At E-Commerce Workroom, we are passionate about technology and connecting with as many people as possible, and therefore the fact thatE-Commerce Workroom does not have a Facebook page is often greeted with incredulity and surprise. But why? This is because all social media, like all business initiatives must be assessed to have a worthwhile return on investment and quite frankly the increasing ambiguity and frustration of dealing with Facebook as a platform hasn’t yet led to us conclude that there would be a return on the time invested in creating and managing a business page on Facebook.
We recommend a “less is more” approach to social media to ensure platforms are properly managed in order to deliver results, and simply putting up a Facebook page without consistently managing it risks damaging the brand.
Social Media Platforms We Are On-
We are passionate about Twitter as an open forum and our Twitter account has around 3000 followers, actively engages with a number of local new contacts and brings in business. We find it an easy and natural extension to publicise what we do. We’re in a minority of people who are fans of Google+ and what that can bring. We set up the Kent Business Community and urge you to join that and create and host events via that community. It has grown to have unlimited potential over the last year and is a powerful tool in the armor of search engine optimisers. Linkedin is brilliant for showing your credibility as each company is but the sum of its parts.
But Facebook, we are wary of for two main reasons. Firstly, many people state that “if Facebook was a country, it would be the third biggest in the world” but this statistic is disingenuous as numbers are not the most important thing. Facebook is a closed network, and therefore is more difficult than other networks to make new connections. A business page on Facebook could end up doing nothing more than, at best, preaching to the converted, but at it’s worst, it could risk damaging relationships with current customers by encroaching into their private space to push products and services that they previously regarded highly.
The second issue and largest misgiving that we have about Facebook is the agenda and complexity behind how it works. People have completely misunderstood what it means to have a business page on Facebook and confused it with the Linkedin and Twitter model, whereby your posts will reach all of those who are online at the time you post them but this is not the case with Facebook. Your business page on Facebook posts will only ever be allowed to reach a small proportion of those who “like” your page. It does not have the simplicity of the other platforms whereby if you are there, you will see the posts/Tweets of those you are following. Facebook messages are under the control of the corporate leviathon with it’s mysterious algorithm and will be shown to who they want them to be.
The General Business Page on Facebook Trend
The general trend that people have noticed with posts from their business page on Facebook is that the whimsical musings will be seen by many more people than promotions with links to blogs/articles and websites (see this research for an example ). The ambiguity of the runnings of Facebook has made me consistently suspicious and I understand the frustrations of those who have invested their time and effort into their business page on Facebook only to find themselves muted by Facebook themselves. It seems a logical business step that those at Facebook would penalise comments with outbound links in an attempt to monetize what could be profitable, as they made it clear over a year ago with the release of Social Graph that their goal and future direction was to keep people on the Facebook platform. A link means they are losing that visitor (which now means money) to another website.
As a personal Facebook user, when I log in, I see hardly any updates from pages I have “liked” but a high number of adverts from things that I haven’t had any contact with but who “friends” have liked. This is because the companies have chosen to advertise on Facebook and therefore Facebook is pushing their posts into my feed and their advertising section and a clear indication that my preferences as a user are relegated below their corporate responsibility to make profit.
But, don’t misunderstand…
Facebook advertising is and should be a vital advertising component for many companies. I‘ve seen a number of reports showing a better ROI for advertising with a business page on Facebook than Google PPC. Obviously the click through rate is much lower than Google as people don’t go there pro-actively looking for goods and services, but presenting a company as endorsed by someones friends is a compelling marketing angle and can be a great way to grow your company. This means a clever well thought out campaign as a result of researching and concluding that Facebook is your target market will be worthwhile. Code99 certainly aren’t indefinitely ruling out a business page on Facebook, but we do know that just putting up a Facebook page and hoping for the best is likely to do more harm than good.