There are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to marketing on Facebook. Unfortunately, several of these were spread further in an article that appeared in the Marion Star. While the people quoted in the story meant well and felt they were passing on helpful information, much of what was provided is just wrong and I feel obligated to offer some insight. By not pointing out the misconceptions, I feel like I might as well be endorsing them.
You can view the article, posted on Monday, October 17, by clicking here. (I can’t guarantee how long this link will be active, but we didn’t want to just steal it and post it on our site.)
I want to preface by saying that I have no way of knowing if these quotes were taken out of context or if they are true to what the individual was trying to say. I am only basing my comments on what was printed for everyone to see.
Wayne Rowe, director of communications at The Ohio State University at Marion, said “Any time someone makes an update on any of the sites I monitor, I see it.”
This is not always true. Facebook continues to use algorithms that choose what updates it thinks you want to see. You do not see every post that is submitted by those you follow. This algorithm continues to change and businesses have a harder and harder time breaking through the noise while Facebook tries to push them towards paid advertising.
Rowe also says, “On a regular website, I can’t send an invite to someone and it automatically go to their email, phone, Facebook page, etc.”
This is not true either. Part of your business marketing should including building an email database. This is used to update potential customers on what your business has to offer. The best part…this list belongs to you, not Facebook who take can it away on a whim.
Alex Sheridan was quoted by the story as saying Facebook is nice to use because everyone is on it.
No…everyone is not on it. In the U.S., those using Facebook equal about 50.2% of the population. Not only that, but in June it was reported that Facebook had lost 6 million U.S. users. Which means those using Facebook as their only marketing just lost 6 million potential customers.
“I basically have chosen to utilize Facebook over a website for one main reason – it is easier to maintain and update regularly,” said Rob Stumpo, owner of Stumpo’s Italian Kitchen.
This may be true with his website, but with a properly designed and developed site, this should not be a reality. Your website should, and can, be easy to update and use.
“We have a normal website, but I am forwarding that traffic to our Facebook page.”
This is the exact opposite way you should be using Facebook. You should be driving people to your website to capture valuable information that you own rather than giving it away to Facebook. You don’t have to believe me, just search Google and see how many articles there are on this subject.
According to Stumpo, the Facebook page will show up before other sites on a Google search as well. “Another positive is when you search something, Facebook pops up before the actual website. I’m going to try to embrace it. We get a lot of feedback from it.”
We tested this against a dozen sites, including our own, and rarely did the Facebook page come up first on Google. And it should never come up first if your website is updated and developed properly.
He is correct though, Facebook is a great way to gather feedback.
“Say one thing changes, like I take something off my menu. It will take me two hours to do the HTML and change it. If I go on Facebook, it takes 30 seconds to change it. The maintenance itself is so much easier than a website would be,” Stumpo said.
Again, your website should be and can be as simple to update as Facebook. If it’s not, then someone is doing it wrong.
Some Things Were Correct
There were several parts of the article that were right on.
Jeffrey Mull, a local acoustic pop musician, talked about using Facebook to drive traffic to his videos on Youtube. Now I would say he should be posting his Youtube videos on his own website, which is easy to do, and drive traffic there. But he understands that Facebook is a marketing tool, giving “him the opportunity to introduce people to his music who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to experience it.”
The article also talks about the Marion County Sheriff’s Office using Facebook to announce road closures, high water areas, severe weather alerts and snow emergency levels. They do this, but they also drive traffic back to their website instead of simply making updates. You can also bet your butt that they don’t rely on Facebook for all of their crime prevention. It’s only one tool.
I know I may be coming across as anti-Facebook, but that is certainly not the case. I just worry about businesses that put all of their marketing eggs in one basket. Facebook is an amazing tool, but you have to make sure you are using it correctly. Since you don’t own Facebook, it can be taken from you without notice. If that were to happen to you, where would your marketing be?
You may also think we have a biased view because we build websites for small businesses. The truth is that we also spend a lot of time teaching people how to use social media, including Facebook.
With your own website, you own it and no one can take that from you.
Candice just happened to give a talk at the Marion Women’s Business Council on Monday, the same day this article came out. Her talk was on why your website is important even in this social media world. Click here to read what she had to say.
As always, we welcome your feedback and I’m always open to criticism. Just leave a comment!