Many companies are rushing to try and jump into social media because they feel tremendous pressure to prevent being left behind. Most of us have moved past the need to make a business case for social media and into the era of “needing” social media as part of our overall marketing mix.  The statistics on social media adoption are astounding. A recent study found that over 90% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. This is a drastic shift from where we were even just a short 2 years ago. In the same study, more than half of the respondents had less than 1 year of experience in social media.

It’s not surprising then that when faced with building a corporate social media presence, most are turning to Facebook as the answer. Facebook has become the strategy you “won’t get fired for.” I mean how could you? There are over 600 million users on Facebook so there is a good chance that your customers are there just waiting for you to engage them, right? I mean aren’t we all just walking and talking Facebook fans, right? Not necessarily. Here are 6 reasons a company should NOT create a Facebook Fan Page.

Walking Facebook CostumeReason #6 to NOT create a Facebook Fan Page – You don’t know WHY you need a fan page

You don’t want to create a fan page just to have one. If you haven’t defined a clear goal that you are trying to accomplish with your fan page, it is well…really unlikely you’ll reach it. Fan pages without purpose are like grave yards, there are a lot of pretty flowers to look at, but once you get there you realize this isn’t a place for enjoying your morning coffee. Ask yourself what you want your fan page to do for the company; help you retain your existing customers, help you capture new leads, or help you generate awareness for your brand?

Reason #5 to NOT create a Facebook Fan Page – You don’t know HOW you are going to use Facebook to advance the mission

Okay, so you know why you have a Facebook Fan Page, but you don’t have a strategy for how Facebook can be used to actually accomplish your goal. If you are trying to capture new leads, stop and look at Facebook and ask yourself this VERY important question, “If you wanted to buy my services and you were on our fan page, could you?” It’s clear a lot of companies that are on Facebook haven’t thought about this question. If a fan wants to buy, you want to make it SUPER easy for them.

Reason #4 to NOT create a Facebook Fan Page – You don’t know WHO you are reaching on Facebook

It isn’t effective to create a fan page and sit and wait for just anyone to show up and like your page. It is important that you know exactly who your target audience is and how you can attract them to your page. Your page needs to be relevant and interesting to your audience. If you think people will like your page because they “like” your brand, you will be sorely disappointed. Once you understand who your audience is you have to show a compelling reason for someone to want to engage with your brand. Ask yourself if your one-size fits all approach typically will actually end up being one-size fits “none”.

Reason #3 NOT to create a Facebook Fan Page – You don’t know WHAT value you will provide to your fans

Once you know who you are targeting you need to figure out what you will do to keep them engaged. A few clever status updates won’t cut it, if you want to inspire your audience to take action. Ask yourself, “if a fan likes our page, what’s in it for them?” Why would someone want to be a fan of your page? Facebook moves quickly and the best way to stay at the top of someone’s news feed is to have content that results in “likes” and comments. If your content doesn’t provide value…it won’t inspire people to click on the fancy hand with a protruding thumb.

Reason #2 NOT to create a Facebook Fan Page – You don’t know WHEN you audience is on Facebook

Managing a Facebook presence takes time and resources; therefore you want to help create efficiency so you or your team members can get their other jobs done too. The best way to do that is to maximize every post by understanding when your audience is engaging on Facebook and scheduling posts to hit during times that have shown they elicit high times of engagement. Dan Zarrella and the folks over at Kissmetrics did a study of the best times to post on Facebook called the Science of Social Timing. They determined that you should post on Saturdays at noon and that you should post no more than every other day. While this may be true for the average user, we know that your users are anything but average and that may or may not be a good time for them. Ask yourself “when is my audience most likely to use Facebook” and you’ll have some great times to test.

Reason #1 to NOT create a Facebook Fan Page – You don’t know WHERE your audience is

Have you stopped to ask yourself whether or not your audience is actually on Facebook? Okay with 500 million users, you are guessing they probably are. All right then, did you ask if they would even want to engage with you on Facebook? While Facebook has amassed a large pool of users, we are fools if we think that people are jumping onto Facebook just to engage with our brands. People are going to Facebook to keep in touch with their friends, their families and possibly even their co-workers. There are some audiences who spend a lot of time on Facebook engaging with brands, but they certainly aren’t the majority. So before you jump in and say you need to be on Facebook, as yourself, “is my audience on Facebook? And then, can I create a “natural” relationship with them there?” If you think there is a chance it will feel a little stalkerish for your audience…put down the keyboard.

You’ll notice a common theme here. This isn’t about YOUR BRAND, it’s about THEM. Therefore, it is critical that you understand your audience and their behaviors before you jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Creating a fan page comes with a responsibility to your fans and to your company. Don’t sell yourself or your fans short by jumping in blind folded.

