Is Facebook right for your business?

Mystery Cookie Pic #2Business owners often hire me to create Facebook pages for them. In many cases, Facebook business pages are a good marketing tool, but not always. For some industries, Facebook simply doesn’t work to grow or engage audiences.

I have a client, Sweet Themes Bakery, in Kent, Washington that’s had great success with its Facebook page. We post the bakery’s daily specials and photos of the day’s treats. We also engage readers by posting “mystery cookie” photos as they go through various stages of decoration. Our fans try to guess what shape the cookie will eventually take (e.g., sock monkey, the Incredible Hulk, etc.). For this business, Facebook makes sense. The reach is broad and immediate.

I’ve had two other clients that are financial planners that have had very little success. We post to Facebook at least daily, asking simple questions (e.g., are you concerned you’ll run out of money in retirement), posting links to topical news and sometimes adding a hint of fun like the top 10 places in the world to retire. In both cases, growing our audience was difficult.

Why? If I had to guess, it is because Facebook is not the place you’d look for a financial planner or advisor. Instead, you might select someone you know personally or have been referred to by a trusted friend. You aren’t searching on Facebook for this type of professional, so why would you like someone’s page and follow their posts? You probably wouldn’t. There is also not a sense of immediacy or a simple call to action.

If you are thinking about using Facebook for your business, I’d encourage you to think about your industry and take a close look at your target audience. Is Facebook likely to produce results for you? Will you attract fans that you can convert to clients or are your page’s “likes” only going to come from your friends? If you’re not  sure, search on Facebook for similar businesses to see what type of success they’ve had. You might also consult your community’s local small business development office for advice.

My advice:  Go ahead and create a Facebook page for your business, tell your Facebook friends about it and see what happens. Devote a set amount of time to it, and measure your results weekly using Facebook’s Insights utility. Based on your own experience and research, select an appropriate amount of time to devote to Facebook, but don’t put all of your eggs in this marketing basket. Consider a mix of marketing tools. Good luck!


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