October 31, 2014

4 Reasons Your Brand Should Avoid Facebook

Last week on SmallBizTrends we discussed some of the new changes being made to Facebook brand pages designed to increase communication between brands and users. As a SMB owner myself, I was really pleased with the announced upgrades. I felt they addressed many of the long-standing frustrations I had and it was nice to see Facebook tackle so many of them at once. Now that Facebook has upgraded its platform for brands, that means you should absolutely head over there and create a page for your small business, right?

Well, not exactly.

Just because Facebook has made important upgrades to its platform, doesn’t mean it’s a place you need to be. Below are a few reasons you shouldn’t create a presence on Facebook. Feel free to replace Facebook with “Twitter”, “blogging” or “that other social media site” as you see fit. Because, really, the same rules apply.

You don’t have the resources to invest there

You’ve heard it a million times – the only thing worse than having no presence on a social media site is having a BAD one. And it’s the truth. Creating a Facebook brand page means making the choice to invest valuable time and resources into Facebook instead of putting them somewhere else. To create a strong Facebook presence you’ll need a person (or a group of people) that can create content, start conversations, respond to interactions, moderate activity and more. If you don’t have the time to participate in Facebook or you’re not interested in devoting the time to it, then don’t create the initial page. Because once it’s there, you have to manage it. Otherwise it collects dust and shows users that you’re really not paying attention.

Your audience isn’t there

It would not be wise to assume that your audience is on Facebook simply because marketers love talking about it. As a small business owner, it’s a waste of your time and money to invest in a site that’s not going to convert for you or that won’t help you to build awareness. You want to make smart choices when picking the right social network for your brand. To help you do that, it’s worth spending some time looking at your analytics, your referrer logs and even asking your customers which social networks they use before you simply hop on and create a presence. Otherwise you may be buying a dress for the wrong party.

Facebook doesn’t align with your business goals

Not every small business will benefit from creating a social media presence. If you’re the type of business that has to run everything through legal or corporate or PR before you publish it, then social media may become a bottleneck that your business could do without. Or perhaps you don’t want to interact with your customers. If that’s the case, then there might be a better way for you to get your message out then forcing someone in your company to be social. If social media doesn’t align with your business goals, then don’t feel pressured to set up shop.

You can’t keep up with it

It’s not just the daily interactions and updating that can take time away from a small business owner, you also have to factor in the time involved staying up-to-date with Facebook’s constant changes and updates. Creating a presence on Facebook means you have to be aware when Facebook removes a feature, only to put it back a few days later. You have to know what the best practices are today, compared to what they were a year ago. Because things change fast in social media. If you’re not watching, you may miss something and accidentally get your brand in trouble or miss out on a prime opportunity.

Obviously the rules above don’t apply to just Facebook. Before you invest in any social media or marketing channel for your business, you want to establish a clear reason for what you’re doing and an understanding of how you’ll use that site/platform to reach your goals. Don’t assume you need a Facebook page just because everyone is talking about it. Do your homework and have a purpose for being there.

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Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

25 Reactions

  1. Finally, someone has said what I have been thinking for sometime now. Some very good points made here and with actual reasons that make sense. Thanks,

  2. Lisa,

    Great advice! It sounds that your tips are well aligned with the P.O.S.T (people, objectives, strategy, technology) plan described in the Groundswell book.

  3. With limited resources you have to prioritize. Learning to say “No” to a good thing (like social media) in favor of a better thing or the best things is difficult, but will help you move forward more quickly. These are a great set of guidelines for evaluating how high up the priority list social media is for your business.

  4. Some good points here – but overall it has to be better to be engaged than not, doesn’t it?

    It doesn’t have to take hours and hours, and choosing not to have a presence on Facebook won’t prevent the conversation happening. If you’re not engaging with your clients there is a good chance that conversation won’t be 100% positive.

    People’s online work and personal lives are blurring – and there is value in creating a position on Facebook that reflects the fact that whilst your clients may not have access at work, they may well be active outside of work. And if you can get people to engage with you outside of work, that says a lot about how much they value their relationship with your brand.

    Certainly don’t overreach yourself though – don’t set off at a pace you can’t maintain.

  5. I love these reasons to not be on Facebook, especially # two: “Your audience isn’t there.” Our time is better serviced at discovering where they are and engaging in that place. Thanks Lisa.

  6. I think I may have to agree with you on your point here – your audience isn’t there. There are definitely brands that reap rewards via Facebook and there are those that can do better on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, etc. IMHO, Facebook is more personal which makes it great for networking with friends– and peer recommendations.

  7. It seems to me that the FB pages become more like playgrounds rather than a place to identify your best clients. Identify your best clients and you might find some of your best promoters of your business. If you can interact with the Promoters they can become Advocates for your business and that can lead to referrals. A business built on referrals is a formidable model. The bigger question is how to do this online…

  8. Lisa,

    Thanks for your contrarian view.

    You’re right; having a huge presence on Facebook is not right for every type of small business. It takes a real strategy. it also takes patience.

    Building a community on any platform takes a while.

    The Franchise King®

  9. I used to agree with Lisa re Facebook and advise most B2B folk to avoid it but I have recently had to change my mind – here’s why:
    The battle between Google and Microsoft for search engine dominance that resulted in the unholy alliance of Bing, Yahoo and Facebook, the placing of Facebook ‘like’ buttons on over 2 million sites and the ‘personalised search’means that your website is more likley to be found through Facebook connections than Google searches.
    Even a simple Facebook page is better than nothing and its easy to keep updated if you use an app like Hootsuite that lets you update several SM accounts at once.

  10. Thanks Lisa,

    It is great to consider social media with perspective. I thin Ann has some good points too.

    Facebook is not going to be right for every business.

    For small businesses the time it takes to truly engage, beyond the superficial, is a factor.

    “If you’re not watching, you may miss something and accidentally get your brand in trouble or miss out on a prime opportunity.”

    I was thinking that any missed opportunity from not ‘keeping up’ is an opportunity that you would totally miss if you are not on Facebook. Also, you would never realise that you missed it either.

    Thought provoking article, thanks

  11. Thank you for a great post!

    Small business owners ask me all the time if they should be on Facebook (or Twitter, or any of the other social media sites). It’s that “marketing idea of the week” syndrom; everyone else is doing it so everyone thinks they should be doing it. I agree, it’s not right for everyone -and like any marketing tool, it needs to be researched and really thought out before blindly jumping in.

    Thanks again – great post!

    Carolyn Higgins
    Fortune Marketing Company

  12. The answer to “should I be on Facebook or Twitter?” is an emphatic “Not if you are only going to market your business in the same old way”
    The whole point about social media is that the customer is in charge of the conversation and they won’t stand for the traditional interruption marketing techniques. At the first sign of a sales pitch they’ll just unfollow, block or disconnect.
    Unless a company is prepared to listen and engage in a meaningful way they’ll get no more response than from direct mail or email marketing.

  13. Alex Ovtchaenko

    Very correct notes. Many SMBs tend to use mordern trands instead of searching more local and more effecient ways. Also, I see a great disadvantage of “being social” in SMB and startup segment because you simply don’t have strong brand and possibilities to fully define and control it, so there are great risks to make mistakes and destroy any potential for business value growth at early stages.

  14. Great graphic, summed it up nicely. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Very good post..”is my audience there”? A small percent…very thought provoking…My most value out of face book is the networking with other Licensed Instructors from all around the world, with a lot of whom I may never meet face to face, to get ideas, encourage one another and even vent a little, (in our closed groups). But even so I spend very little time there..through out the day.

  16. Ah there’s no reason not to go on Facebook, time maybe?

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