You may very well be asking the question posed in the title of this post because you’ve been following the recent damning Facebook whistleblower testimony, or maybe you’ve just had this sinking feeling for several years.
While I don’t think being on Facebook is at this point detrimental to a small business brand the way it might be for a publicly traded company the question is – Does it still make sense for a small business from the standpoint of meeting business and marketing objectives to invest time and money in Facebook?
In certain instances, maybe but with several big caveats.
Do you already have a decent following, and do you already have substantial engagement?
Without both, time spent posting on FB will have little impact now and certainly in the future – far too many small biz folks jumped into Facebook and mostly posted uselessness, and FB is making them pay for that. (Literally)
For at least five years now, I’ve been preaching about the need to post fun, fascinating, and culture-based stuff for organic reach and then pay for business and sales reach.
For most small businesses today, Facebook has taken away organic reach and made paid reach so much harder, more competitive, and more expensive.
So to me, the question becomes one of priorities.
There are probably five other more practical uses of time and money for most small businesses, so make the choice and stay focused.
In general, social media platforms see us as part of the product, not as customers of the product. They have realized that they need us here clicking, scrolling, and commenting to grow the product. But unfortunately, they’ve also learned that they can amplify this activity by appealing to the worst in us in many cases. And that’s the real problem.
t doesn’t matter whether you believe the details shared by the whistleblower or which side of the political chasm you fall on – the future of social media is based on this dynamic and probably does not bode well for small business growth.
When considering platforms today, we must consider a prospect’s research intent – Facebook is set up today in ways that might work for someone selling polarization and opinion in noisy ways.
But is someone considering a plumbing project because they happened to be scrolling through the noisy newsfeed? Are they clicking on ads for the plumber because the ad is so much more compelling than the ad for skittles that they just saw?
I don’t wonder much about either of those anymore.
Facebook can have a place for small businesses, but not one that comes before creating a better customer experience, discovering how to grow and scale with existing customers, or finding ways to generate referrals.
For most of the folks we work with, social media, in general, is a lazy and misleadingly costly way to market.
It’s time to let it slide, not as a political statement but as a marketing priority.