According to a new survey of businesses owners in the UK, Facebook is a waste of time.
The survey results showed that 62 percent of respondents said that Facebook has not been effective for their business.
And it’s not just small businesses that are saying this. Last fall, Forrester released a study that said posts from top brands are only reaching 2% of their followers and engagement on those posts hit an abysmal .07%.
Their report went on to urge businesses to stop wasting time and money on Facebook.
This begs the question…
Should your company give up on Facebook?
I know this might be surprising to hear from someone who does digital marketing, but it’s certainly possible that Facebook might not be the best bet for your business anymore.
Why Businesses Struggle with Facebook
But, before you hit the red button to delete your page, let’s explore some of the reasons why businesses struggle with Facebook in the first place.
1. Facebook has changed, but businesses haven’t.
The biggest one is this — Facebook has continued to change the game, but businesses haven’t adapted.
Organic reach has been on the decline for company pages for the past few years. This is not new. In fact, I’ve written about this before.
But, despite the changing landscape, many brands haven’t adapted their efforts to match. They are posting the same tired content and hoping for different results.
2. Businesses have the wrong goals and strategy.
Facebook can be powerful for your business, but you must have the right goals and strategy for your business.
Sometimes, businesses expect Facebook to do too much. Or, they rely on Facebook to do the wrong things.
And, as a result, the strategy is off.
For example, a B2B company with a long lead cycle might have trouble driving sales directly from Facebook. But, that company might be able to use Facebook for the top of the funnel to help build awareness for the company and even drive leads to their email list.
Businesses must have the right goals and then determine how Facebook can play a part in achieving them.
3. Facebook might not be the right channel for your business.
As I hinted at above, Facebook very well might not be the right marketing channel for your business.
Just because “everyone is on Facebook”, doesn’t mean that it’s the right channel to connect with your audience.
Remember, you are competing with babies, puppies and kitties on Facebook. Do people want to see boring updates about your product or service there?
Consider whether your content is something that is interesting, valuable or entertaining. Is it something that will cause people to stop and take a look?
If the answer is no, Facebook might not be the best medium for you.
How to improve your company’s Facebook efforts
All of that said, if the points above don’t apply to you, read on. There are definitely some ways you can improve your Facebook efforts if you’re struggling to achieve results.
For instance, we recently worked with a museum that has a very popular page with more than 200,00 fans, but they were having trouble getting the desired results with their efforts.
We helped them re-work their strategy to take a fresh, new approach. Since they have started implementing our recommendations, we’ve seen a steady increase in their organic reach and size of their audience.
You might find that adjusting your approach can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to help you:
- Have the right goals and strategy. As I mentioned above, you must have the right goals for Facebook. What do you want to accomplish through this audience? Drive traffic to your website? Sell more of your products? Get more email subscribers? Determine your goals first and then build a plan to help you get there.
- Test different content types. Facebook is regularly changing its algorithm to serve up the most relevant content for users. Earlier this year, Facebook announced videos are getting priority in the newsfeed. Before that, it was photos. And they most recently announced 360 videos are coming to the news feed (the Star Wars video example is awesome!). All of this means that you need to continually test different types of content to see what will resonate most with your audience. How can you spice things up to make your content more interesting? Embed videos, create interesting photos or graphics, ask trivia questions, try a contest, share content from your audience. Try something new to see if it performs better for your brand.
- Tweak your posting schedule. Because organic reach has been reduced, some brands are posting more often to compensate for that. But essentially, by doing this, you’re contributing to the very problem of reach — there’s too much content for users to see. Not to mention, if you keep posting poor quality content, it will reduce your chances of getting seen. Quality is more important that quantity. So, instead of posting content 3-4 times a day, you might want to try pulling back a bit to see if that helps. It also pays to consider when you’re audience is online. Look at your insights to see the days and times your audience is most active and use that to inform your schedule.
- Engage in advertising. Facebook has become a truly powerful advertising channel. The targeting possibilities are incredibly laser-focused and do a great job of helping you deliver your content to just the right audience. For a great example of this, check out how Ryan Carter used Facebook ads to get his content featured on top sites like Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. If you are not taking advantage of Facebook advertising, now would be a good time to start.
- Encourage sharing on personal profiles. Your employees can be one of your biggest assets on social media. Instead of relying on your company page to do all the work, encourage employees to help spread the word on their social media profiles. This can be a great way to expand your reach and help your team feel good about the work you do.
- Try Facebook groups. As Facebook (and social media in general) gets louder and noisier, you might find that creating a Facebook community might be a better approach for you. This would be a great way for your business to create a place where your audience can ask questions, share ideas, etc. Forrester’s research pointed to branded communities as a big opportunity for business. But, if you don’t have the ability to create your own website for that, you can use Facebook.
These tips are just a start on what you can do.
Want some additional ideas? Turn to Facebook itself. They have a nice little guide that offers up some best practices and tips for your Facebook page.
And, after all if this, if you’re having trouble figuring out how Facebook can work for your business, get some outside help. It might be time to hire a marketing agency consultant to help you build a new social media strategy and tactical plan for Facebook.
Should Your Company Quit Facebook?
As I said at the beginning of this article, it absolutely might be time to ditch your Facebook page.
But before you do, try this:
- Clearly define how Facebook will help you reach your goals.
- Create a tactical plan to implement.
- Test different approaches to find what works best.
- Measure the results.
And, if you’re not sure how to go about this, enlist the help you need to build and implement the plan.
If you go through all of this and you’re still not getting the results you’re after, then it might be time to shut it down.
Last year, Copyblogger shut down its Facebook page because it was no longer working for them.
Today, I’m giving you permission to do the same thing.
Sure, that might be scary. But, does it make sense to continue to invest time and money into something that’s not working for your brand?
I say no.
You should too.
What do you think? Is Facebook a waste of time for your business?
4 replies on “Is Facebook a Waste of Time for Your Business?”
Thanks for posting this Laura! I was wondering if FB was worth our time and attention as a small business.
So glad you’ve found it helpful, Heidi! I think Facebook offers some benefits, but it definitely takes a lot more work than it did a few years ago to get attention and traction. You just have to decide if it’s worth the investment to get it there. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!
PS – I do think Facebook ads could be great for you!
You’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head Laura! Facebook still offers many opportunities, businesses must be clear about which opportunities best fit their needs. For advertising, it may be just exactly the right venue!
Thanks, Marie! I think Facebook CAN be great, but if it’s not getting results you either need to find a way to fix it or let it go! I hate that folks feel like they “have” to be there just because everyone else is. That’s the wrong reason to do anything!