Why Small Business Owners Should Forget Facebook

Facebook is one of the most important digital features of the average person’s daily life—and businesses have taken note.

Reports show that over 60 million businesses have Facebook pages.[1] It makes sense at first. Marketing 101 would tell you that in order for your business to succeed, people need to know about it, and Facebook … they’ve got people.[2]

They also have tools to help you reach those people. There are essentially two ways to use Facebook as a business: a Facebook page and Facebook advertising. Often, businesses use a combination of the two. But it’s important to know the differences before we get started.

Facebook Pages and Ads

A Facebook page is sort of like your business’s homepage on Facebook, with all your public information, such as where your business is located and the phone number, plus any photos you add and posts you publish.

Facebook ads are essentially that: ads. They can come from posts you publish to your Facebook page that are then “boosted” to the Facebook network for money, or they are native Facebook ads that lead to another purpose, such as a retail site.

While many people find these tools helpful in running their business, they might not be the right thing for every business.

See below for reasons why certain Facebook tools might not be the best business decision for you right now.

Facebook Prioritizes Friends and Family

Starting in June 2016, Facebook announced the priority of its news feed—the main place their users hang out—is to connect people with friends and family.[3]

This made reaching consumers more of an uphill battle for businesses, meaning your business either needs to rely on people who like your page to share your posts with friends or pay hefty advertising costs to reach people.

It’s certainly not impossible to make the most of Facebook’s tools, but it’s important to think about your own business priorities and where you can make the most impact on your needs.

Your Goals Don’t Align with What Facebook Offers

Here’s what a Facebook page is good for: community engagement and brand awareness. It’s not an empty billboard for you to brandish with unfiltered ads—this kind of strategy won’t resonate with Facebook users.

A good Facebook page strategy consists of a healthy mix of feel-good content, information your customers need to know, and a small bit of advertising. If you’re not set up for that or want to focus only on hard selling numbers, you’ll be wasting your time on a Facebook page.

Of course, if your main goal is advertising or sales, Facebook certainly has tools your business can use to try to reach their massive global audience, but be aware: It is very much pay to play.

Facebook uses a bidding system for ad placement, meaning any number of advertisers could be competing for the same ad space, which Facebook limits to only a few per user. So many factors play into what gets seen, you might not get very much bang for your buck, especially if you’re offering a low bid. It’s better to use Facebook ads when you have a healthy budget for it, clear goals, and targeting.

Your Business Won’t Resonate with a Facebook Audience

Not every type of business benefits from using Facebook. If you’re a B2B business, you’d do better to focus on LinkedIn or sites dedicated specifically to your industry. If your audience is super niche, then is Facebook, which tends to be super generalist and broad in nature, the best way to connect with them?

Be sure to research other possibilities before diving into a Facebook strategy.

You Don’t Have the Resources

While there may be over 60 million business using Facebook pages, only around 4 million of those are actively updating them. A stale business page could actually hurt your business in the eyes of the consumer. For example:

“If they’re not posting, are they still open?”

“Is this even a real business?”

These are just some of the things a potential customer might think. Facebook is the kind of thing that really needs to be done right. So be honest with yourself about the time and resources you have available to commit to running a Facebook page.

That means finding or creating content to post, copywriting with no errors, and building in time to check on your posts and comments. Facebook also offers various customer support methods through its Messenger app—are you available to take that on in a timely fashion?

If not, keep it simple and wait until you have more resources, or direct your energies elsewhere.

You Can Easily Get in Over Your Head

To get the most out of Facebook, you want to be able to engage with your online community in positive ways. But just like any forum, commenting system, and publishing platform, Facebook is rife with complainers, haters, and people looking to take their anger out on a single bad experience.

Know that for everything you post, Facebook users can use the opportunity to publicly attack you, your business, and your employees. You can turn comments off, but then you’re not really using Facebook for how it’s intended to be used or getting the most out of it.  

This might not be a problem if you’re in the business of saving puppies with cancer, but think hard about the industry you’re in and the risk for riling up the masses.

Even if you run a fairly innocuous business, it’s pretty easy to mess up a Facebook post and offend people.[4] Be sure you can take the time and care to make pleasing Facebook content.  

It’s Too Soon

If you have nothing yet to show for your business, it’s going to be hard to connect with people on Facebook.

Be sure to establish your who, what, when, where, and why before launching any social media strategy or campaign. It can take some time to figure that out. Make sure your business is ready to make a very good first impression to someone who isn’t already your friend or family member.

In short, make sure the effort you would put into using Facebook’s business tools will reap enough benefit. It can and has for many, but it might not be the best for everyone.

Article Sources:

  1. VentureBeat.com. “Facebook: 60 Million Businesses Have Pages, 4 Million Actively Advertise
  2. Money.CNN.com. “Facebook Tops 1.9 Billion Monthly Users
  3. About.FB.com. “Building a Better News Feed for You
  4. Entrepreneur.com. “The 12 Worst Social-Media Fails of 2016

Emily Kate Pope

Emily Pope is a writer and editor. She specializes in all things small business marketing and financing.

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