Do you have other reasons that should be on this list? Do you have tips for brands that are trying to decide whether or not Facebook is a good fit for them? Please join the conversation and leave a comment.

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About Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/smittylinc JCS

    See OnSales facebook page if specific examples are needed.

    http://www.facebook.com/onSale?sk=wall

  • Anonymous

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  • http://twitter.com/1MarchHare marie leverett

    Thanks, really interesting article. It’s true that strategy, audience and purpose should be given more thought.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Marie – Thank you so much for commenting. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

  • http://twitter.com/ImageFreedom Image Freedom

    I have to question how many of the people who say that Social Media is important to their business are saying that because they actually have gained value from it, or because they think that’s the answer they should give and even in an anonymous survey, they’re too ashamed to admit that they see a naked emperor where everyone else is praising his fancy new digs.

    Social Media is great, but yea, it’s not the massiah marketing tactic.  It’s not even a tactic.  It’s a channel, and it’s what you do with the channel that matters.  Having a billboard isn’t worth a whole lot without a great graphic, a great message and a product worth bragging about.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      I totally agree! I say over and over again…social media is not a strategy. I love the analogy with the billboard. I may have to borrow that one! :-) Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    Thanks Nicole. I am B2B and am struggling with Facebook. There is so much more traction in Twitter and my blog, but I am there–guilty of reason #6. I am watching it and will be willing to shut it down if it doesn’t create the inbound traffic I’m looking for.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Chris – Thanks so much for comment. I think we are all faced with the challenge of finding time to manage multiple channels. Many times we manage this by posting the same content on both Facebook and Twitter, which can lead to saturation for those who follow both channels. I hear you…it is really tough to be deeply engaged in both and do it well. Good luck!

  • http://womeninbusinessradio.com Michele Price

    Nichole I love it, this conversation happens across the country in meetings when clients ask us to  “get them on facebook”.

    You are so on point that we do not have to “sell them” about the need to be active in social media, now it is a new set of conversation points.  SO, we are moving in the right direction.  I love it, getting into the why you should be there is the juicy part for my brain.

    What are you seeing as the biggest mistakes once brands are there?  I am seeing they do not understand how to make it fun and how to create fun conversations.  Too many times businesses want to just use it as a discount depository, then wonder why no one comes back.  Businesses are still thinking about the “sell” which makes folks grab their coupon and run.  That is a whole other blog post.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Michele – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and I’m thrilled that you commented. These are the types of comments that really get my brain working. I think the largest challenge brands face is the natural tendency to “promote” and go into advertising mode on their Facebook channel. It is really hard to “plan” engaging content and much easier to “plan” advertising and promotional content. So a lot of times I’ll see a brand start off really strong and then their channel diverts to what marketers know best…promotion. Very similar to what you mention here. I’d love to chat more! :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/CCCreationsUSA C.C. Creations

    Hey Nichole,

    Thank you for this article. It is very insightful.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      No problem! Thank you for dropping by. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/munnerlynpeter Peter Munnerlyn

    Thanks for this insightful article. I hope marketers read this and really, really contemplate on whether or not their company should get a Facebook Page. I would add that Facebook isn’t the right place for many companies because Facebook makes it so hard for companies to engage with their fans…  Edgerank is the reason why over 90% of people who Like a Page never go back to that Page, even if that Page is doing everything “right.”  I am the social media coordinator for a small business and I fight this behemoth of limited interaction on a daily basis.  It is so frustrating because I want to socialize with a lot of people on Facebook but I can’t do that as a Page…  What are your thoughts on Edgerank?

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Peter – You are welcome! Here is what I will say…the best way to have a higher percentage of fans who come back is to have “engaging” content on your page. Every like and comment on your last post brings it to the top of the stream and provides another opportunity to engage your fans. This means the most “creative” pages are more likely to have the highest level of interaction. I hope this helps! Nichole

  • bluenational

    Very true indeed.I just put a client on everything but Facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Magruder/708965031 Steve Magruder

    I think that in the long run a company is better off creating their own customer engagement “apparatus” on their own website, and just use a Facebook page as a lure.  Heck, it’s a free advertising spot, if nothing else.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Magruder/708965031 Steve Magruder

      I hate to use a cigarette company as an example, but I will because I go there to get coupons for a friend.  Marlboro.com.  Just check it out.  They can’t do that stuff on Facebook.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Steve – Thanks for commenting. Facebook can be an amazing engagement tool, but it is also important to have a strategy for how you can connect with those fans in other channels such as email, in case something comes along and blows Facebook out of the water. Great point!

