Let me ask you a question. How many people do you suppose use Facebook each day? Well, according to recent numbers released by Facebook, there are 400 million Facebook users with registered accounts and around 50% of them log in to check their pages at least once a day, so 200 million seems like a pretty good guess.
I know what you’re thinking now: “Wow look at all that traffic! Look at all those opportunities for my business! I should be on Facebook!”
Stop it. Right now. Your business does NOT need a Facebook presence. You do NOT need a promotions page, (with a few certain exceptions) you do NOT need a profile for your company, and you certainly do NOT need 2389498 people on your fan page. Here’s why:
Facebook users only look around and socialize:
– Facebook is a social platform. Facebook’s users get online to connect with friends, upload pictures, update their status and play Farmville. They aren’t there to look for stuff to buy. Who here has had experience with Digg or Stumbleupon? Do you get traffic from those sites to your blog? Do they buy anything?
Facebook users don’t want to buy stuff:
– Facebook users are young. Despite parents slowly picking it up, the majority of Facebook users are under 35, with a significant chunk of them in college or recent graduates. Guess what? College students don’t have money to buy your product! It doesn’t matter how great it is-they don’t have the money. It depends on your product, but I’d be willing to bet that 50% or more of web marketers are promoting or selling products that will NOT take precedence over things like rent payments, car leases, textbooks and laptops.
Facebook users only like things they care about:
– People only go out and become fans (or ‘like’, I guess it’s ‘like now) of things they CARE about. Every day I am bombarded with hundreds of notifications on my Facebook page about my friends liking things I just don’t give a damn about. I ignore each and every one of them. Why are you making a Facebook fan page? To raise awareness about your business? Facebook users only ‘like’ things they CARE about. They don’t care about your business if they don’t know it exists, so stop fooling yourself.
Creating constant content :
Once you start a facebook fan page, it has to be maintained. Fans and friends have to be invited. Content has to be updated. Invitations to stuff have to be ignored (in my case anyway). Managing a business Facebook page is a high-time investment that sees very little ROI.
Eventually you’ll be so stuck in a rut of updating your promotions and coupons, changing your status, sending out a round of invitations and trying to make people care about your business, you’ll forget what your business was originally about-selling stuff to make people happy. How did you forget? By spending all your time trying to sell stuff to people who don’t know your product exists and are NEVER happy.
There are a few exceptions to the rules I have just laid down. There are a few things that you can promote successfully on Facebook to Facebook users without crashing and burning-or even in a best case scenario, just wasting a lot of your time.
The most important of those are local or regional experiences. Facebook allows you to promote to users in a certain region or network. This can be especially useful when you have a small business located near a university, since you can specifically target users that attend that university. This is effective if you own a restaurant, bar or club.
If you have one of these establishments, or something similar, you should certainly be promoting on Facebook. The secret to a successful Facebook campaigns is to keep updating constantly. Facebook users have been taught to have a 5 second attention span. You need to give them reasons to return to the Facebook profile and check what your company is offering now. Free drinks on Tuesdays? Buy one pizza, get one 50% off? VIP entrance until 12 PM? Facebook is very good for these sort of things, because it spreads information quickly to the people that CARE about the things you have to offer.
I’d love to hear from the readers about their thoughts on Facebook for small businesses. What works? What doesn’t?
This is a guest post by David Fishman, blogger and search engine marketer lives and works in Atlanta, GA. He is an employee at Response Mine Interactive, a digital marketing agency specializing in direct response advertising.Contact us if you want to guest post on this blog.