Facebook suicide

By | September 3, 2015

Having a marketing strategy where you have Facebook (Twitter, etc) only presence on the web is awful. If Facebook is not used right, it’s Facebook suicide, here’s why.

A story

There’s a book store in my town owned and run by a nice guy that retired from another business and does this as passion. It’s a business to him, it has to make money but it’s still a passion. He’s got a business page on Facebook with a number of posts. He’s gotten a few 100 or so likes and cannot seem to make a difference to his sales. He asks “I know I should have this, the Facebook page, but the Facebook rules and what I do with it just don’t seem to matter”.

I asked if he had a website or any other presence online. He said no, just the Facebook page.

I explained to him he’s wasting his time ,why and what to do instead.

Now I’ll share that with you.

Let’s examine what a Facebook only strategy for a brick and mortar store is most often like. Brick and mortar describes the real-world businesses that have storefronts and welcome foot traffic. But an insurance agency which may not have foot traffic is brick and mortar too. So is a freelancer working in his basement doing graphic arts. No foot traffic but he has a business in the real-world. Don’t let the term fool you.

On Facebook you’ll see the page banner with the name of the store and maybe a picture of the owners waving at you. You’ll see a dozen or so posts of goings on at the store, a few choice customers, some merchandise and maybe some charitable activity the owner is involved in.

There are a few 100 likes.

Sometimes there are comments to posts.

There’s no website of his own just the Facebook page.

Does this sound familiar?

If it does maybe you can sense or even know reasons why this doesn’t work. Why even if this did drum up some business there are unseen pitfalls that eventually will hurt your business.

The problem here is one of education and understanding. I too never understood if and how social media, say Facebook, can add to your bottom line. With some effort talking to marketers and successful business using these tools I got the understanding I needed. Here’s my understanding and experience distilled for you.

Instead of referring to Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social medias I’m going to write ‘platform’.

What you’re not told

All businesses successful with these platforms do not have the platform as their only online presence. When interviewed for a podcast, a TV news story or something else bringing them to your attention, they will talk about their platform presence. They will talk about their big killing on this or that social platform, how much business they do and the short time it took them to get the visitors and business. What they don’t talk about is their website.

Their strategy is not centered around these platforms at all. Their strategy is to use them as a lead generator for their website. They have a website and they use these platforms as advertising mediums. It’s that simple but it’s not often said. And it’s so important.

No business can afford to rely on social media:
* Each social media platform owns your page(s), pictures, comments, contacts – everything. If you don’t own the material and change to the terms can sink your business model.
* You cannot do everything you want their platform. They have rules and you can only do what they let you do.
* MOST IMPORTANTLY – you cannot sell your presence on that platform. If you sell your business the pages are not yours to sell, they cannot be part of your agreement with your buyer. You may think you can and the buyer may think he can but that platform owns the pages and all the material that goes along with it. If you’ve built a lot a value into that platform, you’ll have screwed yourself.

These reasons are why you need at the core of your online strategy a website. Your website. A website that you can do anything you want on. A property that you own and can sell if you want to.

These points cannot be stressed enough. You need a website as the online equivalent of your real-world presence. You need it to be setup and tended as a selling tool, a different post, but you need one never the less.

Then use a social platform to drive traffic to your website. Test Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, others. Use any one of the various platforms as a lead generation device. As an awareness device. As a reputation building device. The list goes on and on. Social media is a device to support your website.

Does it now seem clear that a Facebook (or other social media platform) only strategy is suicide for your business? I hope so.

Let me know what you think about this? Have any other points adding ammunition to my arguments? Think I’m nuts and can refute it – please do.

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