social media toolsAre you avoiding Facebook for marketing?  Maybe you’re wondering, “Why should I care about Facebook?”

There’s a lot of misconceptions and frustrations floating around when it comes to Facebook.

In this article, I’ll help debunk some of the big Facebook myths that may be preventing you from an amazing opportunity.

Why Facebook Marketing?

First and foremost, Facebook, like other social media, is a phenomenal way to become more visible and successful by making a face for yourself online.

Facebook is now the largest social network on the planet with over 500 million active users, long ago surpassing former social networking giant MySpace—and it continues to grow at 1 million new users a week.

Considering those numbers, you have to ask yourself—do you think your target market might be there? And if you’re not there, what might you be missing?

Myth #1: “It’s Just for Kids”

For those still skeptical, a common objection is that most of Facebook’s users are of a younger demographic and therefore there aren’t any benefits to using it to market their business.  However, you may be surprised to find out that according to January 2010 statistics, the 35+ demographic now represents more than 30% of the entire user base, and the 55+ audience grew an incredible 922.7% in 2009 alone.

Plus, compare the low to no cost of using Facebook—essentially just your Internet connection—to other marketing and advertising methods such as the Yellow Pages, the newspaper, TV and radio, and you’ve got a pretty convincing case for why you should be building a presence on Facebook.

In addition to the demographics, there are a few other myths in particular I want to address so you can start seeing the results and opportunities that so many other business owners already enjoy.

Myth #2: “Facebook takes WAY too much time.”

This is probably the most frequent concern that I hear.  It’s true that it can be a major time-sink if you let it —but know that it doesn’t have to be.  You need to be a little bit ruthless with yourself, especially if you’re using Facebook for both business and keeping up with friends and family.

People aren’t kidding when they say social media can be addictive.  But if you’re avoiding Facebook because of fears about it taking too much time, you’re really missing out on important networking opportunities and conversations.

If you think about comparing it to traditional business networking and the traveling and time commitment that takes, you’ll begin to realize that networking on Facebook is great because it can be done at your convenience.  That’s not to say it has to completely replace local or face-to-face networking, but it can certainly supplement it.

Specific Strategies

So how can you really leverage your time instead of just poking around trying to figure out how anyone is ever going to find out about your business?

First, the biggest thing to understand is why you’re on Facebook.  What’s your strategy?  What are your goals?  Again, if you don’t know why you’re there, it becomes a lot easier to waste time aimlessly floating around.

What can you do instead?

Here are a few tips and techniques to help you achieve maximum visibility in minimum time:

  • Before anything else, alter your notification settings under “Account Settings” and “Notifications” and turn most of the notifications off. (You want to come to Facebook for a set amount of time, and if you’re getting notifications in your email every time someone interacts with your profile you, will become too distracted!)
  • Ignore or block frivolous applications.
  • Update your status regularly.
  • Skim through the news feed on the home page, which is composed of all of your friends’ updates.  If something interesting catches your eye, hit the “like” button or comment on it.
  • Check your wall and if anyone has commented to you, quickly respond.
  • On the right-hand side of the home page, see who among your friends is having a birthday and wish them a happy one.
  • On the top right of your home page, handle any requests you have waiting.
  • If you have an event going on, such as a local workshop or a teleseminar, announce it using the Events application.
  • If you have a blog, use the NetworkedBlogs or Notes applications to import your blog posts, which will then appear in your friends’ and/or page supporters’ news feeds.

Bring your blog to Facebook with the NetworkedBlogs application.

  • Post links to interesting sites or articles you come across by adding the Share on Facebook bookmarklet to your browser.
  • If you use Twitter, install the application on Facebook called Selective Tweets to selectively post your tweets as status updates.
  • Sign up for a free Hootsuite account and use it to update your status on multiple social networking profiles simultaneously including Facebook.

Make it a Habit

So, block out time to use Facebook in your schedule.  People laugh, but set a timer if you need to! Think of it as part of your marketing strategy.

If you’re new to Facebook, yes, you may need to spend an hour a day getting acclimated and developing your profile in the beginning, but you can really make an impact in much shorter amounts of time once you’ve gotten used to how it all works.  Commit to being judicious with your time.

Myth #3: “Facebook alone will get you clients and customers.”

This would be wonderful if it was true, of course.  Do people get clients and customers as a result of being on Facebook? Absolutely.  But throwing up a profile and expecting the money to roll in is not going to happen.

You’d be surprised how many people end up discouraged because they’ve been on Facebook a good while and they’re not getting the desired results.  Most of the time it’s because they don’t understand how Facebook fits into their overall marketing picture.

It’s really about consumers consuming what it is you are putting out there—which essentially, is content.  You’re steadily and gradually building momentum from relationships—the “know, like and trust factor” and word of mouth—to traffic, subscribers and eventually, sales.

