6 Facebook Myths Worth Debunking

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Facebook Myths“How do I get more Facebook fans?” is a question I hear from a lot of small businesses and non-profits these days.

In fact, I was looking through the analytics of flyte’s web marketing blog to see what the most popular search terms were, and a lot were focused on “growing a Facebook fan base,” “how do I get more Facebook fans,” and–sadly, “how to buy Facebook fans.”

Here’s the thing: it may not be in your best interest to get more Facebook fans. 

People believe a lot when it comes to Facebook marketing because they’ve read it on the web or they’ve heard it from friends.

Here are five myths about Facebook and Facebook marketing that need to be debunked so that you can grow your business with Facebook…or without it. 

Myth #1: You need to be on Facebook.

A few years ago, when Facebook was starting to experience its exponential growth, it was understandable that businesses and non-profits wanted to jump on board.

  • Facebook was free. Unlike traditional media, you could reach your audience without having to pay a gatekeeper.
  • There was little competition for attention. For many of us, our competitors weren’t on Facebook, or even if they were, they sucked at it. Getting started and getting in front of our fans was easy. 
  • It helped differentiate you from your competition. With so few of your competitors marketing themselves well on Facebook, it made you stand out.

Now, none of that is really true. 

Managing a Facebook presence takes time and resources. Either you’re dedicating staff time to creating a page and updating your page daily, or you’re hiring an outside firm to do it for you.

There are more people on Facebook. While that sounds like a good thing, what it really means is that you have more competition to get seen in your fans’ newsfeed, because they’re getting so many more updates from friends.

There are more brands on Facebook. Seemingly every business, from multinational conglomerations to the corner liquor store is on Facebook. You’re no longer differentiating yourself from the competition, you’re part of the herd.

Moooo.

To get any sort of attention, you’re going to need to spend money on Facebook advertising to build your fan base. And even then you may not get seen. Because of EdgeRank, on average only 16% of your fans even see your latest update. How to overcome EdgeRank? Spend more money on advertising.

So much for free marketing.

Facebook marketing today means spending money to get set up, spending money to build a fan base, spending money to create engaging content, and spending money to get that content seen by people who have already liked your page. 

All this to be a me-too company.

Yay!

Myth #2: You need to have a Facebook business page.

Likes don’t pay the bills, comments don’t keep the lights on, and shares don’t cover the rent.

Sure, they may make you feel good, like a compliment from an attractive stranger, but they don’t help your bottom line.

There are a number of businesses out there that use Facebook successfully without have a Facebook page. 

I was recently reading about a realtor who sells million dollar homes in the US to wealthy Mexican families. (I wish I could find where I read this. If you know, let me know in the comments below.) Rather than spend time and energy creating content every day for people who might be in the market for a home, he used targeted Facebook ads to identify his ideal customer and place ads in and around their newsfeed.

Sure, these ads cost money, but by narrowly targeting the ads, and paying only for click-throughs, he could reach more prospects for less money than creating and maintaining a Facebook business page.

If your audience doesn’t need to engage with your regularly (realtors, car dealerships, travel agents, etc.,) ads may offer better ROI than pages. Likewise, if you just don’t have the energy or resources to create fresh content on a regular basis, ads may be a preferable way to build your business using Facebook.

Myth #3: More fans means more reach.

If all you want is fans, that’s easy. Head over to Fiver.com and do a search for “Facebook fans.” You can get 100, 400, even 1,500 “high quality” Facebook fans. 

More Facebook Fans...Guaranteed!

As a test, I did this once for a Facebook fan page I ran for a side project. It worked. (Yes, I had to shower afterwards. Twice.) I was promised 250 new fans in 24 hours and I think I had them in 8. 

Here’s the rub.

Fans you buy don’t give a damn about your business. They’re never going to engage with your page, never mind buy from your company. 

Because Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm looks at total engagement, the more disengaged fans you have the less people you can reach.

In short, you’re paying to be able to reach less people!

Now, you may say, “well, I would never buy fans like that.” Cool beans. But I know many marketers and small business owners who pester their friends and family members to fan their page. However, unless your friends are also likely to engage with you on a regular basis, these “fans” too can hurt your engagement rankings and your reach.

Myth #4: There’s a “best time” to update your page.

Social media experts, blogs and websites share research and evidence all the time that shows there’s an optimal time and/or day to post an update to your page.

The truth is, most social media marketers (this one included) are lazy. If we see a stat, we run with it, and it’s repeated ad naseum until it is “true.”

What’s best for the “average” business or non-profit may not be best for you. Your audience may be night owls. Or work weekends. Or get up at 4am and check their newsfeed. 

You won’t know what’s the “best time” to post updates to your page unless you actively measure it in Facebook Insights.

Even then, the type of post, the news cycle, how many other people and businesses  are updating their status at that particular moment, and how damn clever you are, all come into play.

Also, as soon as a time or day is determined to be the “best time,” every business tries to post then, destroying the advantage of posting then. 

Myth #5: There’s a “best type” of update.

Photos are the best type of update because they are eye catching in your fans’ newsfeeds. 

That is, until every person and business uses photos, then they stop being effective.

