To use Facebook or not to use Facebook? That is indeed a question us business marketers want answered. The unwavering Facebook force is continuing its quest for online world domination and leaving competing businesses no choice but to buddy up to its efforts. Yahoo and other former Facebook rivals are becoming fast friends as they try to profit from some of the Facebooking hype. So, is Facebook a friend or foe for your own business?
Before online marketers decide if it is worth dedicating their manpower to this global social obsession, they often ask:
- Will "likes" become leads for our competitors?
- Will Facebook business/product pages help increase our fan base, our conversions and, ultimately, our ROI?
- And, at the end of the day, will the benefits of Facebook beat out the burdens?
Each Facebook ad costs money, as does the amount of time you spend working on your Facebook page. Therefore, to really know if it is worth your while, these are the questions you should really be answering:
- What percentage of Facebook ads generates clicks to our site?
- What percentage of those clicks become leads?
- And, last but not least, what percentage of those leads ultimately converts to sales?
Measuring Your Bottom-line
Once upon a time, online businesses questioned whether they could indeed measure the impact social network profiles/pages were having on their bottom-line. Today, there's no question. Powerful web analytics tools, such as conversion funnels, can not only tell you the original referrer of your visitors (ex. Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc), but also actually show you what these visitors do once they arrive to your site. See exactly where your traffic is coming from and if it is generating profit for your business.
The Social Advantage
If you are a business, online or off, you should be making your name heard, initiating customer buzz and encouraging corporate social strategy.
Small local businesses, for example, have done very well with Facebook, as fans of the page who voice their "likes" are able to quickly spread the word about your business to others. These are customers that want to get to your store, buy your products or take part in the local buzz about your name.
You're Either In or You're Out
Alright, let's say you put in the time and effort to create a lovely Facebook page for your business with solid images and well written descriptions of your company, products and services. Now what?
Facebook, whether you use it for personal use or business use, is still a social network. Therefore, a huge requirement for corporate success is the continuity of your social interactions with your customers. Just as an empty shop or restaurant is never a nod of encouragement for a curious visitor, lack of Facebook activity could discourage potential customers. This includes large gaps of time between posts, infrequent discussions, lack of fan participation, or simply a complete lack of fans!
If it is that solid "like" of approval you seek and you have the marketing budget and time to invest, go for it. However, do not feel pressured to make the Facebook engagement. There are plenty of ways to have your business heard, be it via blogs, Twitter, or other online marketing channels. Decide what is best for you!