Facebook is excellent for establishing credibility and expertise, exposing your brand and finding out what people want and need so that you can create and package those solutions and give it to them.

Honestly, there is no faster way to create credibility and brand recognition and quickly connect to hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for what you have to offer.

But your ultimate goal shouldn’t be to use Facebook (or any social network) as a direct sales channel. Before you even get on Facebook, you should have a website or blog to drive people to first. You need to be able to continue to build those relationships outside Facebook.  And the best way to do that is to have a way to get people on your email list.

People don’t buy right off of Facebook.  They also don’t usually buy from you the first time they visit your site, right?  You have to build up their know, like and trust.  But Facebook is amazing for building that familiarity and credibility and for driving people to your site so they can get to know even more about you.

Myth #4: “I already have a personal profile so I don’t need a business page.”

No matter the size of your business, it’s a good idea to set up a page.

For those of you who aren’t aware of a Facebook page (formerly known as a fan page), it’s a separate page from your personal profile, and many people use it for their business.

“Like” has replaced “Fan” terminology on Facebook.

Facebook pages are great for a number of reasons:

  • Pages allow you to keep your personal info separate from your business info.
  • Pages are public, which means that they are visible to the search engines and are not behind a login like personal profiles are (so be sure to use keywords pertaining to your business in the title of your page if you can—Facebook is ranked very highly in the search engines and you can benefit from this!).
  • Pages are great for communicating with your supporters (formerly “fans”) and listening to, answering and updating them.
  • Pages help spread viral awareness of your brand and business—a key aspect is that when people who “like” your page interact with it, this activity shows up in the news feeds of all of their friends.

I Have a Page. Now What?

Ok, now that you know why they’re important, how do you use a page successfully?

Here are just a few ways:

  • Keep your page updated with content, such as pulling in your blog posts and sharing links.
  • Ask open-ended questions and engage your supporters whenever possible.
  • Treat your supporters to “exclusive” offers and content that not everyone else gets. Make them understand that they’re getting something special by supporting your business or brand on your page.
  • Add the Static FBML application to create a simple form on your page for people to sign up for your newsletter, free report or seminar.
  • Let your friends know about your page by clicking the link that says “Suggest to Friends” under your picture.

Now It’s Your Turn

Let’s hear your thoughts. Have you encountered any myths that you would add to this list?  Or were you a former Facebook skeptic turned believer? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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  • I’m so glad I found this about adding static FBML pages! I was just able to add my store to my business page. Thank you!

  • Thanks, for this great article 🙂

  • Bill Lord

    Thanks Christine, great article! Great point about using Facebook to drive people to your website etc. It’s very powerful to have the ability put things online that drive traffic to your site, without having to call a web developer… Another thing worth mentioning is how easy Facebook makes it to reach your exact target market’s demographic with their ads.

  • Thanks for the article Christine you offer valid and interesting points to bust many of the Facebook myths.

    I have one concern regarding Myth #1 where you mention the low to no cost as compared to other marketing channels.

    I agree it costs nothing to initially set up and begin using Facebook but to use Facebook effectively for marketing the costs can add up. At a minimum the cost to you to market on Facebook would be your time involved in engaging with your fans, creating, finding and adding additional content to the page etc…this is time that I would not consider free. If you don’t have the time commitment to manage your Facebook presence you may have to look at hiring an outside firm to handle these tasks for you and that will be an additional cost.

    To help in creating a compelling Facebook page that really gets users excited to “Like” you, you may want to create a custom landing tab or tabs. If you are familiar with HTML and have a sense of design you can create your own custom tab using the FBML application but again the costs would be your time, if you aren’t familiar with those things then you would have to contract it out and this could add a significant cost to your Facebook marketing.

    So, my myth would be that Facebook marketing is free.

  • Hey Chad,

    To the free point. Thanks for your thoughts. However, I want to talk this out.

    If social media is not free, then you could argue that ALL marketing has a cost because all marketing takes time. I think in the context of traditional marketing, social media marketing is free because there is no list leasing, paying middlemen/brokers, etc. So, taken to an extreme nothing is free.

  • +1 on driving traffic to your website. I spend almost no time on Facebook except to import my blog feed and share the occasional link but I get decent traffic from my Page.

  • I don’t think I am taking anything to an extreme but anything related to work/marketing I feel would have an associated cost connected to it. Social media may have a lower cost associated when compared to traditional advertising but there is still a cost. If you spend just one hour a day every single day on just cultivating relationships and adding value to your Facebook page that’s 30 hours per month how can a value not be attributed to those hours? If you were to pay an employee or firm to manage your brands social media presences would you still consider it to be free?

    I think when it comes to self-managed social media campaigns including Facebook marketing the individual becomes the middleman/broker and creative director and statistician and because money doesn’t change hands it appears to be free when it in fact is just a different type of expense.

