When it comes to social media, there's Facebook and there's everybody else. With an estimated one billion users, one-seventh of the planet's population is on Facebook.
Businesses have long known that social media is the front line of a smart marketing campaign. Unprecedented access to astounding numbers of potential customers, the ability to connect in real time, and options to target specific audiences while integrating with a larger ad campaign makes social media the most valuable invention in recent marketing history.
If social media is good business, and Facebook is the king of the social media hill, Facebook must be factored into your business's strategy, right? Well, maybe. There is an unsettled debate raging about the place that Facebook should have in a modern business marketing strategy. Which side are you on?
Facebook is the largest social media network in the world with more than 1 billion users.
Facebook is everywhere, and everyone is on it. Business marketing is about getting your message out to people. When you combine these two truths, it's tough to make an argument against incorporating Facebook into your plan.
Not only are one out of seven human beings on Facebook - they're on it a lot. A recent study
shows that smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 44 check Facebook an average of 14 times a day. A wide majority - at least 62 percent - check Facebook in bed as soon as they wake up.
It's Easy to Integrate
Making a page for your business, marketing it, promoting it, and creating ads is one of the easiest ways to reach tons of people even for tech novices. Facebook has a page
that holds your hand through the processes of building a page and creating ads. Facebook is also super easy to integrate
with your business's website, as well as cross-promoting with other social media.
It's easy to create a business page on Facebook and integrate it with your website.
Unlike Twitter - which is a powerful, but less personal, tool that only allows short blurbs of information - Facebook allows your business to use compelling content such as photos, videos, links, and text to paint an overall portrait of your business on one single page. Your message can be tailored to allow the personality behind your business shine through - to introduce yourself and your staff, your product or service and tell the unique story of your business.
The Blurring of Personal and Professional
Twenty years ago, the only way the people at your work knew what your kids looked like was if they sat close enough to see your picture of them that you kept in your cubicle. Today, the lines between the private and professional has all but disappeared. Your friends know your work gripes and your co-workers know when your sister has the flu.
Social media has demolished the line between work and play and, generally, that is not good for business. Protecting your online reputation is directly related to compartmentalizing your online life, and building a wall between personal and business social media is imperative.
Is LinkedIn Redundant?
A comedian in Los Angeles recently referred to LinkedIn as "Facebook - only boring and with resumes." Not quite an accurate description, but he makes the point that the working world does have a social network of their own, just for, well, work.
The author of this article
makes the point that the consequences of accidentally having your personal Facebook profile overlap with your business page or your LinkedIn
profile may not be worth the marketing gains you achieve from having a business presence on Facebook.
However, keep in mind that many professionals see the benefits of LinkedIn and similar sites—you see profiles for Warren Buffett on LinkedIn and for Timothy Broas on viadeo.
The Dangers of Tomorrow
At its peak in 2007, Myspace was worth an estimated $12 billion. Flooded with young people — as well as bands, comedians, dancers, and entrepreneurs — who, for the first time, had their entire identities established online, Myspace screamed permanence. The prevailing theory was that, with Myspace as a centralized hub, personal and business webpages would disappear and the clutter of the Internet would be contained.
Following a brutal, years-long decline, Myspace reinvented itself, but not before deleting the content, including every photo, uploaded by their millions of old, loyal followers.
Right now, it feels like Facebook is forever. We thought that with Myspace — and AOL and Netscape Navigator and a million others. Putting all of your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, but expecting permanence in the fleeting nature of the Age of Information is suicide. Don’t assume a tornado can’t destroy the marketing structure you’ve built on Facebook — or anywhere else.
Like virtually all social media sites of its era, Facebook was made by and for young people. That has all changed — dramatically. Like anything else, once mom and dad are involved, it’s no longer cool. Facebook freely admits to losing huge blocks of its once-core demographic: the young.
A recent article
points out a bizarre irony about Facebook. In the not-too-distant past, parents were nervous that their teens would join Facebook. Now, they’re nervous that they’ll delete their account. The article points out that Facebook is not declining, but “dead and buried” among teens. Infatuated with apps like Instagram and Snapchat, the only reason many teens retain a profile at all is to stay in touch with older relatives.
If your business targets teens and young adults, you could likely spend your time and resources better elsewhere.
The Post-Graph Search World
The release of the highly anticipated Graph Search function unveiled by Facebook in 2013 proved once again what we all knew but would have liked to forget about warehousing your data on social media. Unlike a website whose format is under your command, a social media platform can make you change your strategy any time it wants. Graph Search forced a flurry of activity as businesses scrambled to adjust their strategies and deal with issues far beyond their control, such as the wave of privacy concerns that came in the wake of Graph Search’s rollout. Any change Facebook makes can send your business strategy reeling.
Facebook is still the unrivaled king of social media, but as Twitter and - for the more visually inclined - Pinterest have made major headway in recent years, the role Facebook plays in business marketing is changing. It is, however, still relevant. Although there are experts who think entrepreneurs should shift their focus from Facebook to other mediums, there are few credible sources who say it's irrelevant.
About the Author: Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about social media, online business, and profiles pages such as Timothy Broas viadeo.