Can small businesses really trust Facebook?
New Facebook privacy policies (or violations depending on your point of view) are splattered over the headlines on a periodic basis. If, like me, you’re a bit of a worrier then I’m sure it has played on your mind – especially when it comes to your business.
Because, put quite plainly, the evidence really only goes in one direction – we can’t trust Facebook. But is it still worth using it? And if you are going to use it how should you best protect yourself and your business?
The terrible trouble with Facebook
Facebook only cares about the interests of Facebook. As any one will know who has read their terms of service they do really cover their own backs and they are pretty much out to get all they can get.
Many articles have been written vehemently about the unethical practices of this oligarch of the social media world from a personal user’s point of view. (see http://gizmodo.com/5530178/top-ten-reasons-you-should-quit-facebook )
Of course, as a small business owner you have another thing to worry about; how Facebook is trying to impact or control your business. If you’re playing their game you need to play by their rules – here’s how to make sure you still win.
How to protect your privacy and your business on Facebook
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – make sure your content is hosted on your website, rather than just on social media
- Make sure you’ve adjusted your privacy settings to a level you are happy with
- Make sure you’re not breaking copyright – use your own images, or ones which are free to share & distribute (and always credit the creator)
Is it actually worth having your business on Facebook?
Have you asked yourself this question?
For some businesses it definitely is worth putting in the time and effort to set up and run a business page on Facebook. The benefits include:
- Giving your customers another way to get in touch with you, give feedback & reviews
- A way to build stronger relationships & trust with your customers
- A way to demonstrate your expertise (sharing your opinions and points of view)
- Can bring SEO benefits by providing way to gain social proof of your authority, fresh content to show that you are active, and chances to show that you talk about relevant things.
However, you have to be aware that Facebook has its restrictions. It is unlikely to put you in front of a large audience and you are unlikely to get new business from it.
The trickster that Facebook is, it likes to convince you otherwise. Why? Because it wants you to pay for advertising.
Advertising offers fast rewards – increase likes on your page, increase your reach (with the implication being that you’ll also increase engagement and get new customers). The reality is that social media doesn’t actually work well like this. Even huge brands who spend thousands (or more) on creating content for Facebook only average a 4% engagement rate (see http://richardstacy.com/2013/07/11/the-latest-croissant-of-absurdity-from-the-socialbakers/ which has some great stats on this).
And there is no real evidence at all that Facebook advertising (or any activity on a Facebook business page) leads to new customers. Most people just aren’t in the mood to be sold to when they are on Facebook. So if that is your motivation behind your page it probably isn’t worth getting one.
Sign up to our Savvy Entrepreneur blog & learn great new tips
Here’s what we’ve got for you:
- Design & marketing tips and tutorials
- Need to know Small Business info
- Explanations and editorials to keep you ahead of the curve
- Free resources (worksheets, infographics, videos and more)
SUBSCRIBE NOW and join 2000 other monthly visitors