Are Facebook Pages Worthless or Are You Doing Social Wrong?

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Often, we tell business-owners that just because someone liked your Facebook page doesn’t mean your posts show up in their news feed. Usually, they are shocked to know this. This blogger on Forbes found out the hard way:

Once we started posting on our Facebook page, we were shocked, shocked, to see that not all the users that liked our page were seeing our posts. For example, with over 6,000 likes on our page, a typical post would only be seen by fifty to several hundred people. To reiterate, only 1% to 5% of the people that liked our page saw our posts.

But does this mean Facebook pages are a bad investment for small businesses, as the title of that post says? No.  A Facebook page be a bad investment for you, if your customers aren’t on Facebook, or if you don’t have the time to create good content, or if your time is better spent on other channels. That doesn’t mean they are a bad investment for all small businesses. I don’t know what Forbes has against Facebook, but here are two other recent posts targeting small businesses: “Should You Leave Facebook?” and  “Why Small Businesses Are Losing On Social Media.” Here’s why these arguments don’t make sense.

Facebook pages aren’t the same as Facebook ads.

You might use ads to promote your page, but just because your ads were a bad investment doesn’t mean your page is, too. Who spends thousands of dollars on advertising a page without doing some basic research that would have told you that not everyone who Likes your page will see your post? There’s no information in that article about how the ads were targeted and whether they were to the right audience at all.

Focus on the right metrics: which isn’t Likes.

You need to measure what you want to achieve. Getting a certain number of Likes is a horrible marketing goal. How does it help if you get 6,000 Likes from people who aren’t part of your target segment?

Money can’t buy love.

Advertising can be used well. But spending money to get Likes on your Page is not going to get you engaged fans! Of course Facebook isn’t going to show them your posts: they have probably not interacted with your content at all!

Focus on engagement, not sales.

All the people dissing Facebook: what marketing channel have you ever used that gives you tons of sales without spending either effort or money? Please, please tell us so we can all go there. /snark But apparently, people have to be told this:

If an expert or strategist tries to sell you on the notion that setting up a Facebook page or Twitter handle (or even a LinkedIn company page) will open the floodgates to an Internet’s worth of sales leads, they’re selling you some bad medicine.

And if someone is selling you snake oil that will make you immortal, you should probably be a little skeptical. (Sorry, I didn’t end the snark after all.) Social media are for listening, for engagement. Once you’ve built trust, some sales too. From the same article:

“People are being sold on social as a place to generate leads, but it’s really a place to build loyalty, answer customer service questions and to build a community.” These things take time, he says, and commitment to the platform, but in his experience they have proven to be the value that does result in an increase in revenue. How? Through trust and loyalty.

And that really says it all. It’s a good thing that it’s not worth buying Facebook Likes. If you can’t see that, yes, please don’t bother with a Facebook page.

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