and managing/replying to user comments. In contrast, a 140-character “tweet” on Twitter, for example, might be a lot less work.
- Who will see your Facebook page? If you are going to set up a business Facebook page, you may be wondering who will see it. And with good reason: you don’t really know how people will discover it, or why. You could run a Facebook ad, which will allow precise demographic targeting – age, location, hobbies, any of these and more – but for your FB page itself, this is hard to know. In contrast, if you wanted to run Google Adwords ads, you could target these to people in specific locations and who are searching for specific keywords, which gives you the ability to do much more precise targeting, possibly even down to what point a customer is in the sales funnel for your product, basedon the keyword you’ve chosen to run your ad for.
- Can you afford to pay for spreading your Facebook posts to your fans? In the past, if you had 300 “likes” on your Facebook page, that meant when you wrote a Facebook post, your 300 fans would each see that post appear in their Facebook feed – your “reach” was at least those 300 people who were your fans. However, just this past year, Facebook decided to monetize reach, using a system called “promoted posts” (source?). Now, unless you pay for promoting your posts, only somewhere between 10-25% of your Facebook fans will see your Facebook posts appear in their feed. Unfair? Maybe. But we might’ve known the free ride would end sometime, and the simple fact of having to pay for Facebook fans to see your posts has persuaded many marketers to start looking harder at other social media options.
- Facebook posts don’t stick around – Change is a fact of life, right? And your Facebook posts are very impermanent – once you’ve made a post and at least some of your fans have seen it, it just drifts into oblivion. By contrast, if you set up a Pinterest board, your pins and boards are here to stay (plus each pin preserves the URL of the source, especially good if it leads to your Web site). Same with YouTube, with the additional plus that there are a number of methods to add keywords and tags to your YouTube videos which get indexed by search engines.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Facebook. What I am saying is don’t be fooled into thinking just your presence on Facebook will solve your marketing problems and lead to tons of new business – unless you manage it well, it won’t. Be mindful of the time you send creating Facebook posts, be aware that any social media presence requires time and effort to learn what works the best, and after you’ve learned what works, follow the best posting strategies that create the most engagement with your user demographic. On that note, here’s a great infographic reposted from Buddy Media, a cheat sheet for effective Facebook wall posts.