Asking questions is the best type of update because it invites comments. Well, unless they require a long answer because people have short attention spans. Or it’s the type of question that once it’s answered correctly people stop responding. Or it’s the wrong time of day.

Quotes are the best type of update because they’re inspiring. You can even make them more engaging by laying them over a photo! Until everyone is posting quotes and yours get lost in the stream.

The bottom line is that whatever becomes the “best type” of content gets used and abused, to the point where it becomes ineffective. Also, the type of update that works best for the average business may not work best for you.

And even if it worked best for you last month, it doesn’t mean that it will work best for you this month, because Facebook probably changed their algorithm.

Again.

Myth #6: People on Facebook don’t like to leave Facebook.

This myth has driven many businesses to build out expensive custom tabs where fans can engage, buy, and opt-in to mailing lists.

Yet Facebook consistently generates more outbound traffic than just about any other website in the world. Including Google.

So…yeah.

If you want to drive traffic away from Facebook, you can. You may need to incentivize your fan base (or ideal customer) a bit more, but if the reward is worth it, they’ll follow you anywhere.

Takeaways

Myths are created because people are busy and/or lazy. 

We believe we need to be on Facebook and have a business page because everyone else is, so it must be important.

We believe we need more fans because everything’s a numbers game, and so many of the articles on Facebook are about getting more fans, so it must be important.

We believe there’s a best time, or best type of update that will really engage our audience, because we all like the idea of there being a short cut.

We believe people don’t like to leave Facebook because the pundits tell us it’s so, even when the evidence says otherwise.

If you want to build your business with Facebook, you need to stop taking things at face value, including this post!

You need to start by writing down your business goals and determine how (and if) Facebook can help you accomplish them.

Then assign resources (page building, regular updates), and money (Facebook ads, sponsored stories), to give your business the chance to succeed.

Finally, measure your results using Facebook Insights, Google Anlaytics and other metrics to determine what’s working for YOUR business so that you can continually improve your Facebook marketing and your ROI.

If you found this helpful, or if you’ve got some Facebook myths of your own I neglected to mention, please let me know in the comments below. 

And if you’re still not subscribed, I’ve added a signup box right here to make your life easier. No spam, just free, quality updates to help you reach more of your ideal customers. 

Rich Brooks
Facebook Myth Buster

  • Facebook ads don’t work.

    “Engaging” content is all you need.

    People on Facebook don’t like to buy things.

    People don’t comment on blogs because they comment on Facebook.

    The number of “likes” you have doesn’t matter. People just want good content.

    • Tommy,

      I must have been tired when I first read this because I was all like, “those things aren’t true!”

      And then I remembered what I asked for.

      Duh.

      So, I like your comment.

  • Lani Voivod

    Facebook Myth: “If people aren’t liking and commenting, it means they haven’t seen our stuff.”

    Truth: Social voyeurs abound, they’re often paying more attention than the hyper-engagers/Likers, and they’re fascinating creatures…

    It doesn’t mean they’ll add anything to your bottom line anytime soon, but successful business is a marathon, not a sprint, and these quick emotional connections add up in strange ways over time, in ways that can’t be quantified or metric-ized…yet.

    Great post, Rich, as usual!

    • Lani,

      Thanks! That’s a good point…Facebook only offers some very minor stats on if someone viewed a post or image. It can tell you if someone clicked on an image to see it bigger, but not if they felt the original image was “big enough.”

      Sometimes it’s just important to be seen on a consistent basis.

      I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Have a great day!

  • sitesthatwork

    This is an awesome post – it echos my perspective on Facebook and it’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone 🙂 I’ve had limited success with Facebook and I believe it’s because it’s not the right venue for my service offering.

    I’ve had great success with LinkedIn, and to my surprise also with Twitter – I’m also gaining some traction on Google+.

    It all boils down to some pretty simple principles – pick the right network, create and share original content, vary your posts, be human, and be involved

    thanks for the great article

    • Thanks for adding your .02!

      I think it comes down to measuring your time and money in any channel, be it Facebook, Twitter or email marketing.

      Sounds like you’re paying attention, which is an important step towards success.

      • sitesthatwork

        thanks – I couldn’t agree more. It amazes me how many people just ‘do’ social marketing because they were told they needed to – and they ‘have’ to have a Facebook page and then wonder (and complain) about why it’s not ‘working’

    • carolynterry

      Great perspective. Every social medium is not for everybody. We all have to do the best we can at which ever one works for use and our business goals.

  • Shelia

    Love, love, love…i’m finding Facebook to be more distracting than beneficial – especially since it’s difficult to be seen unless your paying for ads. Myth #3 is probably my favorite. I have heard some scary stories about purchasing fans – just not sure why people can’t understand the difference between engaged fans and paid fans. Thanks again.

  • Great post, Rich! My clients who are fans of my biz page always want to know how to set one up (if they don’t already have one), how to use it (or use it more effectively), and how much time they should devote to it. I always say, “Slow down…first tell me what you hope to achieve by having one in the first place!”

    • Hazel,

      That’s the only RESPONSIBLE response you could have given them, so kudos!

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a response…it’s appreciated. 🙂