Despite its track record of success, there’s still this notion that Facebook isn’t a good platform to market your business on. Nonsense — I have used it profitably throughout my stint as an entrepreneur to gain exposure and grow my companies. The problem is that Facebook is a misunderstood channel, and many businesses aren’t using it to its full potential. Let’s clear things up a bit. Here are seven common misconceptions I hear about Facebook marketing and how I address them:
Facebook is diminishing in popularity
If anything, this channel is growing and continues to dominate the social scene both at home and abroad. According to the company website, Facebook had 1.49 billion active worldwide users as of June 30. Additionally, 180 million users have joined Facebook over the last 12 months, a 13.7 percent increase from the previous year. That breaks down to about half a million new users every day or nearly six users per second. Facebook is still popular, trust me.
Facebook is a sales channel
No, it’s an engagement channel, and it offers your business a way to exchange information and insights with your target audience. While it’s clear you are going to be marketing, it doesn’t have to be the focus of your Facebook page. Instead, provide relevant content that people want to read and share. It’s not about throwing messages at them, but opening up a dialogue between you and your audience.
I use my own Facebook presence to share helpful content based on my experiences as an entrepreneur. This leadership position is what then “sells” my products and services. For more tips on engaging your audience on Facebook, check out this post I wrote for Forbes.
Facebook combines your professional & personal lives in a good way
Don’t include your personal or political opinions with your Facebook marketing strategy. You may offend and alienate the very prospects and customers you are trying to win. Your Facebook business page should stick to content directed at your audience’s pain points and needs, the industry you represent and the solutions you offer.
I maintain a separate personal Facebook profile that is for family and friends, but I keep my Facebook page strictly for my personal and company brands.
People will like your Facebook page just because you made one
You might be proud of how it looks and know the amount of time you put into the content, but others won’t just show up for that reason. You need to let them know you’re there and give them an incentive to like the page.
I added a Facebook widget to my website so people could find and add me easily. You can also invest in a small Facebook ad that displays in prospects’ and customers’ news feeds — but even then, you’ll still need a focused strategy for marketing your products or services.
Facebook is only for a certain demographic
Many believe that Facebook is still for the younger segments of the population who use it strictly to talk about music, movies, fashion and each other. However, according to comScore data reported by Social Media Week, the largest segment of the population using Facebook is aged 25 to 34 (22 percent), followed by ages 35 to 44 (19 percent), ages 45 to 54 (18 percent) 18 to 24 (16 percent).
This “aging” of Facebook means that you can target all types of people. In fact, 15 percent of current Facebook users are 55 to 64 years old and 10 percent are 65-plus, which means even businesses catering to seniors can benefit from Facebook marketing.
Facebook marketing takes a lot of time
Since Twitter and Instagram appear to take just seconds or minutes to update, Facebook has been pegged as the time eater. However, with the tools provided by the platform as well as other apps, you can market smartly on Facebook while simultaneously updating your other social media accounts. Try a social media management service to schedule posts and save time — three I like are Everypost, Hootsuite and SocialOomph.
Facebook marketing is expensive
You don’t have to buy Facebook advertising to interest your potential audience. Instead, create content that invites your audience to participate. Take a survey or ask a thought-provoking question. I’ve added custom tabs to my Facebook page to engage my audience in other ways — for example, I’ve included links to my content and landing pages, visual content and giveaways and contests.
If you are going to buy advertising, then Facebook is still a good bet. In fact, industry executives recently named Facebook as the most effective social advertising platform, according to a report from eMarketer.
Bottom line, if you focus on keeping your Facebook content relevant, authentic and interactive for all demographics you serve as well as leverage available tools that maximize time spent, Facebook marketing will yield results for you. I not only like it, but I leverage it to build my customer base and solidify existing customer relationships.