Depending on what type of business you have I am sure you have all asked yourself at one point or another, should I use my personal Facebook page or a fan page to promote my business? Well, it really depends on what you are doing and what your goal is with your products and or services. If they mesh well with your personal life and you are not worried about sharing to much online, you may think your personal page is Ok. The fact of the matter, it is not.
You don’t want a simple opinion on a personal topic to become a deterrent with your customers or potential client’s. There are even more reasons than just this one of why you should always have a separate business fan page for your Facebook.
Let’s check some of them out below:
Early in my research I found contrarian opinions on the worth of a Facebook page.Stephanie Chandler points out, “if you have 1,000 Facebook fans on your business page and you post an announcement about an upcoming event you’re hosting, you will be lucky if 5% to 10% of your followers see your post.” She adds that many people are reporting response rates much lower. This is confirmed by Elan Dekel, who set up a Facebook page for a client of his, only to find out that 1% to 5% of the 6,000 people who had “liked” the page were seeing updates from that page when they logged into Facebook.
To get some more in-depth perspectives on the wisdom, or lack thereof, of setting up a Facebook page for the business side of my life, I decided to talk directly to three experts. Jay Oatway is the author of the forthcoming book Mastering Story, Community and Influence: How to Use Social Media to Become a Social Leader, and has been named one of the top 50 social media influencers. Joseph Allen is the co-Founder and Chief Homie of Lava Surf, an advertising agency with social swagger providing hard nosed consulting. Michael Michelini is the co-Founder of Social Agent, an Asia-based firm helping companies leverage social media for sales. What follows started out as a bit of Q&A on the topic of Facebook pages for businesses, but in some cases turned into a larger discussion about the proper role of social media for your business. Bear in mind those giving the answers are answering within the context of their own experiences, and they are directly answering my questions–not engaging in a conversation with each other.
Q: Should all businesses have a Facebook page? Why or why not?
Allen: The question should not be whether or not all businesses should have a Facebook page but rather how does it make sense to integrate the Facebook and social experience into the brand. Most businesses look at Facebook in terms of likes, comments, shares and advertising, then assume that this makes them social and their business viral. Dumb.
Many brands play the Facebook/social game based upon their competitors’ moves and not their customers’ interests. If Facebook will help you serve customer needs and interests then you should consider effective strategies to help you capitalize on those opportunities.
Oatway: No. Every social network has its own unique culture. The Facebook culture is still, despite years of trying to professionalize it, very much like that of a college dorm. This may not be a good fit for every business. But every business should look for a social network that suits them. Try looking at Google+ if you have a business with retail shops. Try LinkedIn if you are more B2B. Try Pinterest if you are selling merchandise online.
Michelini: It’s worth the time to establish your presence there. How much you maintain it is another topic altogether.
Q: Jay, I notice you don’t have a Facebook page linked from your website. Why not?
Oatway: I set it up initially to promote my book, but I get better traction from Twitter and G+, so I don’t use it much.
Q: A lot of small businesses lack the cash to spend a lot on advertising to get likes for their Facebook page. How can Facebook page owners get maximum value without breaking the bank?
Allen: My first recommendation is to stop looking at Facebook with a “monkey see monkey do” approach. Just because everyone else appears to be doing it doesn’t necessarily make it worth doing. Who said having a Facebook page is the best and only Facebook strategy? Perhaps a Facebook group or a profile users can subscribe to would be more appropriate for your first stages of social growth. The key is creating natural momentum in the social space.
For example, imagine you have a brick ‘n mortar bicycle shop on main street. You are very passionate about cycling. You know the main influencers in your cycling community and participate in key events that spike enthusiasm and engagement. Perhaps a Facebook group of 2-4k very active voices would be even better than a Facebook page for your first stage of Facebook/social growth. Social becomes powerful when it is a byproduct of mass collaboration. Putting passionate die-hards in close proximity will promote collaboration, dialogue and catalyze user participation. This activity will enhance the business opportunity. From immediate customer feedback, loyalty program integration, notification of news and events to special promotions and sales, all in real time.
Oatway: Content marketing isn’t about spending money, it’s about investing time. If you consistently share valuable information and stories with a community, your value and authority within the community will grow. You don’t want to buy likes, you want to earn them.
Michelini: Insert the Facebook widget in your website and other marketing materials. Assign a “community manager” in the company and create regular workflows for this community manager to post to Facebook. Have this team member also publish regular newsletters and blog posts.
I love how he mentions trying out a Facebook group to get started. This is not only a great way to start networking but also give you some ideas of what you like and what you want others to see when you do finally set up your own Facebook fan page to promote your business.
Which social networking avenue do you feel is the best to invest time and money into for your type of business and why?