As a web designer and computer consultant on the side, I’m often asked by clients who are just getting started online “Do I need to create a Facebook page for my business?” While my answer is almost an unequivocal “Yes!” there are a few special circumstances in which I would not advise a Facebook business page. Or at the least, I would advise holding off for a while if any of these apply to you:
Computers are just not your thing. One my clients is a master woodworker; he spends most of his day in the shop among piles of sawdust and shavings. He’s an elderly gentleman and uses his minimal computer skills to keep in touch with family and friends via email. Customers know they can call him anytime on his cell phone. There’s very little, if anything, that Facebook could do to benefit his business. And even if there was, he has no interest in investing the time to reap those benefits because he has never liked working with a computer, and never will. He’s comfortable with the amount of business he’s getting right now, and word of mouth is working fantastically to bring in more clients at a pace he can handle. Maintaining an active Facebook presence would be both distracting and frustrating.
You don’t want more commitments. Time is precious and Facebook will definitely eat. It’s another thing to check into every day. Another thing to keep updated. Another channel of communication with customers. Busy professionals have to pick and choose what they will invest their time in. In what ways do you (and don’t you) want to be available to your clients? If you are so busy that adding Facebook onto your plate is going to be a source of stress, then don’t add it. There is a workaround to this, however. Perhaps there’s a friend or family member that will be your “social media manager.” Or if you have the resources, personnel can be hired to fill this role.
You don’t like Facebook. It’s a legitimate gripe. Some people just don’t like the venue, and they shouldn’t be pressured to be on Facebook against their personal preferences. There are many professionals who still prefer to deal with their customers in a direct way – via phone or in person. Email is a necessary evil. Facebook? Forget it! Posting links and photos and competing for likes and comments just isn’t their style. If Facebook does not appeal to you at all, don’t force it on your business. It will become a chore, and something you put off. Your page is much more likely to become a ghost town after a while. Or worse, customers will get fed up with being ignored.
You expect too much of Facebook. There are some common misconceptions about what Facebook can do for a business. It isn’t meant to build up your contact list. It doesn’t always drive traffic to your website. Likes and comments don’t always translate into real customers and short term sales. And it certainly doesn’t guarantee that 500 likes means 500 people will see what you post (it might be closer to only 5% of that number). Expecting too much, or the wrong things, can lead to big disappointments for professionals who have invested time and money into Facebook. Facebook is simply another online presence for your business. It’s another place to share content and engage an audience. But it’s no substitute for a quality website that YOU own and control, and (so far) it hasn’t replaced or surpassed more traditional modes of advertising in terms of effectiveness.
Are you on the fence about Facebook? Can you think of a situation where it might not be a good fit for a business?