I used to have a Facebook account. For several months I wasted an hour a day looking at other people’s babies, pets, and gardens. Then I ill-advisedly said “yes” to a friend request from someone who filled up my entire screen with Beatles lyrics. I pulled the plug the next day and haven’t missed it. That is, until lately.
Lately I’ve been running a small business and the universal advice from the SBDC staff and the internet experts is that a BUSINESS needs a Facebook page as an integral part of a marketing plan. I can certainly see that in the retail sector; it’s the business-to-business aspect I have some doubts about. If I were promoting a rock band, or a local restaurant or bakery I’d be on Facebook. But I’m not and although I can see the logic of using a Facebook page to drive traffic to my blog, I’m holding out for a while. Ideally I’d rather skip the Facebook part altogether.
It seems that every day in the news we are reminded of Facebook’s shortcomings as a corporate citizen. The other days it was announced that the company would settle a class-action suit for $20M ( a pittance in Facebook-land) for having used the profiles of Facebook users beside the product they had “liked”. Far more common are stories about Facebook’s effects on individuals, such as the story the other day on CNN Money about lenders checking whether a applicant’s FB friends are delinquent on THEIR loans.
If you want an example of positive use of Facebook, the affable Bill Prescott has done internet marketing at both Los Bagels and (currently) the Sun Valley Group, and has done many successful promotions with contests, mascots to enhance the brand name, and a habit of posting USEFUL information for the users. To set up a business page, you first need to set up a regular account, and add the business account. The regular account is NOT the old FB page you’ve been using to post pictures of your kitty. Bill gave a presentation at the SBCD the other day and his enthusiasm was so infectious he has just about won me over. Then I swing back the other way- just another damn thing to keep track of.
What about you? Does your business use Facebook or any other type of internet marketing? What has been your return on investment? On your time spent? We’d love to hear from you.