Why Businesses Faceplant on Facebook
With nearly 10 billion users, Facebook is easily the most well-known social network on earth. If Facebook were a country with a seat at the U.N., it would possess the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook (should we call it Facebookistan?) features its own unique customs and norms, and you should understand and follow them in order to utilize the site’s potential as a tool for promoting and expanding your business. When I see local businesses faceplant on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t invest some time to learn Facebookistan’s customs.
You’re a guest in Facebookistan. Behave yourself!
What makes Facebook distinct from other social networks? It’s the fact that users have strong ties with each other. They are connected to their friends, their family members, their in-laws and their long-lost friends from grade school. They share intimate areas of their lives. Such things as:
- Birthday celebrations
- High school graduation footage
- Baby photos
- Wedding announcements
The upshot for business owners? They must be conscientious and careful in their approach. You can’t apply the old forms of one-way, direct-response marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to hear sales pitches. They’re not really in a buying mindset. They’re in a socializing mindset. You have to respect that.
Keep it real (for real)
If you attempt to port the old model of marketing into Facebook, you’ll be disappointed. The natives will get irritated and shun you. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokeswoman. “But Facebook is about authenticity, so if your company is not being authentic or engaging with customers in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”
If you’re doing it right, it’s hard
Marketing on Facebook can be quite effective. But it’s also really hard (and equally rewarding) if you do it right. Many organizations think that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they have to do. But it takes much more of a commitment than that. Don’t be lured by social media sirens who make crazy promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about building relationships and influence—which requires time. But the payback is definitely worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of companies engaged in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of participation, as per a study from Social Media Examiner.