    This is why I love about Social Media Examiner open and respectful dialog between individuals with differing viewpoints. You’ve created a fantastic community where individuals are comfortable speaking their minds without fear of retaliation.

  • I could not agree more – even for very small businesses Facebook offers the ability to easily set up cheap and targetted ad campaigns !

  • Love the comments everyone 🙂

  • Christine – If you want folks to see your replies, you need to reply to each of them with the reply button below their comments, not add a new comment.

  • Stacey–You are welcome–and awesome–glad you were able to use FBML!

  • Andre–thanks and you’re welcome!

  • Bill–I agree, FB ads can get so super-targeted! The amount of data to be “mined” is staggering.

  • David–thanks for the comment!

  • Claire–Yes, even teeny tiny operations and solopreneurs can benefit from a FB Page–as I have myself!

  • Chad–good points–time invested in social media is definitely a concern and you need to reign yourself in if you see yourself getting sucked in without much to show for it. And I agree that ad costs can get out of control if you are not careful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Michael–Yes! Agree there–marketing your biz is always a time commitment just as networking is offline (which I always remind people of when they begin talking about social media taking TOO much time–hey, at least social networking can be done without getting out of your PJs! :-)) Thanks for commenting!

  • Thanks–fixed now 🙂

  • I have my blog updates linked to my Facebook page so all my Facebook page friends get alerted every time I post a new article. Thanks for the tip about using a Static FBML application to get people to sign up for free reports etc. Very useful stuff.

  • It always surprises me that people continue to think that they only have to market using ONE thing and when it doesn’t work, they throw their hands up in the air! As you mention, Christine, it’s about building trust (no matter what it is). I have had zero purchases from FB, but then I really don’t expect the people in my following (who are high school friends and friends or friends) to really need my services. If I setup an Affordable Words Fan Page for my writing services, then I would focus on drawing in a specific type of follower that meets my target buyer criteria. Right now, my FB page is just for fun! ~Cindy Brock

  • Will Tsosie

    Christine: How do you start a facebook page? Please provide by steps, the process. Thanks. Will Tsosie

  • Great post, Christine. I think something else to try is Facebook ads, which allow you to target demographics and are relatively cheap right now.

  • Trent


    Great article! I like how you recognize that Facebook is NOT just a tool for the young and restless but more of a leveraging device to reach your target customer. Thanks for busting the myths that one page is enough. In my early experience marketing with Facebook I have realized how important it is to keep these two entities separate. Most may think that you are creating twice the work but that is not true. Keeping separate sites may in fact keep you more organized and better prepared to engage with your customers.

    As of today I keep my FB page professional while I am in school and searching for jobs. Upon graduation I believe it will become more of a tool to keep in touch and to have for fun.

    Thanks for the good read! –Trent

  • Great Article Christine. If for nothing else Facebook offers users a way to communicate with their customers on a more frequent basis. It reminds me of the old commercial where the boss is handing out plane tickets to the sales team to force them to go visit their clients. Facebook helps in that process immensely.

  • People feel the need to have a FB page, but are often mis-informed about the whole process.

  • Great article on how and why to get on Facebook in a nutshell. I especially appreciate the part about setting a timer. It may seem ridiculous, but it will keep you focused on your goal and objectives within Facebook. Having a written game plan & setting a time limit will help you focus only on what’s important. Let’s be honest – it’s easy to get distracted on FB no matter who your are!

  • Billieg76825

    I need a Website and a Blog, where do I start? Can you reccommend either one, if so it will be so appreciated.

  • I especially like and agree with a couple of points from Myth #4: “No matter the size of your business, it’s a good idea to set up a page.” and “Pages are public, which means that they are visible to the search engines and are not behind a login like personal profiles are.”

    Thanks, Christine.


  • Hi Christine,

    You article mentions in bold, “there is no faster way to create credibility & brand recognition and connect with hundreds of thousands of people”.

    I don’t copy you on that. In my mind, outside of the possibility that search engines would rank a company’s Facebook page very high for a specific keyword ( and this is something I have not seen on search), one would have to have hundreds and thousands of friends in order to connect with hundred of thousands of people. And most people have a couple hundred friends if they’re luck and work at it. Plus, if one’s friends are not constantly following minute by minute-by- minute postings OR do not review all they missed while logged-off from Facebook, even the best postings would be missed.

    So please let me have your impression over my remarks to see if the “connect with hundreds of thousands of people” statement needs some clarification.

  • Thanks for sharing Christine:-)

  • Thanks for this article. I have always thought you needed to know a bit about coding…or do you? When I see html, fbml ….I tend to shy away because I don’t know how to code. Can I still make a nice page without knowing css and all that jazz? 🙂

  • The way I view it, if Facebook was NEVER of any value as a social network, it wouldn’t have been introduced that way.

