Friday, May 4, 2012

Facebook is no substitute for advertising

Reason #4,389 businesses think they don't need advertising: "I get enough publicity through Facebook."

We can understand that. With everything Facebook can do for free, it's easy to think it can build a brand for free, too. It's also very, very wrong.

Here are a few things people say to convince us that Facebook is just as good as advertising... and why we're not convinced.

"Facebook is how new customers find us."
Does anyone ever truly "find" a business they've never heard of on Facebook? More likely, they'll visit you in real life first, THEN find you on Facebook. They're existing customers, not new ones. If your goal is for someone to buy from you, they've usually done that by the time they see your company profile. They already liked you before they "Liked" you. Same goes for people: You meet them in real life first, THEN friend them. Unless you're creepy.

"Why pay for a website when Facebook is free?"
This only makes sense if your goal is to stand out as little as possible. Because currently, the only ways to really differentiate yourself on Facebook are through a profile picture and cover photo. Meanwhile, your competition will use ads, websites, and whatever else it takes to beat you. Think your Facebook page is enough to stop them? Ever heard the expression "Taking a knife to a gun fight?"

"But if someone Likes us, their friends will see it!"
Sure, if Likes weren't the hardest things to see on the whole site. When someone "Likes" you, it pops up on the news feed. "Steve likes Hopmonster Brewery." Yes! Free publicity! Two seconds later, that measly little line is pushed down by a friend's hilarious status update. Then by pictures of someone's vacation (or more likely, their baby). Then by an entertaining news story - also with pictures. In just a few minutes, your free PR is swept away and buried. So much for that.

OK, that's enough Facebook-bashing for now. After all, we're probably using it as you read this. It's one of the greatest inventions of our time, one that can help you find old friends, and turn acquaintances into new friends.

And best of all, it's FREE!

Just beware: You'll get what you paid for.

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