Do I Need Facebook in Addition to My Website?

Whether you’re marketing a business or a book, if you have to ask the question posed above, the answer is probably “no.”

I know, your friends have told you that half the world is on Facebook so you should be, too, that it’s a marketing opportunity you can’t afford to bypass.

There’s no denying that Facebook can be beneficial to businesses, but it’s not going to happen for you unless you’re willing to do the work that Facebook requires. This involves not only learning how Facebook differs from a website, but also doing the day-to-day activities required to make your Facebook page relevant.

When clients ask if they should have a Facebook page for their business, my first question is this: Do you have a personal Facebook page?

If the response is something like “No, I don’t care about what somebody else had for breakfast,” then I’m not optimistic that a Facebook page for this client will succeed. Someone with that attitude has not come to understand what Facebook it, how it works, how it differs from a website, and what it asks of its users.

The 30-day trial

At this point, my advice is the following: Set up a personal Facebook account and befriend your siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends. Spend time on your Facebook account every day interacting with your family and friends, liking their posts, commenting on their pictures, and sharing their most interesting links. Do this for 30 days, then we’ll talk.

This 30-day introduction to the Facebook culture will reveal that participation is key to having a lively Facebook account. You will learn that as you participate, your reach increases. You will discover that Facebook is a conversation and that you must be willing to converse, even if only to share what you had for breakfast.

If, after a month or so, you find yourself getting the hang of things on Facebook, you may want to consider setting up a page for your business. There are some subtle differences between personal and business pages, chief among them being that with personal pages, you control who has access to what you post while with business pages anyone can like your pages and follow your activity.

In working with your personal page, you’ve learned that you must share information with your Facebook friends before a conversation develops. This is doubly important with business pages. You’ll need to provide a steady stream of fresh information to attract people to your page and to keep those visitors interested.

The information you provide on your Facebook page must go beyond incessant promotion of your new widget. You need to find ways to provide relevant and interesting information so that your followers will continue to follow you and will help extend your reach by liking, commenting on, and sharing the information you post.

Facebook isn’t just about peddling more of your product; it’s about connections and fun. Peruse the Facebook page of a major sports franchise in your area. That team is posting information about the players including backgrounders and injury updates. Its posting photos and game updates. Its giving away tickets, hats, and jerseys to fans who participate on the Facebook page in various ways.

Wow, there’s a lot going on there. And you know what? That sports team is paying people to spend hours a day making that Facebook page lively. If you’re operating a much smaller enterprise, you’re thinking you don’t have the time or budget to operate on that level.

You’re right, of course. But even a small business can have an effective Facebook page if you or a staff member is interested enough to spend some time and thought on a regular basis to make it so.

If you want to, just say no

But if you have neither the time nor interest to do this, don’t think you must have a Facebook page just because everyone else does. Is a Facebook page that sits there and does nothing any better than no Facebook page at all? I don’t think so.

Do what you need to do to make your business prosper, and if Facebook is not in your comfort zone, so be it — and be guilt-free about it.

In the meantime, visit our Facebook page, to get a sense of our approach.