    Great post! All of your points where very valid and well elaborated on. 😀

  • Yes I have come across similar issues. People need to get their head around the fact that with advertising you paid a fee and sat back and hoped for results. With social media you invest your time to build up the relationship. You don’t get immediate return but you get long term and ongoing return. Time Management is a key area and people are generally not good at this which causes the problems.

  • jesskupferman

    I know you are asking Christine but I just wanted to respond, as a designer – you can have a website and blog integrated together, so it will have the information about you and your business as well as your blogged articles. Why not have both?

  • jesskupferman

    The steps can be found here:

  • Great article – addresses lot’s of problems I have in converting people to Facebook. One thing though can you add Facebook Pages to Hootsuit? I only get my own feed, don’t seem to able to get my companies page though.

    If you can could you point me in the right direction?

  • Neil DuPaul

    As far as I know Hootsuite is strictly Twitter, you could try JitterJam though.

  • Sam Guillen

    What a great post! I have been trying to get Home Builders on board to no avail. Blasting this as we speak.

  • You’re welcome–sometimes I’m surprised that more people aren’t using FBML, especially for their opt-in forms…but then I realize that it’s just probably because they don’t know about it. 🙂 So that’s why I wanted to include it here!

  • Agreed Randy, and they are something I plan on exploring more myself…

  • Thanks Trent! I’d actually never thought about it before that way, but you’re right re: separating can make things more organized. Although I’ve always used my personal profile for some biz stuff, I like to be able to “compartmentalize” things when I want with the profile AND the Page.

  • Yep, when it comes down to it, like Twitter, it really is just another communication tool. In fact, when I see people sometimes making social media more complicated than it needs to be I’ve taken to bringing things back down to a simpler level by reminding them of that. 🙂

  • It’s like a bandwagon thing–people hear it’s the latest and greatest thing to have in social media, and just think that they “should” have one. While I agree in most cases that they should, it’s true–many times don’t realize exactly how to use it effectively once they start one!

  • Glad you can see the value of a timer too Garrett. 🙂 People chuckle but it works!

  • Billie, Jessica is right–it’s a great idea to have both in one–and may I recommend for that–it’s what I prefer for integrating the two…and for websites/blogs in general!

  • Welcome!

  • Hi Greg, your points are valid for sure! Perhaps a clarification is needed in that the word “potentially” should be used there. Thanks for your input!

  • You’re very welcome Stella

  • Oh I hear you! And you totally could use it without knowing code. In fact, in many cases what you need to know is just how to copy/paste….at least in terms of one of the more popular uses of Static FBML on Facebook–an opt-in form, for example. You can usually just grab the code from your email list service (AWeber, Constant Contact, etc.) and paste it into the FBML app.

  • Thanks–I’ve certainly found much more value in it as a biz relationship tool…with the odd jr. high friend blast from the past thrown in there once in awhile 😉

  • Ian, very well put. I find myself explaining it that way to people quite often. And time management–hmmm, maybe the real problem isn’t that “social media takes too much time,” huh? It’s more about managing time in general. 😉

  • Hi Erica, yes you can. In fact you can post to your FB Page, your personal profile, Twitter and LinkedIn with Hootsuite….as well as use with it to post to many other sites. You’ll want to look in settings and then add a new social network and then add your Page.

  • Thanks and appreciate it!

  • Great post! :-).. Thanks 🙂

  • thegiggletest

    Very informative!

  • Awesome article! I’m glad you went into actual specifics about strategy, there is too much fluff out there that is vague and meaningless…this is great, usable stuff!

  • Awesome article! I’m glad you went into actual specifics about strategy, there is too much fluff out there that is vague and meaningless…this is great, usable stuff!

  • So if you had to compare and choose, would facebook marketing be more productive than twitter marketing? I noticed twitter has a lot more marketing tools than FB. Will this oversaturate?

  • So if you had to compare and choose, would facebook marketing be more productive than twitter marketing? I noticed twitter has a lot more marketing tools than FB. Will this oversaturate?

  • Tinasm

    With a coorporate account, what is the difference between fans and friends??? which is better to have?

  • I totally agree regarding updating the page. So many pages I see never update or do it rarely, i know they lose so many fans that way. I think they are missing the point of the page which is to build a rapport with the fans and keep them up to date on what is going on with them and their business. Crucial mistake.

  • totally agree! post is very insightful especially on having a business page. if you now have a fan page, you might want to check out – its free and easy to use

  • Hi Christine,

    very nice post and i learned personally well because i found some application that is very useful to use with fan page.

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  • Mark

    This is an awesome article. I loved it! It is true too, more users over 50 are joining Facebook. I encountered one of the myths, the one about already having a personal profile and not needing a business page. Having a business page separate from a personal page is much better and smarter!

  • Great post! And really like the great conversation in the comments below as well. Awesome!

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