Last week I wrote, or should we say parroted what I heard an expert, Guy Kawasaki say about how to get more followers in social media.
I'd like to give my opinion now, specifically on Facebook for business. For small business and the self-employed to qualify.
As with everything there's the yin and yang. If you're looking to generate new business with it - forget it. Full stop a jolly waste of time -especially for our time poor generation.
If you're looking at it as a communication channel with a specific group you know will be on it - go for it.
First the good, the specific communication channel. If you employ teens and young adults, you'd be smart as can be creating a private Facebook group for staff - and this is where you make announcements in addition to your normal means. Tim Jones of Cigana Café' says that this is how his staff work out trading and filling shifts, with immediate results.
The kids' sporting groups (rowing, hockey, soccer) all have groups where they find out about the next game, rides the like. If you have a community - such as an apartment building, a retirement village, a club or group - creating a closed group could have benefits.
Otherwise forget Facebook. Even if you're altruistic and only want to carry on conversations with your customers and prospects - you're wasting your time. Why?
1. It's darn hard to get followers.
When I started on Facebook, I worked diligently to try to get fans. As a marketer and writer of course I did all the right engaging activity - content, contests, quizzes, thoughts, pictures, humour etc etc etc. Even with steady posting, a monthly newsletter that goes out to over 17,000, weekly online articles in the media, a like on every page of my website, I could only generate the 1200 or so fans. Whereas I've got business from LinkedIn, tons from my newsletter - not a drop has come in from Facebook. So if someone with a public profile can't get fans, how can the average small business get more than 100? They don't. Empty room.
2. Empty room.
You'll be putting your time and effort into talking to an empty room. For example even though I have 1200 plus followers my last six posting were visible to only groups of fans between 200 and 465. Trying to get your posts shown now is like trying to fight the crowds all vying for a top Google ranking. And of those 200 - 465 - will they be online to see those posts?
3. Kids have time to schmooze.
Adults for the most part don't. If your target market is middle aged decision makers - you'll miss them concentrating in this avenue.
4. Are kids really using it?
Each night I have six kids sitting at home on their phones or computers. The twins who are 20 both said they're over it and rarely use Facebook. Of the triplets only two use it and most is through the online chat instead of texting friends.
5. Conversations don't equal dollars.
If you need to increase income - spend time on the right activity creating it.
One last thought. For those who say that the kids are the future and they're right in to social media. I wonder what will happen when they grow into the working parent, supporting the family, making dinner, mowing the lawn and managing the home? How much playing time will they have on Facebook - especially dealing with those paid for targeted posts?