If there’s one common mistake small businesses make that really fires me up, it’s their reliance on Facebook. I’ve met with business owners who genuinely believe that Facebook is a substitute for a professional website.
And while you may not be that extreme in how you run your business, there are still some critical aspects of Facebook you need to understand to use it effectively.
I’m not talking about just another list of social media tips about how to get more “likes” or when to post your status updates. I mean really important things that will completely change the way you view Facebook for your business, your brand, and maybe even yourself. Ignore these facts about Facebook, and you could waste a lot of time and energy that could’ve been used to grow your business the right way. Learn from them, and you can continue to build your own thriving lifestyle business.
Five things you need to know about Facebook for your business
1) Serious competition for attention.
Why doesn’t anyone notice your special offer on Facebook? Why don’t more people engage with your well crafted, useful content? I know you put a lot of work into what you post on Facebook to build your brand, but there’s some serious competition for attention out there.
On Facebook you’re not competing with other brands to get your message heard. You’re competing with photos of people’s kids, dinner plans, and football trash talk. Everyone is in a giant room shouting and the only way to cope is to either skim it as fast as you can, or just ignore it all together. Either way your marketing is getting lost in the noise!
2) People don’t buy on Facebook.
Even if they did see your Facebook update, they’re not in buying mode. Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru notes, selling on Facebook is like “trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.” Huge brands including Gap, Gamestop, and Nordstrom have closed their Facebook shops because the “likes” just weren’t translating into sales.
Quit wasting your efforts getting people to “like” you on Facebook because the results just aren’t there. More on that in a minute.
3) Facebook is the brand on Facebook.
Whether you’re a billion dollar company or just starting out, your brand is your prized possession. Everything from your logo and website design, to how you interact with your customers adds up to create your brand.
When you’re on your Facebook page you lose most of that branding power. The look and feel of your page is the same as everyone else’s, and there’s nothing you can do about it. When people show up at your page you have a very, very small opportunity to build your brand image in that crucial first ten seconds. Will they remember you? Probably not.
4) Competitors ads on your page.
Like I said, Facebook owns your Facebook page. They give you an opportunity to add a cover photo, profile image, and some other small details, but everything else is theirs. You have no control over what Facebook ads will be showcased alongside your carefully crafted brand image.
It could be an ad for your competitor, or it could be one of thousands of enticing image thumbnails designed to steal people’s attention away from your page. The bottom line, you’re not in control, and that’s one of the five commandments of a killer business.
5) Likes don’t matter. Period.
When someone clicks like on your Facebook page, it’s a good feeling. You get to watch the “like” number tick higher and higher as you climb to social relevance. But you might be shocked to find out that 98% of Facebook users who like a brand page never return again.
Well, at least they’re seeing your status updates right? Wrong! According to Facebook, 85% of your pages fans will not even have a chance to scroll past your update absentmindedly. They won’t even see it!
What’s worse is that it’s by design. If you want more people to see your update, you need to give Facebook some money. Keep in mind these are your fans who raised their hand and said they wanted to hear from you. It’s no wonder people refer to this as mafia tactics.
The biggest reason to not rely on Facebook
Your website is a critical piece of your business these days, and if you’re counting on Facebook to fill that role for you then you’re going to lose out big time. But I’ll give you one more bonus reason you shouldn’t rely on Facebook:
6) You’re not in control.
While the other five reasons might be things you can live with right now, this reason should get your attention.
Facebook has a long history of making significant changes without notice. Not too long ago they changed everyone’s displayed email address to be their @facebook.com email address (without notice). In 2012 they created an algorithm to decide whose post you would be shown in your Facebook feed. No options. No choice. End of story.
No matter where you choose to build your businesses web presence, you need to be in control. You need to be in control of your customer’s experience online, and you need to be able to talk to people who want to hear from you. Facebook doesn’t cut it.
What your business needs instead
What you need is a website you own one hundred percent. You need a site you can update to serve your business, and nothing will get in the way. You need a place where you’re in charge. For my clients that is WordPress, hands down.