If you’re a business, then, you’re probably thinking you need to jump on that. Hold that thought.
Your fear of missing out may be largely inflated, and you really need to answer a few questions about your business and your target audience before you invest time and money into a Facebook page.
It may turn out that you really don’t need to be on Facebook. Stunning, no?
Where is your intended audience?
Most businesses start a social media page because they want to engage with current and potential customers. However, if your customers aren’t likely to be socially savvy or engaged, you will likely spend a LOT of time and energy in connecting with them.
The lowest hanging fruit in this scenario would be restaurants. They have an engaged community already, offline, so uniting them online is a no brainer.
However, if your customers aren’t engaged normally - like in more B2B situations - your success on Facebook is going to be far more elusive. Technical or specialty businesses may have better luck on other sites like LinkedIn, or even Twitter.
The same goes for companies whose services or products are on-demand, like If you’re set on being on Facebook, do some work offline to unite your community first.
Perhaps they are part of a larger organization, like a trade group, and can be connected with through an event or cause. Build that community and your luck with Facebook marketing could yield far better results.
Who will mind your page?
On the personal side, Facebook is something you dabble in. As a business, you need to be far more serious than that.
Social media management of any kind should be treated as a marketing tool requiring the attention and expertise of someone who understands the lay of the land. At best, drawing straws leads you to having sporadic, poorly written posts that do nothing to engage your audience.
At worst, it can lead to irreparable damage if a comment on a post leads your admin to fight with a customer. A negative comment - and there will be negative comments at times - shouldn’t be treated as the opening volley for an online argument.
Instead, someone with the kid gloves to manage content on social media will use it to demonstrate your company’s ability to serve an unhappy customer with care.
Even if the engagement you receive on a Facebook post is positive, you want to always be the last person to comment. Remember, this is a social media. Two-way dialogue is welcomed, encouraged and rewarded because responses done right give your company a distinguishable human side.
That takes time as well. If the intern you’ve assigned to the task can’t do that, and you don’t want to invest the money in a paid social media strategist, it’s best not to use Facebook at all.
How much money are you budgeting for Facebook?
“Free and always will be” is the slogan for Mark Zuckerberg’s dynasty, but really it just refers to the initial sign in. A business that wants to reach a larger audience and build a following along with their brand should expect to use Facebook advertising.
And along with the cost of the ad, you need to hire someone that really understands how to target using Facebook’s Power Editor, and analyze the metrics that come along with it.
Most often, clients will complain that they tried Facebook ads once, and it didn’t work. Friends, like any advertising, one and done is never going to get it done. Ever.
Consistent campaigns, with quality content and graphics to capture the attention of your target audience, is the norm. A professional who knows how to create advertising on Facebook isn’t cheap ($1500 per month or more), but is priceless when it yields customers for you.
If you’re thinking you can learn the ropes to advertise, understand that the time involved in creating these ads will eat up your time, and what’s that worth to you, especially if the ads don’t resonate?
Case in point: Chevrolet
Arguably Chevy is one of the most well-known brands out there, with an engaged community offline. Chevy has a Facebook page, but doesn’t necessarily follow the “post something every day” to keep up with customers. That could be in part because every comment, positive or negative, receives a response.
No doubt carefully crafted by a social media professional who understands building relationships. This is also a question for you: are you seeking Facebook to build relationships or likes? Truthfully, it’s just one tool of marketing, and Facebook should be used in concert with your other efforts to build customer relationships.
You don’t interact with customers in person by asking them how much they want to spend first, at least not if you want them to return. Bombarding them with requests to share or recommend others to like your page won’t work either.
Look through the posts on Chevy’s page and you’ll notice this is relationship management at work, not simply one-way advertising. Again, it takes time, expertise and understanding of the medium along with people you’re seeking to develop into long-time customers.
Even big companies with larger budgets have abandoned Facebook because they felt their relationship management was better handled offline.
Could your money be better spent elsewhere?
So, maybe you’re calculating what you were planning on spending on Facebook, and it’s not nearly what you can afford. Most likely, you already have a website, and that should be where everything launches from.
You may also have a database of customers that you can nurture with email marketing. Don’t scoff. A survey from Forrester found that:
- US online adults are THREE TIMES as likely to visit your website than they are to engage with you on Facebook.
- Adults online who want to stay in touch with your business are TWICE as likely to sign up for your email v. interact with you on Facebook
- Email math: emails are delivered 90 percent of the time, and opened by 18-30 percent of your audience; Facebook has a woeful 2 percent delivery.
It’s possible then to have your marketing dollars reach more people and go much further than a foray into Facebook.
Your website is your front door, and frankly can say so much more about your company than Facebook. Here too, an investment in an SEO management company to review your site to reach more of your target audience through optimization can yield a great return.
There may be pressure to jump on Facebook because “everybody’s doing it.” However, if there’s any reservation in answering these questions, you are smarter to wait than become a lemming with a bad Facebook page, which will do you more harm than good.
You may even feel that not being “out there” on the world’s largest social platform could arouse suspicion, but when you take the time to project your brand on so many other channels, your worries are unfounded.
Your business can thrive without Facebook. As with any successful marketing strategy, it will do so when you have assembled your goals with the right team to build your brand, build communications in the appropriate channels, and build your relationships.
So what do you think? Is Facebook past its due date?
Author Bio: Terrance Kern has been involved in online marketing for many years which has afforded him a rich portfolio of experiences in social media marketing. He is a regular contributor to numerous online marketing-related blogs and is keen on sharing knowledge gained over the years. Terrance has built a solid reputation for himself and the Texas SEO Company which specializes in PPC, Social Media, Local SEO and Web Design.