Facebook Is a Revolutionary Business Tool, but It Isn’t Magical Marketing Pixie Dust
With 9 billion users, Facebook is far and away the most used social network on the planet. If Facebook were a country, it would contain the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook has its own customs and norms, and you should understand them so that you can fully leverage the site’s potential as a marketing tool. Whenever I see businesses fail on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t bother to find out the local customs.
You’re a guest in Facebookistan. Behave yourself!
What makes Facebook different from other social networks? It’s the fact that users have strong ties with each other. They are connected to their friends, their family members, their in-laws and their long-lost friends from grade school. They share intimate areas of their lives. Stuff like:
- Birthday celebrations
- High school graduation footage
- Baby photos
- Wedding announcements
What does this mean for businesses (like yours) using Facebook as a marketing platform? It’s means you’ll need to be low-key and conscientious in your technique. You can’t use the old kinds of top-down, bullhorn-style marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to listen to your sales pitch. They’re there to connect with friends and family. Respect that, and you’ll be respected and welcomed.
Don’t be that annoying tourist
If you try to port the old style of marketing into Facebook, you will be disappointed. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokesperson. “But Facebook is all about authenticity, if your company is not being authentic or engaging with users in a fashion that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”
If you’re doing it right, it’s hard
Don’t be fooled by social media “gurus” who make outrageous promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about creating relationships and influence—and this takes time. Many organizations believe that when they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. Marketing on Facebook is an incredibly effective way to reach local customers (we wouldn’t be talking about it if it weren’t). But here’s the rub: it’s also challenging (and rewarding) if you’re doing it correctly. The payback is well worth the investment in time and attention. Based upon a study from Social Media Examiner, nearly two-thirds of small businesses involved in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing success, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of participation.