Social media is the biggest buzzword in modern marketing. And as we all know, Facebook is at the forefront of the revolution. So it is no wonder businesses of all sizes and specialities throughout the world are eager to establish a social presence. Unfortunately, however, many businesses are motivated by anxiety about being ‘left behind,’ rather than by well-informed, goal-oriented aims. In their rush to keep up, many companies are inadvertently setting themselves back and undermining their otherwise effective business models. Here’s how Facebook can spoil your business:
One of Facebook’s greatest strengths is its ability to disseminate and firmly entrench brands in the minds of consumers. But it can just as effectively destroy a brand, too. If the image your company conveys on Facebook runs contrary to your ethos or alters the aesthetic of your established brand, it can drastically undermine your most valuable marketing cue, confuse customers, and shatter your company’s market niche.
Another common mistake is trying to market on Facebook without any consumer base to market to in the first place. Business-to-business companies waste time on Facebook reaching out to individuals who will never become clients. If your company is business-to-business, skip FB and focus on sites like LinkedIn instead.
Time is Money
Although Facebook can be a powerful marketing platform, it can also be an enormous resource drain. Without an explicit plan, clear goals, and proper time management, Facebook can quickly become a massive waste of time. As anyone with a personal page will tell you, social media can quickly become an avenue for procrastination and distraction. You should calculate your social media ROI to see if all the time you are spending is really worth it.
Like all aspects of the business world, Facebook marketing is fueled by competition. Companies–especially those just launching their campaigns–can become discouraged when comparing themselves to competitors with firmly established pages. And competitors can also use Facebook for direct negative campaigns, drawing attention to faults and bringing bad press. So if you want to market socially, you need to be prepared to hold your own.
Becoming the Butt of the Joke
Like it or not, humor is an essential and unavoidable part of social media. This unfortunately includes mockery, derision, and even downright insult. So companies marketing on Facebook must have a tough skin and a quick wit if they hope to run a successful campaign; otherwise, the sharp wit of ‘fans’ and ‘friends’ can easily turn your business into the butt of a joke. In serious cases, a humorous criticism gone viral can destroy a company’s image and pave the road to bankruptcy.
These are just a few of the most glaring ways Facebook can become a marketing disaster–and the list of potential setbacks is a long one. But if we boil the issue down, it becomes apparent that most of these problems stem from a single source: misunderstanding social media. As a platform for building human connections, stimulating discussions, making jokes, and showing the human faces behind corporate veneers, Facebook is not for everyone. Because their company image is incompatible, some businesses simply aren’t cut out for this type of networking, and waste resources pursuing superfluous marketing strategies. In other cases, companies fail to recognize and effectively convey their business ethos. In doing so, they undermine their image by focusing too much on social media models that don’t align with their company culture.
Ultimately, effective Facebook marketing is about knowing where your strengths lie and understanding the way Facebook campaigns connect brands with customers. Without a plan, explicit aims, and a clear direction, Facebook is a waste of time and money for your business. While Facebook is indeed a social platform, businesses should never blur the line social/business line, professionalism is a must at all times.
About the author: Kirsten works for Voucher Cloud within social media and launches voucher campaigns through Facebook to generate a buzz around the brand she is working with. She is currently working on the latest New Look discounts campaign http://www.vouchercloud.com/new-look-vouchers. She finds Facebook a great marketing tool, but only if used wisely.