Why Marketing on Facebook Can be a Terrible Idea

Alan BelniakMarketing, Social Media2 Comments

2010 Ghost Town in the Skyphoto © 2010 Mike Burton | more info (via: Wylio)

I was listening to CNET’s Buzz Out Loud recently (see link below), and they were talking about the impending sale of MySpace.  Co-host Molly Wood had a great point, the inspiration for this post: “Facebook will not last forever – nobody ever does.” (the story starts around the 15-minute mark, and is about three minutes long,)

This got me thinking about the life cycles of juggernauts.  Six years ago (or so), MySpace and Yahoo were kings of the world.  And today, well, they aren’t.  Facebook is now king of the social networks.  It’s hard to believe that they may not be king or relevant in six years, but it’s a distinct possibility.

And so what does that mean to the online market space, the online customer space, or your job as a marketer or product manager?

Facebook is a Platform, and They Own It

It means that having a Facebook strategy as your marketing strategy isn’t a good idea.  Ditto that for Twitter.  Instead, as with all of these tools, focus on what these tools permit: social interactions (even if they are digital).  Focus on the fact that they let you connect with your customers and prospects even when they are not in front of your face.  Use them to supplement (not entirely replace) human interaction.

And use the skills you’d use when having a face to face conversation when interacting online.  Too often I hear the following complaint: “I just don’t know what to say.” “I’m not interesting.” “How do I respond to that comment that a blogger or tweeter made?” My response for all of these is the following (as a matter of general discourse): pretend you are at a tradeshow, staffing a booth.  A prospect or customer comes up and asks you the same question.  What’s your response?  Nothing?  Or do you thank them for coming up to you, ask them about them, ask a follow-up question to get more information, and then answer?  Boom.  Or, maybe you don’t know.  What do you do then?  You say that you don’t know and you promise to follow up with them when you get more information. Boom again.

Put the ‘social’ back into ‘social media’

These new-fangled online digital tools are just that – tools.  Use them to interact when you can’t be there in person.  And learning how to master Facebook at the expense of Twitter, LinkedIn, or abandoning face to face communication is going to have you back at square one in six years.  Facebook is a platform and it’s not even your platform.  If it goes away tomorrow, it’s a ghost town.  And all your efforts evaporate.  Use it, but use it wisely.

CNET podcast: http://www.cnet.com/8301-19709_1-20050522-10.html?tag=mncol;title

Molly Wood on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/mollywood

MySpace bake-off story: http://kara.allthingsd.com/20110404/myspace-bake-off-starts-wednesday-and-despite-reports-no-bidder-in-lead-and-no-zynga-interest-either/


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