Do You or Your Business Need a Facebook Page?
Just a couple years ago Facebook pages were everywhere. It was automatic that a business had to have a Facebook page or they were never going to be seen. Fast-forward to now and I hardly ever see them mentioned on TV, business cards, or anywhere else. People rarely even talk about a page that I need to check out unless it’s their’s and they were just starting out. It’s crazy how fast this internet moves and fads come in and out.
Well, in this case the word “fad” might not be appropriate to use. Facebook Pages really aren’t fad’ish. They were just new and not many people understood them. At the same time, marketers were rushing to figure out the angles and tell everyone they needed one. The “Page Rush” was here then gone once people wised up and figured out that their reach was dismal, and they now needed to pay money if they wanted to be seen.
The “Page Rush” was here then gone once people wised up and figured out that their reach was dismal, and they now needed to pay money if they wanted to be seen.
I quoted that last line because that was the key to those pesky “News at 11, and like us on our fanpage
The most potent reason that you will be seen less is that as the population of Facebook grows (about 1.4 billion people at the moment), the less space there is in someone’s newsfeed. Facebook has no incentive to put content from a non-paying page into my newsfeed when they can put a piece of content from USA Today there instead and get some kickbacks. I have no idea if USA Today has that relationship or not, but it’s the premise I am after. People on average see no more than 300 posts per day in their feed. Power users may get up to 1500 posts loaded. Facebook has to give users what they want to see otherwise users will not be addicted to checking the social site all the time.
Everyone was being very naive about Facebook being free, forever. It’s like any lucrative business that gets you hooked on the product then charging you for it. Seems like I heard that in a D.A.R.E. class or something. Anyone doing business and using a Facebook page now has to pay if they want to be seen. The exception are those pages that are consistently putting out great content and are being shared. Facebook will give those pages some exposure in return for putting interesting stuff out there. When you create a post these days, Facebook asks if you want to pay-to-play and boost the reach that might see your content.
There are two camps at work here. There are those that are downright pissed that all their effort led to Facebook charging them to be seen. On the other side are those that expected it and are happy to pay because there is now less competition to buy ads and boost posts. I can certainly see both sides, but this isn’t a post about convincing you to spend money on a page. This is about even bothering with a page.
Why Should You
Let’s start with the reasons why you should have a page. Having a page filled out at least gives people your contact information, a link to your website, and whatever else you decide to put there. Another compelling reason is to get a vanity URL before someone else gets it. That is protecting your brand 101. I reserve all my pages on most platforms as soon as I can. Adding your cover image, profile pic and some basic contact info is a must. You don’t need to post every day or even at all to establish a basic presence.
I simply setup shop, get the vanity URL, dress the page out, and add 1 post saying thanks for stopping by and that we don’t use Facebook currently. That’s it. It’s just to set it up and move along. You might notice that I rarely post to my “Adam Mulholland” page and if my staffing ever changes then I may consider doing it more.
Some other reasons are that people may come across it through search engine results, or just searching Facebook itself. If you didn’t spend the 20 minutes setting one up then it’s one less opportunity for people to find you. Facebook added a button that allows you to link to your site over the cover image in the bottom right corner. They are known as “Call to Action” buttons. I usually use the “Sign Up” ones that link to a registration page for a community. There are plenty of others as well.
You should also use a page if you can churn out original content and stuff that people are really interested in. If it’s you and a few friends or some employees that have the time and the skills to get seen then I would give you a thumbs up. You have to commit for the long term though. It could take a while to build a following. Remember to focus on imagery and native Facebook videos. Anyone with the resources can take home big wins with a solid page that people love to visit. The majority of page owners do not fit inside this category though.
Why Should You Not
The biggest reason why I don’t recommend using a Facebook page is the amount of effort that goes into getting meager results, never mind big results. I have heard people say, “It takes a few minutes to just post something brah”. Yes I agree, but not if you are doing it right. Many pages just circulate garbage memes, or some stuff from Reddit and for the most part it works. I am not sure why it works exactly (I have a hunch though), but it’s still low-quality. Creating original content that gets traction takes time. The actual posting of it takes no more than a minute. It’s the preparation and research that goes into it that I can’t justify without a team or adding a few hours to the 24-hour day.
Like anything though, the exception is that if you put out quality content consistently then people will come. A page that comes to mind is the ILFScience (I Fucking Love Science) page. They are doing some great work and understand what it takes to be more than just a page. I remember when they were just starting out, and now they are just owning it. Ask yourself if you can play at their level and be honest with yourself.
Facebook converts traffic, but it can be very challenging. I have a page with 32K+ fans and I can tell you that in my prime, posting everyday and engaging with people, that I rarely brought more than 40-50 clicks to my website. Any calls for contributions were largely unheard and it was a hard realization that people don’t leave Facebook very often. When they do, it tends to be higher quality traffic than anything from Stumble Upon and Twitter. My personal experience brought a limited amount of success for the large effort that went into it. Other experiences may differ.
You can be putting that effort that would be in a page to something like Pinterest or Twitter and see bigger gains and conversions. A lot of this depends on your skill and what niche you are trying to convert. Some topics drive massive amounts of traffic, while others do not. Other platforms still require quality content and time, however, I have noticed a substantial return for doing so. It took me 3-months on Twitter to convert the amount of traffic that took me 18-months to do so from a Facebook page.
A page needs more attention than just researching, creating and posting great content. You also need to know how to get people to find you. You can do this by logging in as the page and liking other pages and engaging in posts. It takes some time to train yourself on what works and doesn’t on the platform. Factor this into your decision as well.
The last reason I will give is that Facebook can’t be trusted. It’s a company and your experience can change on their whim. Just ask Eat24 about this in their breakup letter to Facebook. They are free to change their policy, Terms of Service, or how they conduct business. You have no say so in what their future platform will look like. This risk is on every platform though and this is why I always encourage for people to start with their own website then branch out.
I could have listed more in each section but I wanted to put the big nuggets that matter the most to me when I have to make a decision. Hands down, I feel that Facebook Pages are a waste to maintain unless you have the creativity to produce awesome original content, and you can do it everyday. A page is a full-time job that doesn’t pay overtime. There are plenty of successful pages that can do this, so it’s not impossible. I do not have the luxury though. I am creative but I have very limited time and I would rather invest it into my website rather than someone else’s.
If you are like me you will come to the same conclusion. I came to this when the last time I posted to my 32K-fan page, 103 people saw it. I asked why am I here? This is only my experience and I hope that if you have had a different experience that you share it in the comments below. The more information someone has, the better informed decision they can make.
I firmly believe that time is precious and that it has to be invested in the right places. This means places that have exponential returns for your efforts. I know, if those places existed then we would all be there. I would rather see someone start a Facebook group instead of a page. Go ahead and get a page to reserve your spot. Then move on to build great content on your site and engage with people on Twitter or somewhere else that you prefer.
If you agree, disagree, or just have something to say or ask, please leave a comment below. Tell me if you would still open a page and why. On the other hand, tell me why you are closing yours.