Are 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.
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.
- 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
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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.
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.