As the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook is unique in bringing two billion people under one roof. Yet many companies – especially small ones – have no presence beyond brief mentions in personal accounts belonging to their staff. As companies begin to map out 2018’s marketing strategies, is a company Facebook page a necessity or a luxury?
Crucially, Facebook is free to use. As a result, most people in the UK have a Facebook account. Your customers are already here, and so are many of your competitors. People already browsing Facebook often use its powerful Search tool rather than visiting Google, giving businesses with a Facebook page a distinct advantage in terms of instant visibility and direct communications. Facebook Messenger is an excellent tool for one-to-one engagement, too.
Even if someone isn’t searching for you through Facebook, likes and comments from existing friends will appear in their timeline. Targeted advertising represents a more direct approach, using either conventional adverts or promoted posts. Budgets can be set in various ways, from maximum campaign spend to cost per click. There’s endless potential for targeting particular demographics, from age and gender to location and interests. Once traffic starts arriving on your page, Facebook’s in-depth analytics tools break down engagement levels and audience demographics. These reports may influence future content or campaigns.
Given its popularity, content published on Facebook instantly has traction with search engines. A company Facebook page provides invaluable link-building for your website or other platforms, and newly published external content can simultaneously be posted on Facebook. This increases the total audience for each new post or blog, while a preview on Twitter or Snapchat with an inbound link should drive additional traffic to your page.
Some people have an innate dislike of Facebook, particularly younger and more privacy-conscious audiences. The days of publicly documenting our lives via social media are drawing to a close, which is why teenagers are migrating onto encrypted communications platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp. Basically, Facebook isn’t cool any more. That’s especially true when a company Facebook page is managed by someone unfamiliar with modern culture, or lacking sufficient wit to make content feel engaging and fresh.
The public nature of social media accounts means criticism is hard to delete, and one negative review might haunt your page for ages. Deleting bad comments is extremely inadvisable for all sorts of reasons, and it may not be possible to redirect irate customers into private messaging channels. Complaints could even go viral, with catastrophic consequences in terms of PR. It’s also ironic that many users are scathing about Facebook’s own customer service levels, particularly in terms of billing issues or resolving security breaches.
Facebook is a fairly unintuitive and resource-hungry platform, and regular original content is needed to stop pages looking neglected. Unless you have a healthy advertising budget or marketing personnel, it’s often hard to raise follower levels beyond double figures. New posts aren’t even guaranteed to appear in user timelines, due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm displaying content according to previous interactions. That’s dispiriting if you’ve spent ages crafting something that ends up achieving limited coverage. The only way to guarantee page views involves advertising, which quickly becomes a significant financial drain.
A company Facebook page requires a regular supply of interesting and original content to remain relevant. However, it offers compelling advantages in terms of SEO and reaching new audiences. Even though younger people are deserting the platform, Facebook retains enough regular visitors to justify creating a company page. It’s hard to argue with free marketing, after all…