You might be forgiven for thinking that Facebook is the one and only place to interact with your customers online. With a broad demographic of members, a range of apps and marketing tools it’s increasingly seen as the must have social media presence for any business. However, there’s danger in this single minded view of social media marketing.
Is Facebook right for you?
First of all, as some of my previous post highlight, you need to be sure that Facebook (or any channel) is the right marketing vehicle for your specific business. Ask yourself who your customers are, how do they behave, and where is it appropriate to introduce your business to them. What is your business trying to achieve with social media marketing – and find the networks that best fit with your objectives.
Create a balanced social media strategy
Secondly, there are such a wide range of networks out there, that cater for different demographics, behaviours and markets, that a single-minded strategy is a bit short sighted. Yes, social media marketing requires a time investment, but it is never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. A strategy that identifies, for instance one primary network, plus a couple of secondary networks for your business is much more balanced in terms of risk and reward.
Own your digital presence
All social media channels are rented real-estate – if Facebook decides to change your terms and conditions or page layout there is little you can do about it. By contrast, your own website is entirely under your control and is owned by you. To have a Facebook page and no website means your digital presence is on shaky ground. By starting with your own website, and building social media profiles on top your business can always change its social media strategy without losing everything that you have built up over time.
Innovation good: innovation bad
The digital landscape and social media in particular are continually innovating. That’s part of what makes it so exciting, but also creates a challenge for businesses to keep up to date with what’s happening. Recently, for instance Facebook relaxed its competition rules (good news) but Facebook now determines how many of your page posts to show to your fans/followers (bad news). If you rely heavily on Facebook to communicate with your audience/customers then your business fortune is at their mercy.
Meanwhile, MySpace has relaunched with a new look and better functionality, and LinkedIn is making moves beyond it’s business networking and recruiter home-ground towards all-round information source with it’s new university pages. Let’s not forget the other big players Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Flikr, Instagram, Etsy, Tumblr and so on and so forth. Don’t ignore the other players who are relevant to your business or market as they may one day become more profitable for you than Facebook. They are all continually innovating, and who’s to say that their next update won’t offer just the marketing tool your business needs.
At the same time as the networks changing their functionality and design, their user bases are shifting and changing. Facebook was once the exclusive home of US college students and is now home to a very broad demographic, with young people leaving the platform now that it is now used by their parents and grandparents. Keep in touch with published audience figures such as this one to help you determine whether their audience matches your audience.
If Facebook is working for your business and you’re happy to follow the whim of Facebook’s developers, then great. If you’d like to take a more balanced approach then maybe it’s time to review your social media strategy and check out what the other networks can deliver for your business.