Should small businesses ditch Facebook?


March 19, 2013 first day of 3 day snow storm Mad River Valley Vermont

Facebook is rolling out a change to it’s Timeline. There is a great discussion about this on this week’s Beancast Marketing Podcast where it seems Facebook is migrating towards a more people to people business model vs brands to people. I was very critical of the brand page and ad support model back in 2010. Yes I am always way ahead of everyone but no one ever listens to me. Sigh.

So the changes ‘could’ mean the chances of a Brand having a post to their page organically being almost zero. The reason is Facebook wants Brands to pay to have their content seen via one of their many ad offerings.

What does this mean for the small businesses that don’t have paid advertising budgets? Abandon their pages? No, just your strategy needs to change.

First until the new format rolls out we will not know for sure if posts will not be seen organically. But say this is true.

1] Doesn’t matter how much or how little you have invested in your brand page with time and content, if you assumed Facebook will never change, or die, or become irrelevant time to come to grips with the future now. It will. Only question is when and how fast (see Myspace)

2] It is a free customer service bulletin board. Do you have this on your website? I have already blogged at how many businesses do not respond to customer emails. And many customers find calling or emailing to complain too much an effort. So why not keep it active for customer service purposes?

3] Your die hard fans will still want a central place to talk about your brand. This could be moved to a blog on your website using one of the conversation engines like Livefyre or Disqus, but fans can’t post except in response to blog posts. Let them use the page.

4] People will still be talking about your brand on Facebook. They will still be sharing content with each other. Instead of creating posts hoping people will like and share your content from the Brand page. Focus on creating great web content that will be shared on Facebook and other networks. The tools already exist with Tweet buttons, Google Plus 1’s, and Facebook Like buttons everywhere. Mobile browsers include this functionality now.

In closing your social media strategies will always be in flux. Networks change. Functionality of those networks changes (for example the new Pinterest format doesn’t include automatic posting to Twitter and more). You need to change with the times. What works today might not tomorrow.

I have said many times that Great Product, Great Service, Right Price trumps all marketing efforts. Get that right and things will take care of itself.

About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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