Facebook Is a Revolutionary Business Tool, but It Isn’t Magical Marketing Pixie Dust

With 9 billion users, Facebook is far and away the most famous social network in the world. If Facebook were a country, it would have the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook possesses its own unique customs and norms, and you need to understand them to be able to fully leverage the site’s potential as a marketing tool. When I see businesses fail on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t bother to learn the local customs.

Tread lightly

What makes Facebook so unique among all social networks? It’s the reality that users of the site have strong connections with one another. Folks are connected with their best friends, their immediate family as well as their close relatives. They share detailed aspects of their lives. Stuff like:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • High school graduation footage
  • Baby photos
  • Wedding announcements
  • Anniversaries

What does this mean for businesses (like yours) using Facebook as a marketing platform? It’s means you have to be low-key and conscientious in your technique. You can’t use the old forms of top-down, bullhorn-style marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to hear your sales pitch. They’re there to connect with friends and family. Respect that, and you’ll be respected and accepted.

Keep it real (for real)

If you are attempting to port the old style of marketing into Facebook, you will be disappointed. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokesperson. “But Facebook is all about authenticity, if your company is not being authentic or engaging with users in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”

If you’re doing it right, it’s hard

Marketing on Facebook is amazingly effective. But it’s also very hard (and equally rewarding) if you do it right. Many businesses believe that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. But it takes much more of a commitment than that. Don’t be lured by social media sirens who make crazy promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about building relationships and influence—which requires time. But the payback is definitely worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of companies involved in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of engagement, according to a study from Social Media Examiner.

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