Facebook. Love it or loathe it, is by far and away the biggest, and most popular Social Media Channel.
I was one of the first few thousand people to join Facebook in the early days. I joined in 2007 when we were making plans to relocate our lives to Bulgaria. It was a way to stay connected to everyone back home and share our little adventure with our friends and family. It’s still the only way to mobilise my family when we have a gathering!
As a blogger, and a mentor for businesses who blog, Social Media is a natural medium to share the story of your business.
Essentially, Social Media is just a form of microblogging.
I wouldn’t claim to be a social media guru, but I have enough expertise to run workshops introducing small businesses to the power of sharing their stories via Social Media. My focus is on what you write and how you write it to get the best results.
I’ve naturally gravitated to Facebook as my primary Social Media channel in my business. I’ve hung out there for so long I’m used to it, but perhaps it’s time for a change? Here’s why…
Facebook The Most Sociable Network
Facebook has always been the most sociable of the networks. The whole premise behind it is to do exactly that, keep friends and families connected, wherever they are in the world.
In the early days, it was pretty simple and clunky. Then in 2012, Facebook floated on the stock market, in one of the biggest and most anticipated shares sales in history. Initially, it made huge losses. However, from 2015 onwards, it started generating fantastic returns on investment for its shareholders.
So, what changed?
Mark Zuckerberg (the CEO of Facebook) always pledged it would be free for individuals. But, to to satisfy shareholders they had to make money somehow.
With businesses realising the potential of the data Facebook had on people, and the blurring of the lines between our work lives and our personal lives, Facebook had to be attractive to businesses.
In 2015, it became much more mobile responsive. In 2016, the Telegraph reported that internet access via mobile devices overtook desktop – Facebook was right on the money with that one!
This trend is continuing. Smartphones are becoming so sophisticated that for many, they have replaced the need to have a desktop at all.
For many businesses, their Facebook Business page is a gateway to their audience.
It is currently free to have a Facebook business page, and you can only trade on a business page. If Facebook even gets so much of a whiff that you are using a personal page to promote a business, they will block you.
Besides, your friends and family are not all necessarily your customers. They are connecting with you on Facebook to stay in touch with you, not your business. If they want to know about your business, give them a choice and invite them to like your business page.
I’ve unfriended acquaintances and even reported people who’ve used their personal page for business. I don’t want to see salesy junk on my News Feed.
And here’s the rub…
I’m not alone in not wanting to see sales stuff on my Facebook feed. In fact, no one likes seeing sales stuff on any of their social networks.
The problem is, too many businesses misuse Social Media as a way to push advertising on people.
Marketing Is No Longer About Pushing, But Pulling
Traditional marketing has always been about ‘pushing’ advertising at people. Interrupting them with sales messages. But the world of marketing has changed. Social Media is the major agent for that change. Yet businesses are slow to react, using Social Media as just another way to ‘push’, rather than ‘pulling’ potential customers into their world.
A blog invites people into your virtual shop and gives them a reason to browse for a while. We all know, as consumers, the longer we spend browsing in a shop the more likely we are to buy something, or at least remember that shop. We’ll return to it when we’re ready or recommend it to our friends. As a microblog, social media platforms – not only Facebook – are another way to allow people to browse in your business from different places and in different ways. They give people a glimpse. The quality of your content will draw them in further.
Start-ups and Facebook
When you start out in business, it takes time to build up all your resources.
Building a solid social following is great to get your business out there. But, I would always recommend hosting your blogs on your own website, where you can control it. You simply can’t rely on Facebook as your main online presence over the long term…
A case in point is today’s announcement from Facebook that, effectively, business page posts will no longer show up in personal Facebook feeds. The implication: ‘unless you pay for boosts and advertising’.
It means, no matter how useful, insightful or entertaining your content, it will no longer appear on user’s feeds. They will have to seek it out.
A new ‘explore tab’ is being introduced to separate business and personal content on news feeds.
This has the potential to be a good thing. It means people can easily find, and separate, business from personal content. At the same time, it could also mean business content won’t be seen organically.
Time will tell how these changes will affect the experience of Facebook for businesses, but personally, you’ll be seeing less of me there and more of me on Linked In …
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