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 these days.
But let me assure you… I have not included it for shock value.
Nor will you read the end of this article to find that, “surprise!”…
Facebook actually doesn’t suck for small business owners.
Facebook really does suck.
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.
1.You are not Reaching Your Fans!
Ever since Facebook became a publicly traded company and is accountable to its shareholders, the number of your business’ 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 fanpage, 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.
So… remind me. Why were you bothering with this again?
2. In General, Fans 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!
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 altogther.” Clearly, most businesses probably need to be on Facebook.
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!
3. You Don’t Control the Platform. And You are Only “Leasing” Your Page!
While it may appear like you’re building your business as toil away on your fanpage, you’re actually building Facebook’s.
Because this is Facebook’s platform, not yours.
Your Facebook page? Not yours. 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 inadvertantly 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’ succcess, you are vulnerable and you don’t control your business’ future!
4. You Don’t own Your Customers’/Fans’ 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. If this interests you, check out my article here!
But you don’t own your Facebook fans’ data.
And if you don’t own your customers’ data, you don’t control your business, simple as that.
What to do about Facebook? The Bottom Line…
There are over 1.3 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 fan page a few times a week will be 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…
- 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 just below by sharing this post on your favorite social media platform (oh, the irony!).
- 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 those mediums to encourage ongoing engagement. But making Facebook your first priority for either engagement or customer retention is a major mistake.
- Remember to put a value on your time! One thing that I occasionally hear from small business owners about Facebook is that it’s still 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.
Hope this helps!
Good luck with your efforts!
Paul Crane is founder and CEO of Local Text Marketers. His passions include digital and mobile marketing, his German Shepherd dogs Sheba and Nika, motorcycles and playing guitar.