You might be slightly surprised—shocked even—by the title of this article. Especially considering just about every “marketing guru” on the planet is telling you absolutely have to be heavily invested in promoting your business on Facebook and other social media platforms.

But let me assure you… I have not included it for shock value. Nor is it “click bait.” You will not read the end of this article to find that, “surprise!”…

Facebook actually doesn’t suck for small business owners.

No, I’m totally serious.

Facebook sucks for small business.

And I’m going to give you 4 reasons why. And I’ll support my reasons with real, verifiable data. So you can check it out for yourself.

Reason #1: You are not Reaching Your Fans / Followers!

Ever since Facebook became a publicly traded company and became accountable to its shareholders, the number of fans that see your posts and updates has plummeted.

It used to be that about 16% of fans saw them.

Now 2–6% is more like the norm, with some experts arguing that around 2.5% is the most you can expect.

In essence, this means that for every 100 fans you add to your business’ Facebook page, probably only 2—and at most 6—are going to be exposed to any of your updates.

Yes, you read that right; 2 to 6. Out of every 100 fans.

In other words, 94 to 98 of every 100 people you manage to get to “Like” your page are not going to be receiving notifications of your new content in their feed.

Sure, this graph is pretty old, but things haven’t changed much for this 2021 update. Today, organic reach—or the number of fans who are likely to see your posts without any paid promotion—hovers around 5%.

On the other hand, open rates for commercial emails range from 10–25% on average, and 96–99% for text messages.

So… remind me. Why were you bothering with this again?

Reason #2: In General, People don’t Seem to Engage with Brands/Businesses.

A recent research paper, “Social Relationship Strategies that Work“, published by online research juggernaut Forrester Research, indicated that only 2% of the followers of top brands were exposed to their content on Twitter and Facebook, and an even smaller percentage—a tiny .07%—actually engaged with it.

And this even includes posts that are being promoted by the business—posts that were being advertised to fans and followers!

This is a huge reason why Facebook Sucks for Small Business. Nate Elliott, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, made a very clear recommendation to business owners based on the study’s conclusions…

Stop making Facebook the center of your relationship marketing efforts.

I should point out here that he doesn’t say, “stop altogether.” Clearly, most businesses probably need to be on Facebook, even if its only as an anchor point that people can use to find their businesses from a Google search.

But your investment in the platform needs to be reflective of the results you will gain from it.

We’ll talk more about this in a few moments!

Reason #3: Your Presence Isn’t Your Own.

When you build a web site or client email list or a database of cell phone numbers, those things are all yours. No one can take them away from you, and you can do with them as you like. You can even consider them to be an asset to be sold along with your business, should you ever decide to do so.

That’s not the case when you invest your business in Facebook (or any other social media platform, for that matter).

While it may appear like you’re building your business as toil away on your page, you’re actually building Facebook’s.

Because this is Facebook’s platform, not yours.

It’s important to repeat this…

This is Facebook’s platform, not yours.

It’s on lease from Facebook for as long as they feel is appropriate.

Essentially, you are completely vulnerable to whims of the company. Facebook can change the rules tomorrow if they like, and all the time, effort and money that you’ve invested will disappear like a puff of smoke. Or you may inadvertently violate a rule and they’ll boot you off the platform.

Or perhaps a company like Google will tire of the competition Facebook offers, buy them out and develop an entirely new business model for the platform.

Or, perhaps tomorrow, something different will come along, and people will abandon Facebook in droves in favor of it. (Sound unlikely? Remember MySpace? Huge at one time, now a virtual ghost town!).

While it’s unlikely any of these things are going to happen anytime in the near future, they all serve to emphasize my point; if you rely on any 3rd party service for your business’ success, you are vulnerable and you don’t control your business’ future!

Reason #4: You Don’t own Your Customers’/Followers’ Data

What’s the easiest way to isolate yourself from up and downs of the economy? To reduce your reliance on expensive advertising that offers no guarantee of performance? To control the destiny of your business? To drive more business at the drop of a hat?

To own a database—or list, whatever you want to call it—of your customers’ contact data. Whether that’s an email, a cell phone number for mobile marketing, a physical address for direct mail or any combination of the 3, owning your customers’ data means you can reach out to these people at any time and capitalize on your established relationship to boost revenue and sales.

In fact, focusing on customer retention is the cheapest and easiest way to boost the revenue of ANY business—by up to 75%, according to a Bain & Co study.

But you don’t own your Facebook fans’ data. You can’t download a list of your “fans” and move them to another platform and market to them directly, like you could if you had an email list or SMS database.

So why on earth would you invest so much time and effort in obtaining fans when that same effort could be channeled towards building an email or SMS database?

What to do about Facebook? Here’s the Bottom Line…

Yes, Facebook Sucks for Small Business, but…

There are several billion human beings on Facebook and as far as social media platforms go, it is by far the biggest and the one people engage on the most. Obviously then, your business needs to have a presence on Facebook. However, going forward…

Your investment in the platform needs to be reflective of the results you will gain from it.

For most small businesses, updating your page once every week or two is all that is necessary. With Facebook, you run into the laws of diminishing returns very quickly.

Want a little more from Facebook?

Here are my recommendations…

  1. Tap into the power of your customer’s personal networks to generate real exposure for your business. My free publication, “5 Simple, Super-Powerful Tricks to Boost Your Revenue… without Spending a Penny in Advertising” details exactly how to do that. You can grab the publication here.
  2. If you want, you can focus on building up your business’ number of fans AFTER you have obtained some sort of contact data—mobile, email, or physical mail address. After you have THIS data, with which you can actually reach your customers, you can promote your fan page as destination for further engagement. And you can use email/SMS etc. to encourage ongoing engagement. But making Facebook your first priority for either engagement or customer retention is a major mistake.
  3. Remember to put a value on your time! One thing that I occasionally hear from small business owners about Facebook is that it’s worthwhile doing because it’s free. Newsflash! It’s not free. Because your time is not free. There are other things you could be doing with your time (like building a text message marketing list or obtaining emails from customers) which will result in much greater dividends. By investing your time in Facebook instead of these other things, you are actually LOSING money.
  4. In this article I reference Facebook, but all social media platforms work in a similar manner and the problems they pose for businesses are very similar. In short, you aren’t going to bypass the issues referenced here by using a different platform.
  5. Don’t get caught up on chasing after the newest and hottest social media platform. Focus on the basics—building your own email and SMS contact lists. It isn’t sexy, but it works like gangbusters.