Let’s get real for a moment. How many people do you think use Facebook daily? Well, according to Statista, Facebook reported about 1.66 billion daily users in 2019. If we weigh in on the lower side, I’d say 1.5 billion daily active users seems like a pretty good guess. That’s a lot of users.
I know what you are thinking. “Wow look at all that traffic! Look at all those opportunities for my business! I should be on Facebook!”
Stop it. Right now. Your business does NOT need a Facebook presence. You do NOT need a promotions page (with a few certain exceptions), you do NOT need a profile for your company, and you certainly do NOT need 1.5 billion people on your fan page.
Now I’ll admit that I may be playing the Devil’s Advocate here a little. I have seen Facebook campaigns do incredibly well, and I have seen them suck up enormous amounts of time and energy for naught.
Personally, I use Facebook to do some promotional work for a local retail company. I would say, in fact, that my work in the company revolves entirely around Facebook. It just happens to be the best way to connect with the local crowd. And for the most part, it works. But hear me out.
Which Businesses are Best Suited for Facebook?
Generally, I like to think of Facebook as best suited for:
- Building awareness for a new product launch by an established company (think Coca-cola).
- Addressing consumer concerns and providing a personalized level of one-to-one customer service (Comcast comes to mind).
So here’s the thing. Since most of us small business owners don’t have to concern ourselves with giant product launches or customer service issues (that we couldn’t deal with through email already), we just don’t NEED facebook. It isn’t hurting, but it isn’t helping either, and the time it takes to maintain it is just wasted.
Why Small Businesses Don’t Need Facebook… Yet
Here I’ll summarize my not-so-biased reasons why your business probably doesn’t need Facebook to survive.
Facebook users only look around and socialize
At its very core, Facebook is a social platform. Facebook’s users get online to connect with friends, upload pictures, update their status and play Farmville. They aren’t there to look for stuff to buy. I’ll give you a better example. Before they got shut down, did you ever use Digg or Stumbleupon to drive traffic to your blog? Did they buy anything? That’s what I thought.
Facebook users don’t want to buy stuff
Facebook users are young. In as much as parents are starting to slowly pick up the trend, the majority of Facebook users are under 35. Of these young users, a significant chunk of them are either in college or are recent graduates. Guess what? College students don’t have money to buy your product! It doesn’t matter how great it is – they don’t have the money.
Even though this entirely depends on your product, I’d be willing to bet that 50% or more of web marketers are promoting or selling products that will NOT take precedence over things like rent payments, car leases, textbooks, and laptops.
Facebook users only like things they care about
People only go out and become your fans (or ‘like’) because you have things they care about. Every day, I’m bombarded with hundreds of notifications on my Facebook page about my friends liking things I just don’t give a damn about. I ignore each and every one of them.
Why are you making a Facebook fan page? To raise awareness about your business? Facebook users only ‘like’ things they CARE about. They don’t care about your business if they don’t know it exists, so stop fooling yourself.
Creating constant content
Once you start a Facebook page, it has to be maintained. Fans and friends have to be invited. Content has to be updated. Invitations to stuff have to be ignored (in my case anyway). Managing a business Facebook page is a high-time investment that sees very little ROI.
Eventually, you’ll be so stuck in a rut of updating your promotions and coupons, changing your status, sending out a round of invitations and trying to make people care about your business, you’ll forget what your business was originally about – selling stuff to make people happy. How did you forget? By spending all your time trying to sell stuff to people who don’t know your product exists.
So Why Does Facebook Work for some Businesses
Now, there are a few exceptions to the points I have just laid down. There are a few things that you can promote successfully on Facebook without crashing and burning – or even in a best-case scenario, just wasting a lot of your time.
The most important of those are local or regional experiences. Facebook allows you to promote to users in a certain region or network. This can be especially useful when you have a small business located near a university, since you can specifically target users that attend that university. This is effective if you own a restaurant, bar or similar business model.
If you have one of these establishments, or something similar, you should certainly be promoting on Facebook. The secret to a successful Facebook campaign is to keep updating constantly. Facebook users have been found to have a 5-second attention span.
You need to give them reasons to return to the Facebook profile and check what your company is offering now. Free drinks on Tuesdays? Buy one pizza, get one 50% off? VIP entrance until 12 PM? Facebook is very good for these sort of things because it spreads information quickly to the people that CARE about the things you have to offer.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook for small businesses. What works? What doesn’t? Share in the comments below 🙂