Now, everyone is “doing facebook”, everyone has at least one page and they update their status’s daily, weekly or monthly.

Everyone hunts for likes, increases engagement and chases an ever improving edgerank.

But, sit down with most small businesses and ask them why? What do they actually get out of it? and you get responses that vary from “I don’t know” to “Because you have to,” to “Because everyone is.”

Facebook is one of the few forms of marketing where most people seem to think that they have to do it, irrespective of what they actually get out of it.

In fact most small companies don’t know what they get out of it at all.

So, what three questions should you ask yourself, before “doing” facebook.

I may be old fashioned, but I was always taught that when you implement any form of marketing you had to be clear on:

  1. What the purpose of that marketing was?
  2. What you expected to get out of it – what are the quantifiable benefits?
  3. What was the idea? What is the concept behind your marketing?

Most people when they do “Facebook Marketing” seem to completely forget those three points.

So I was running through what annoys me the most about Facebook, and I came up with this short list:

1) It is not for everyone – yet we all think that it is. If you are a big organisation, with time and money to spend on it, and, a strong brand in a consumer market, then I can see some logical reasons for putting effort in. But, if you are an electrical components manufacturer – or even a small marketing agency then why would people actually “like” you?

2) Updates don’t get to everyone – even people who “like” me. When you put out an update, somewhere between 18 and 25% of your fans will get the chance to see it. The rest don’t get your message at all, they never see it. So you can chase likes, chase fans but in the end, if you are not willing to pay facebook, most will never see what you write.

3) People don’t like being bothered on it. Ok, I know that not all marketing is about sales, but in the end that is surely what we are here to do. We want to take people down the traditional marketing route of attention, interest, desire and action. Facebook is like the pub, imagine you are sitting in the pub talking to your friends, you don’t want me or anyone else coming over and trying to sell you something (other than a beer). It is hard to see where Facebook fits in to any structured marketing process, it has taken on a life of itself, its a destination, an aim in itself.

4) It has an extremely short life span. The average update lasts for about 3 hours (although I think this is an over estimate) before it drops off the end of your stream. So not only do only 18% get the message at all, they have to be actually looking at facebook during the 3 hours it lives.

5) False Engagement – false relationships. Because of the way facebook works, everyone is chasing engagement. Everyone wants you to talk, to respond, to share. As a result you get loads of false, empty and frankly boring “conversation” starters. The “we have great hair products – how is your hair today?” sort of update, what a waste of time and effort.

So, there is a place for Facebook in our marketing strategy, there are benefits for it, but it takes some thinking about, it takes some planning.

Just because it is there, does not mean we should do it.

Or, do you disagree with what I am saying?