The flood of traffic Facebook enjoys as the number 2 most trafficked site in the world makes them appealing for business for this reason alone. However,facebook the lack of control over your content, non-business reasons people use Facebook, and their obtuse user interface are all cause for concern. Learn how to use and how not to use Facebook Pages so can create a "Pages" strategy that gives you the best market to medium match.
Everywhere you look companies have Facebook Fanpages: No wait; Facebook Pages. Companies are asking you to become Facebook Fans: No, I mean Facebook Likers (we need a new English word for this one!) For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the Facebook Pages musical chairs, Facebook replaced the Facebook Fan button with a Like button. And therein lies the problem: Facebook owns and controls the platform and severely restricts your ability to manage or remove your content. They give no guarantee whatsoever over how you will be able to use their platform and your content in the future. To put this in perspective, I recently retweeted an article from the Wall Street Journal that discussed the results of a survey: Facebook ranked just above the IRS in customer satisfaction. Ouch!
5 Things the Facebook Evangelists Forgot to Tell You
- While Facebook is number 2 in global traffic, only 1/6 of the Facebook users have any interest in using it to follow companies or brands. I discuss this in-depth in my Twitter for Business Article. Their change from the Fan to Like button is intended to broaden that appeal. We will have to wait and see how the Like change effects usage but I believe it will broaden the Page appeal.
- Maintaining a Company Page is a significant time commitment for a small business. Not every business model will necessarily get a positive ROI unless they can use Facebook in a very specific way. I do suggest you at least create a Facebook Page account and reserve your business name to keep your options open.
- Do you have a strategy for how to use a Facebook page that is unique from your website or a blog strategy? If you are just reiterating tweets, blog posts, or videos that are available elsewhere, your Fanpage will add little value to others or your business. You really need a unique strategy to make a Fanpage work. Paul Colligan uses his Facebook page to host his podcast. Since this is the only place you can subscribe to it outside of iTunes, this is great strategy and his Fanpage has regular updates and adds unique value. My company created a Fanpage for one of our clients that will feature their "stars of the month." Since they are a Performing Arts Company, this is an extremely compelling and engaging use of their Fanpage. And only people who have "Liked" their page can be considered for this monthly feature so this also creates a unique value proposition for joining their Page.
- Facebook controls all aspects of the content you post on their site. Perhaps you have heard how Blogger, Squidoo, and other blogging platforms can and do delete entire sites (without warning) for violating their terms of service whether it is done intentionally or not. If your business relies largely or solely on these blogging platforms or Facebook Pages you are taking a risk. However, just hosting a podcast provides little risk since your RSS feed can be self-hosted on an Amazon S3, uploaded to iTunes, and if anything happened to your Facebook Page, subscribers to the Podcast would still receive their content and the podcast subscription page could easily be moved to a different website.