Let me start off by saying that I think social media marketing is an incredibly important component of any inbound marketing campaign. Alongside SEO and content marketing, social media marketing helps build your overall online brand presence, connects your company with new and interested consumers, and strengthens your industry authority and more. Without a doubt, Facebook is still the 800 pound gorilla of the social networking world and should be incorporated into every company’s social media marketing plan in one way or another.
But in the last year or so I’ve noticed a growing trend when it comes to Facebook marketing—companies are giving their Facebook profiles a lot of “face time” on all of their marketing platforms—TV commercials, radio ads and print ads invite consumers to Like a company on Facebook; websites publish big “Find Us on Facebook” banners on prime page real estate and entire marketing campaigns are built with around the goal of getting more Facebook fans. While I think it’s great that so many companies are invested in having a strong social presence, it’s important to remember that every time you promote your Facebook page it’s Facebook that could reap the most benefits in the long run, not necessarily your company. If you’re not careful, your Facebook marketing just markets Facebook!
In my opinion, Facebook is not a place of commerce; people don’t head over to Facebook with the intent to buy. They go to check in with their friends, post funny videos or breaking news, upload photos from their family vacation, plan parties and so forth. Even though Facebook is doing all it can to become a one-stop-online-shop for users it’s still mostly a social site. When you promote your Facebook page, you are encouraging your target audience to check out Facebook INSTEAD of coming to your website. Facebook is the one that benefits from all of your traffic!
Think about it like this—let’s say someone does heed your call-to-action and searches for your company on Facebook. Once they are on your Facebook page, where do they go from there? Sure, they could click over to your website or blog (the end goal of any Facebook marketing campaign), but there are literally dozens of other links on you Facebook page that could take them away from your brand. Never mind the fact that their own profile and home page is just a click away, Facebook also puts ads in the side bar on your page. You might be advertising your own competitors! The last thing any site wants to do is send a targeted customer over to the competition.
Now I am not saying that companies should stop promoting their Facebook profiles altogether. Having a social presence is critical to online success today, and obviously you want to make sure your audience knows where they can find, connect and interact with your brand online. However, I am suggesting that site owners take a good hard look at their Facebook marketing tactics. The end goal should never be just “get more Fans.” You want to use your Facebook profile as a gateway to send more qualified visitors over to your site. Don’t turn Facebook into the end destination otherwise Facebook reaps all the benefits while you do all the work.