Is Facebook for Business Overrated

by Eric Brown |

This may not be a popular position, or even a right one, but our experience with our own business, and the businesses we do social media marketing for, Facebook for business is completely overrated. Marketers are flocking toward Facebook in droves, partaking in an array of circus acts to garnish “Fans” and “Likes”, mostly with lackluster results at best, yet the Facebook madness drones on.

Facebook Is the New Web site

Small Business Labs reported on some interesting data from the Network Solutions State of Small Business report on the impact of social media on traditional websites;

When asked how social media usage is impacting their spending plans on their traditional websites, 62% of small businesses said that social media didn’t change their spending plans for the coming year.  27% said they are planning on increasing their spend due to social media.

But 9% plan on eliminating (4%) or spending less (5%) on their traditional website due to social media.  While 9% sounds low, last June only 2% reported plans to spend less or eliminate their traditional website due to social media.

In the forecasting world, we call a 6 month shift of this magnitude a signal.

Last year we wondered if social media in general and Facebook in particular could replace traditional websites.  The general consensus of the feedback we got was a solid no.

But despite the feedback, many small businesses are using Facebook for their firm’s primary website. We’re also seeing a growing number of new small businesses choosing Facebook over a traditional website for their web presence.

Facebook Isn’t Results Oriented Marketing

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

As a business owner I favor results over hype, which means; Are we selling more stuff based on our marketing effort? If we aren’t selling more stuff, we typically make changes and tweaks until we see sustainable improvement. As is the case with most small business, our marketing budget is constrained, so we need to employ things that work. Things that work in business are much more simple to determine than folks want to admit. Return on investment does not need to be complicated. So, if you were advertising in a certain magazine, with no measurable leads or sales, wouldn’t you change something up, like deploy your marketing resources elsewhere? Of course you would, except when it comes to Facebook, most of us continue to drudge on, trying new things to engage prospects.

Why Do We Keep Doing It

Why do we, and a zillion other businesses continue to deploy marketing dollars toward Facebook, all in the name of growing a fan base? At what point do we stop because we haven’t gotten any sales from the effort put forth. That is not to say we don’t strike up a conversation or two on our Facebook wall from time to time, and we are not downplaying the value of conversation and engagement, however, does that value outweigh the cost? We successfully utilize a multitude of tools and platforms in our digital arsenal to drive leads, and Facebook is by far and away the lowest leveraged of anything we do.

Clients Love Affair With Facebook

We can tell our client that their blog is the cornerstone of their social media strategy, but they aren’t hearing that. Clients are Facebook brainwashed and demand to be part of the Facebook dance party, therefore agencies are forced to try things that aren’t working. The sad thing about performing a service that doesn’t work is that folks start making stuff up, which will likely increase as time wears on.

Is your Facebook strategy working, and if by what measure? More fans or more engagement or more likes or more sales? I doubt most folks are hitting any of the those regularly, and hardly anyone is selling more stuff from their Facebook participation. So why are you doing it, because your paying client is demanding it?

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About the Author

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.