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  • http://www.timothygioconda.com TJ

    My humble view is that the major issue with most companies when extending their network is that they have yet to create a content funnel.  If you are not creating content to direct your clients to solid call-to-actions or a further controlled advocacy platform (i.e. newsletter or mobile opt-in) your are over extending and misusing resources. External networks are your voice but consistant useful and/or entertaining content is the heart of it all.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      TJ – Great point for those who want to use social media as a vehicle to drive leads through the sales funnel. And I am a strong proponent for how social media can always lead to revenue, but for some they are trying to generate brand awareness or keep their customers, therefore their content strategy is less about the funnel and more about creating value with a different purpose. However, in any case driving to a call to action is important. I hope creating answers to the points above will make it clear what that call to action should be. Awesome comment. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    Many social media experts have been writing on creating a FB Fanpage and this post I feel  that every one should read and understand why they really want to have a Fanpage and what are they going to do for their fans.

    Online Business
    Virtual Assistant

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davevandewalle Dave Van de Walle

    I’m a big fan of Objective-Oriented Marketing – so this is right in my wheelhouse. There’s got to be a reason for doing it, or don’t do it.

    Nice post.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Dave – It sounds like we’d get along just fine! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for taking the time to comment. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hi Nichole. I really appreciate what you’ve said here and although I certainly agree with you to an extent when it comes to applying these principles to large biz and corporations, as a whole I think this article says this to most small business owners:

    ‘If you haven’t completely figured out FB, then don’t try it’

    As a parallel example, when I started blogging I did not understand:

    1. exactly why I needed a blog
    2. how exactly I’d use the blog to grow my company/brand
    3. who I’d be reaching
    4. what value I’d bring
    5. where my audience was

    This being said, I did have a desire to teach people, and as I wrote and wrote, over time each one of these questions became clear to me.

    Today, I have the same approach with facebook for business. I’m learning it. I’m figuring it out. Simply put, I’m doing my best.

    The idea of ‘it must be perfect or else’ is one that destroys a social media presence for thousands and thousands of businesses around the world. Why not have the approach: Just try it…do your best…and watch the magic happen.

    Just my thoughts Nichole. Again, I do feel this was well written, but I’d rather people and companies give social media a go before they give up due to this idea of ‘the perfect vision.

    Marcus

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Marcus – Thank you so much for your feedback. I don’t think small businesses have to know all the answers, but I do think they need to have a clear idea of “why” they want to be on Facebook. The primary reason I recommend this is because it requires resources and as a small business owner, resources are very scarce and it can be very difficult to prioritize when faced with so many opportunities. If there isn’t a clear reason to be in Facebook how can you prioritize your time spent managing the channel against your other priorities. It wouldn’t make sense for a small business owner to prioritize Facebook over a client meeting, right? It is easier to make that distinction on less obvious things that come up if you know why you are there. And, it’s okay if your strategy is “to learn about Facebook and how it could be used as a marketing channel.” That still gives you parameters for your time spent and how to prioritize. 

      Great points! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  • Ali Serkan Karaman

    Thank you very much Nichole for this bery instructive article. This is a very good article for those (companies) very far away of understanding, why social media is really functional and why you should not creat a fun page just  in order to prove that you have a fun page displaying your name on Facebook!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Ali – Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. 

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    The title of the post is not making sense I guess. It could’ve been “Do not create a page when you Dont Know 5W’s & H”

  • Ramcharan

    nichole kelly: Its acceptable.. But fb is a free and faster way to publicize.. Please suggest an alternative.. 

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Ramcharan – I’d be happy to provide input. Can you clarify your question? What are you looking for an alternative for? While Facebook is “free” if you are thinking of it as a channel to “publicize” it is probably not a good place for you to start.

  • Marilyn

    Just created a business FB page and a fan page at suggestion of a coach and was unclear why do I have both of these plus a blog.    Do I need both a between business FB page and a website?  Which one should be where my BLOG is posted?   Thanks.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Good questions, Marilyn. Common best practices are that your blog should be on your own website or servers. While it’s not necessarily bad to have it on wordpress.com, blogger.com or some other hosted service, you want to attract the traffic and the search engine rankings to your own domain and website if you can.

      Facebook is more of an engagement platform. Sure, you can post links to your blog posts there and invite your Facebook friends to read your content, but it’s more of a place to engage folks, ask questions, encourage sharing of links, photos, etc.

      One thing that confused me was that you seemed to indicate the coach told you to set up a business page AND and fan page as if they are two separate things. If you’ve set up two Facebook presences for your business, you may have gotten some bad advice. You only really need one Facebook “Page” which is for a business. It’s also known as a brand page or a fan page.

