It’s repeated so often it lands as sound, sage advice: Facebook is a great and cost-effective way to promote your business. It certainly can be. But then, there’s no guarantee that a Facebook page will help your business at all. Should your business be on Facebook? Here are some things to consider.
What’s your demographic?
Just as Revlon wouldn’t run an ad for the newest mascara in GQ, a business whose market consists of non-Facebook users shouldn’t worry about spending too much time on a Facebook page. Why? It’s because of who uses Facebook.
Who uses Facebook?
The good folks at Pew Research updated their annual report on who uses social media. Here are some key findings:
- Most internet users use Facebook (67%).
- More women use Facebook than men.
- Most Facebook users are age 18-29.
- The older the user, the less likely they are to use social networking sites at all.
- Internet users who have some college education or college degrees are more likely to use Facebook than those with less education.
- Internet users within the $30-$49,999 income range are least likely to use Facebook, yet 62% of them still do.
- Those living in urban areas are more likely to use Facebook than those living in rural or suburban areas.
If your business appeals to young, educated women, you’ve got a good shot on Facebook. It might be a great place to sell mascara, but not such a great market for horse saddles.
Should I have a Facebook page if I don’t have a website?
Probably not. Though you can certainly join Facebook and have your family and friends “like” your business page (people who “like” your page will get messages from your business via Facebook) it’s extremely difficult to get beyond that without your business having an internet presence to begin with.
A business website will allow you to install Facebook buttons that encourage people to visit your website and like your Facebook page. After they like you, they are added to your contact list and you can send them promotional announcements whenever you launch a promotion you’d like to advertise.
Can’t I buy advertising on Facebook?
Yes, you can. This has mixed results, however. According to Elan Dekel, a contributor to Forbes magazine, Facebook essentially charges you twice—once to promote your page and generate likes, and a second time to promote your message updates (presumably to the same people you already paid advertising dollars for in your like campaign).
Dekel’s 20 paid promotional campaigns on Facebook yielded dismal returns. “The effective cost per user action is over $2,” Dekel wrote, “and on some campaigns it can even reach $6 or $12.”
This certainly isn’t realistic for a small business.