The rush of traffic that Facebook enjoys as the second most trafficked site in the world makes it attractive to business for this reason alone. However, the lack of control over its content, the non-commercial reasons people use Facebook, and its obtuse user interface are cause for concern. Learn how to use and how not to use Facebook Pages so you can create a “Pages” strategy that gives you the best match between the market and the medium.
Everywhere you look, companies have Facebook Fanpages: No, wait; Facebook pages. Companies ask you to become Facebook Fans: No, I mean Facebook Likes (we need a new English word for this!) For those of you who are unaware of musical chairs on Facebook Pages, Facebook replaced the Facebook Fan Button with the 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 make no guarantees as to how you will be able to use their platform and its content on To put this in perspective, I recently retweeted a Wall Street Journal article that discussed the results of a survey: Facebook ranked just above the IRS in customer satisfaction.
5 things Facebook evangelists forgot to tell you
- While Facebook is #2 in global traffic, only 1/6 of Facebook users have any interest in using it to follow businesses or brands. I talk about this in depth in my Twitter for Business article. His change from the Fan to Like button is intended to broaden that appeal. We’ll have to wait and see how the change in likes affects usage, but I think it will broaden the appeal of the page.
- Maintaining a company page is a significant time commitment for a small business. Not all business models will necessarily get a positive ROI unless they can use Facebook in a very specific way. I suggest you at least create a Facebook Page account and reserve your business name to keep your options open..
- Do you have a strategy on how to use a Facebook page that is unique to your website or blog strategy? If you’re just reiterating tweets, blog posts, or videos that are available elsewhere, your Fan Page will add little value to others or your business. You really need a unique strategy for a Fanpage to work. Paul Colligan uses his Facebook page to host his podcast. Since this is the only place you can subscribe to outside of iTunes, this is a great strategy and your Fanpage gets regular updates and adds unique value. My company created a Fanpage for one of our clients that will present their “stars of the month”. Since they are a performing arts company, this is an extremely compelling and engaging use of their Fan Page. And only people who have liked your page can be considered for this monthly feature, so this also creates a unique value proposition for joining your page.
- Facebook controls all aspects of the content you post to its site. You may have heard how Blogger, Squidoo, and other blogging platforms can take down entire sites (without warning) for violating their terms of service, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If your business relies heavily or solely on these blog platforms or Facebook Pages, you’re taking a risk. However, hosting a podcast alone offers little risk, as your RSS feed can be hosted on an Amazon S3, uploaded to iTunes, and if something were to happen to your Facebook page, Podcast subscribers would still receive your content and the page. podcast subscription. could easily be moved to a different website.
- Don’t feel like you have to use Facebook Pages if it doesn’t fit your business model. However, I highly recommend Twitter. as it is easy to learn, use and understand and 51% of users follow companies and brands vs. 16% of all other social media sites. Twitter also perfectly complements a blog. It can be easily configured to automatically tweet (micro-blog) a 140-character headline and summary of your new post to your Twitter followers.
Fashion-myth and reality
When octogenarian Betty White says, “I’m on Facebook,” in her latest commercial, it gives you insight into the depth of the Facebook craze. Everyone, including businesses, is jumping on Facebook and devoting significant resources to Pages. But few have any idea how it will benefit their business. Facebook Pages can work surprisingly well for some businesses. Pepsi demonstrated the power of Facebook Pages with its successful “Refresh Project.” However, they were successful because they were very focused on a niche project that allowed their Fans (now Likers) to vote on exactly what Pepsi would do with their Refresh Project; a compelling social campaign that gives back to communities.
What Facebook Fan Pages Are Not
I believe in social media as marketing and social networking, but I recently read several articles claiming that Facebook Pages will replace blogs as the center of the new commercial media universe. This statement demonstrates a lack of business acumen and demonstrates how fads can overwhelm reason. While Facebook personal pages are clearly the place of choice to connect with your personal friends, I can tell you with absolute certainty that Facebook business pages will never be the center of the new media universe. As long as Facebook has complete control over how companies use their own content, Facebook will never be at the center of their online strategy. Not to be crowded, but their obtuse user interface and indifferent attitude towards their users make them less attractive for a core business strategy.
How to Use Facebook Business Pages Successfully
If you really want to leverage Facebook for what it’s best for, you’ll need to use it to focus on an important social aspect of your business and build a strategy around it. It should be fun and emotionally engaging. Whether it’s a podcast or a customer spotlight, you need to be social and allow your customers and likes to engage and participate socially. Remember how people use the Facebook platform: they go to Facebook to socialize with their friends. If you develop a Facebook strategy that meets this need, you will be successful on Facebook and build a strong fan base of loyal “Likers”.
What is your experience with Facebook Pages? Do you like their user experience, are they intuitive to build and use, and what do you like or dislike about Pages?