There has been a recent surge of businesses being advised that Facebook is the only marketing strategy your business needs. I have had conversations with quite a few businesses that have been told that a company can increase its sales by using just Facebook for its marketing. Needless to say, I was shocked.
I recently spoke on this topic at a seminar and feel the urge drive the point home again. Your business must have a combination of both social and traditional media–and it must be strategic. There are more than a few things that Facebook simply can’t give you.
Facebook is not built to give your company a constant branding message. The only way to accomplish this on Facebook is to post multiple times a day–with exact the same message. But you risk becoming “spamtastic” and will probably soon be blocked. Having a bunch of fans that block you is not the object of Facebook. You want fans that are listening and engaged. The constant branding message of your tagline or phone number is a social media no-no.
Facebook fans don’t just flock to your page. I have said this before: You can’t just build it and they will come. You may build a great page with all the right elements, but how do you get people to become fans? There are many ways, but one of the most unprofessional is for the person who is managing your page to spam all of your and their friends into liking your page. You have to use a form of traditional media or interaction with customers to gain those fans. Yes, you and your Facebook manager can ask current friends. But those may be people that like the person managing your page; not necessarily your business. By using traditional media you can drive traffic to your page, but you have to use that portion of your media buy for that sole purpose, not for sales or promotions.
I am a huge advocate of social media and it is extremely effective. In my opinion, there are some very confused small businesses out there that think Facebook is the best, and only, solution for their marketing needs. Sometimes it is a part of the solution, but it is not the only answer. While I understand that businesses are trying to save money (and Facebook is perceived to be cheap, although studies show it can be very expensive in terms of employee time lost) in every way possible, and that marketing is many times the first thing to go. But this is the exact opposite of what your business should do.
Before you say, “Well Erika is in marketing, of course she’d say that,” let me explain. Businesses have been lead to believe that the “free” Facebook is the magic answer to the ever pressing question: Should I invest in marketing? By the way, the answer to that question is always YES!!!
Yes, your business should invest in marketing and yes, your business should invest in Facebook. What I mean by that is you should invest by asking for help, don’t try to do it all yourself. That will only add to the problem of thinking Facebook is the “be all, end all” in marketing
If your business is struggling with what’s the best thing for its marketing, ask someone for help who has a proven track record in marketing. Here are a few things to ask or look for when selecting someone to help you with your Facebook marketing strategy.
Ask them what their strategy is, after they build you a great Facebook page, for gaining fans and keeping them? Look for them to tell you new ways to ask for fans using current customer experiences and traditional media. Ask for some reporting to prove that they can gain and grow fans and ask further how they accomplished the growth. Their answer should contain a correlation between social and traditional media. The social game is constantly changing and evolving, so it is imperative to align yourself with people who change and evolve with it. Always be looking for new ways to gain fans who want to join the online conversation about your business.
While Facebook is extremely effective, it is not to be used as your only source of advertising. That simply is not a long-term, successful strategy. Long-term success comes with investing in a hybrid-strategy marketing message that fits today’s marketplace–both online and off.