Social networks and marketing opportunities are a dime a dozen. And choice is great but sometimes too much choice can leave you wondering where to go next.
In this miasma of opportunities Facebook has the advantage of being “old hat” in internet years. Plenty of people have long since jumped on that bandwagon.
It’s even been around long enough for a few of them to jump off.
It has the aura of a “must have”, as in, if your business isn’t on Facebook consumers and gurus alike will look at you all wide-eyed and good-heavens-like.
So maybe you’re thinking you need a Facebook page for your brand or business.
Or maybe you’ve started one with less than the best idea of how to capitalize on it, so your page is sort of languishing with a few fans and you don’t know what to do next.
Before you start – or before you keep going into that dark, endless tunnel – ask yourself the following questions to find out if Facebook marketing is right for you.
No cheating. Really answer! And when you get to the end, let me know if you have any other questions that are stumping you.
Are My Target Customers On Facebook?
Hard to believe but some people don’t have a Facebook account – at all! If those people are your customers, then you’re wasting your time.
An easy way to find out if your customers are on Facebook is to ask. Survey your email list or do a random sampling via phone or personal email to get a sense of where your best customers are.
You can also look for competitors or others in a similar industry on Facebook. Do they have flourishing pages? Or are they stuck at a few fans? This can be a catch-22 – lonely pages may mean no interest but flourishing pages could mean a saturated market. Use your judgment and decide whether this is the right environment for your business.
Why Am I Here?
“Because everyone has a Facebook page…”
“Because someone told me I need a Facebook page…”
“Because it’s cheaper than a website…”
BZZZT! Bad reasons.
If you’re going to try any marketing tactic you need to know why. What do you want to achieve? What will you and your business get out of it?
Be clear on your goals so you know what you’re doing and how to measure the results.
Do I Have A Plan?
Speaking of what you’re doing… what are you doing?
“Having” a Facebook page is one thing. Using it, growing your community and engaging your fan base is another entirely.
What type of content will you share? Where will the content come from? What goals will each type of content achieve?
How will you deal with angry or negative people?
How often will you post?
How does this tie into the rest of your marketing plan? Remember, just having a Facebook page doesn’t magically mean that you’re “doing marketing”. Facebook should be one part of a bigger plan. What’s yours?
Do I Have Time For This?
Sometimes decisions come down to practical reality.
Facebook may present a fantastic opportunity for you and your best customers may be clamoring to hear from you but if you don’t have time to find, create and post content, engage with people, seek fans and build and support your community then opportunity could easily turn into disaster.
Without time to build and engage your following, your page will appear abandoned. You may not have time to answer questions and that can annoy or anger people. Either way, it won’t reflect well on your business.
No page at all is better than a neglected one. Be real about the time investment that you can reasonably make.
Do I Have Budget For Ads And Promoted Posts?
Facebook was once touted as the greatest free marketing channel ever invented.
As the days pass, Facebook becomes less and less “free” – and I’m not just talking about your time investment.
Thanks to EdgeRank, only a tiny fraction of your fan base will see your posts at any given time.
Think you’re cruising along with 500 fans? Think again. What if you knew that after all your work building up a fan base, only 50 of those fans would ever see your post?
Practical reality butting in again here… to be successful with Facebook you’re going to need a budget. That may be for ads to promote your page, events, offers or content and it may be for promoting individual posts of importance.
If you think you’re getting away free plus time, you’re going to find yourself extremely frustrated with the results.
Why Should People Like My Page?
Once you’re done soliciting all of your friends and good customers, who’s going to like your page?
More importantly, why would they bother?
You need to have a compelling reason for people to like your page. That may be because of exclusive content. It may be because of an offer or special perk. Whatever the reason, you need one.
And you need to reinforce that reason regularly because even after someone has liked your page they can still hide your page from their news feeds so they never see another post from you again.
Give people a reason to show up and a reason to keep coming back.
Do I Have A Good Home Base To Send People Back To?
You do not own it. You do not make the rules. You have no say whatsoever in how it works.
Facebook is another avenue by which you can reach your customers but it should not be the only or even the primary one.
You still need a strong home base so you can funnel people to your site or provide the information people need before choosing to do business with you.
If your website isn’t strong then forget about social marketing right now and go fix that first.
Is There A Better Place I Could Be Spending Time And Money?
Just because you see an opportunity doesn’t mean it’s the best opportunity.
Before you get all starry-eyed imaging your 100,000 fan base, consider whether there’s another opportunity you’re ignoring or overlooking that would result in less work and a bigger return.
Don’t underestimate the power of the simple email. Are you doing your best to build an engaged community through your email list?
How about another social network? Could you reach more customers, more efficiently?
Or maybe you could take that money and all the time you were going to be creating and curating content and devote it to building as fantastic website.
Think about it… you can’t make an educated decision until you do.
What do you think of these questions? Have you already asked and answered or are you still hemming and hawing a bit about the why and hows? Leave a comment and let me know what your major hang-ups are.
Join the discussion 8 Comments
Excellent questions, Carol! It’s amazing how much better off businesses would be if they asked these questions before taking the Facebook plunge. So many want to do it “because everyone else is” which is perhaps the worst reason in the world (as you mentioned).
This ties into your “why am I here?” question, but I would add “How will you measure success?” In other words, are you simply measuring the numbers of likes or will you go deeper and look at traffic, conversions, sales, retention, etc.? That will really help you determine if your efforts paid off.
Yes Laura, great question! You won’t know whether your “why” is working unless you measure. It doesn’t have to be a complicated ROI formula – I think a lot of people get hung up on that – but it does have to be something. Thanks for the idea!
Great post! I do have the Facebook page and my customers are actually there, but I really don’t feel like I am utilizing it yet the way that I want to. You’ve brought up some good points and given me some things to think about. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks George, I’m guilty of being less-than-stellar when it comes to monitoring mine, too. So many things to do, so little time! But it’s important to keep it going so even if you fall off the wagon, get back on!
I’ve heard that some businesses sign up for the search engine
result. I know my church doesn’t really keep their facebook up but that
result is up there when you search for them in google. in fact for
some businesses I see the facebook before I see the website. I am not
sure about the numbers on this and obviously it is not utilizing
facebook well, but just in the idea that you are promoting your bran in
another way could it be worth it. Facebook is not a website like the
yellow pages or Manta but it seems to be used that way. Just wondering
It’s true, I do see Facebook pages come up a lot. Sometimes I see them come up long before the actual website. To me that says there is something wrong with the website! I also think it can have a negative effect on your brand image if you don’t maintain the page. Imagine someone finds your page but not your site…. so they go to your page and see… nothing. If you really want to use it for SEO and it can be a useful tool, then MAKE it useful. Keep it updated and active.
Well, this post surely makes me feel better about slaking with my Facebook pages, which are basically none existent. I know I should improve in this area still, but so far it’s lack of time that has pushed me back.
You’re right, sometimes, I’d rather spend some time doing things that I know will more directly affect my potential customers/clients such as sending emails, blog, or even work on my next free giveaway, that should grow my list.
I would definitely, never put all my eggs in any social media platform. I have too many bad stories with Web 2.0 sites such as Squidoo or Hubpages to remind me of that. Facebook is the same.
Thanks for this great advice 🙂
Don’t worry about Facebook if its not the best idea for you! You don’t need to feel pressured by the fact that other people are doing it. That’s just a recipe for stress!