      You should not set up a Facebook profile (personal account) as a Business. This is against Facebook’s Terms of Service. But there is an easy way to make that switch. Let me know if you have further questions. We answer ones like theses all the time at ExploringSocialMedia.com. At $25 per month, I’m guessing we’re cheaper than your coach. ;-)

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Marilyn – I agree with Jason’s sentiments below. Consider your blog like your “home”, it is something you own. Facebook is like a happy hour. When you go to happy hour and meet someone you really hit it off with you exchange contact information. Then later you call and invite them to your home for dinner. In you home they can see how you decorate, possibly meet your family and learn more about who “you” are. By having a blog you have a place that you control to share more about who you are, that wouldn’t be appropriate on Facebook. Plus, if Facebook ever ceases to exist, you have attracted the audience over to your blog and hopefully collected their email addresses at some point so you can continue to communicate with them. You can also consider the types of content you post on Facebook and whether or not you would walk into a party and be willing to say your post the first time you meet someone. If not, you may turn off your Facebook fans too. I hope this helps. 

  • http://www.brandstrategy.co.za Michael Said

    Good advice here Nichole, I think many people do not understand how a fan page works on FB and this post will put things into perspective for them. 

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Thanks Michael. I appreciate you stopping by.

  • Emily

    Nichole, I love this post. Many businesses are joining up with Facebook thinking that the whole point is to “have a presence since everyone else is doing it.” In fact, the TRUE point of Facebook and all social media is to GET INVOLVED! Make comments, respond to feedback, provide valuable information and regularly update to further your sites. This will only show your clients and prospects that you are a subject matter expert. The more you help and interact with your target audience, the more naturally a sale will come. This is proven with the Uncertainty Reduction Theory: http://www.grmwebsite.com/blog/ 

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Emily – Thank you so much for commenting! I agree 100%, it is about engaging with the audience. Too many fan pages have become outlets for corporate press releases rather than a place to gather feedback and provide value.

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  • http://www.chicagotitlearizona.com Bill Risser

    Great post Nichole.  I help real estate agents and lenders with the proper use of social media tools, and I sometimes feel I am the only one asking them to stop and question all the experts and gurus that insist they create a page (usually the guru or expert will build it for a fee).  Does the home buyer look for houses on Facebook?  Will a page full of listings generate engagement? 

    Since 94% of those that like a page never return to the page, will their content ever make it to the liker’s NewsFeed?  I highly doubt it.  I have not found one real estate or mortgage page in the PHX area that can generate any EdgeRank… 

    With time and money being such scarce resources, why not dedicate more time to actual engagement and relationship building?  There really is no one size fits all solution when it comes to FB marketing…

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Bill – Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I think the big challenge is that companies aren’t thinking about the “value” they can provide, instead they are thinking about the product they sell. With some creativity a real estate agent could provide valuable advice for those looking for a new home that could generate engagement. Why not post information like a blog post on how to understand your listing agreement and things to look out for like an exclusive listing agreement, or tips on packing up your home, preparing it for showings etcetera. These are things that people will find valuable in their search for a new home even if they don’t hire your real estate firm. 

      By adding value and not expecting the sale it is easier to build a relationship which in turn is more likely to lead to a sale if there is an opportunity.

      Great insight Bill! 

    • ChrisR

      Bill, you said

  • Coconut

    My best reason for no Facebook Fan page is I don’t have photos of grandchildren to talk about, I don’t care to know all that much about what you did today, and the people I knew from high school are all a bunch of old geezers. Geez, I’d rather go to the beach or read a book!
    Social net-workers need to find some stimulating activities in the ‘real world’ – :)

  • Coconut

    My best reason for no Facebook Fan page is I don’t have photos of grandchildren to talk about, I don’t care to know all that much about what you did today, and the people I knew from high school are all a bunch of old geezers. Geez, I’d rather go to the beach or read a book!
    Social net-workers need to find some stimulating activities in the ‘real world’ – :)

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  • http://twitter.com/LoganKKelly Logan Kelly

    Basically all these reasons come down to a lack of research. Research some statistics and more often than not you will find there is benefit to creating a facebook fanpage.

  • http://twitter.com/LoganKKelly Logan Kelly

    Basically all these reasons come down to a lack of research. Research some statistics and more often than not you will find there is benefit to creating a facebook fanpage.

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  • Sweetgirl-101

    you make a  fan page on tumblr

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  • Purplestray

    you don’t know how to spell

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  • кяιgнтσи

    When I turned 28 and became older than all of you, I deleted my Facebook page. 10 years later….I’m still OK.

    P.S. Martha just dyed her hamster blue with her new BFF. like omg!?

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