There’s been a streak of marketing lately from people selling Facebook marketing courses, and as a results I’ve had some questions about whether or not it’s smart to have a Facebook business page (they used to be called ‘fanpages’).
Facebook is becoming a business platform more than a social network. It’s angled heavily for business now, which is fine in principle, but their execution sucks.
Currently, Facebook presents fantastic opportunities for business owners right now, but I’m not going to have any part of it.
Why? Because it’s scammy. I do see a lot of great opportunities on FB right now, but the way they’re approaching their business is a short game, and that’s not how I roll. It’s also not what I recommend to clients I think every business owner should look at Facebook carefully right now, because we’re watching a disaster in the making.
It’s marketing with a social media skin. Facebook is monetizing their user base, which is fine. But they’re using covert tactics, and making their user accounts very accessible to marketing messages, and most users don’t understand this.
- Do you want to reach a LOT of people with your message? If so, then on the surface it may seem like Facebook is a great way to do it.
- Do you want your users to actually trust and accept your marketing? If so, then you need to be very careful with how you proceed to market yourself on Facebook.
For example, did you know that when you click the ‘like’ button for one of your favorite businesses, gurus or celebrities, you’re also automatically signing up for their email list? What’s wrong with this? Three things:
- Are you asked if you want to receive email from them? No.
- Are you asked to confirm your email subscription? No. You’re just automatically on their email list now.
- Is there an opt-out link or any clear way to get off an email list once your on? Again…that would be a ‘no’.
This is the OPPOSITE of permission-based marketing, which is what social media marketing is SUPPOSED to be all about. This is just one of many, many examples. It causes users’ inboxes to get flooded with marketing messages they didn’t anticipate, and most users don’t know how to get off the email list.
Check this out…as a marketer, I can go in and create a new group on Facebook for free. Then I can add you to that group without reference to you…completely without your permission or even your knowledge. And you will then start to get email from that group. Again…automatically. And if you don’t want the email, it’s then up to you to figure out where the email is even coming from, and it’s up to you to figure out how to get off the list. Sounds great, huh?
Again, it’s a short term marketing opportunity for business owners. I have no inherent fight with anyone who uses Facebook for marketing. Why? Because there are many ways to do it ethically. But you really need to learn the platform, and you need to respect your users, or you WILL end up alienating them. In fact, Facebook encourages it.
When you take a massive network like this, and you flip it around without people’s knowledge and turn it into a marketing platform which presents itself as a social network, you’re asking for trouble. Is Facebook still free for personal accounts? Yes. Does Facebook have every right to monetize it’s platform? Of course. My criticism of Facebook is not that they’re monetizing. My criticism is that they’re doing it in a really sketchy way, and their user base WILL retaliate.