That is the question nowadays… Not so much if you should join the millions of people on Facebook, which you probably already do, given the fact that is nice to reconnect with old friends and share things you do, think, or enjoy with friends and family members, but the question is whether you should join Facebook as a creative type and have a “Fan Page” to promote your business. I have been reading people on both sides of this issue and I wanted to share this here for you to decide what is best for you.
There are those who claim that your business will go nowhere if you don’t keep up with the new SEO and marketing trends, and utilize Facebook to attract new customers, as multi million companies are doing. Yes, it is very time consuming, but it is an investment that you need to make to survive, given all the changes going on in online marketing. Some even claim that you don’t need a “traditional” web site anymore and can cut costs by simply using a free blog along with your Facebook and Twitter (and similar social media sites) accounts to promote your business. Even if you keep a traditional web site, you should include Facebook as part of your SEO and marketing strategies.
Then there are those who believe that Facebook is a passing fad and that the Facebook fever may translate into “fans” on your fan page, but not necessarily into new customers or sales. Why? because having “fans” is not equal to getting new orders, and most of the time your “fans” are friends and family plus other business owners who want to know what you are doing, or find your posts interesting, but do not necessarily want to buy anything from you. Yes, some may actually be people who admire your work and want to follow what you are doing, but that is usually the minority. There is trend of ”link love“ between merchants who become fans of each other as a network support base, but does it make a difference in term of sales? Plus, some artists expressed how uncomfortable they feel about asking their friends or contacts to become their “fans.”
I can see truths on both sides of this issue. I have a fan page and I am a fan of other pages, too. I know how time consuming it is to keep my fan page active, but also how potential customers might want to connect with me and follow what I am doing and writing about on Facebook. I have to agree that it does feel a bit uncomfortable to ask some of my friends to become my fans, although I have become their fan without much thought, just to support them in what they’re doing. I guess the word ”fan“ is what may be wrecking a good marketing tool for some people. In any case, I am still not absolutely sure that Facebook is the answer to everyone’s marketing needs, and I definitely disagree with those who think that you don’t need a ”traditional“ web site for your business. You know I am all for web sites and good web site design! No matter what other marketing tools you may use, nothing can be as complete and informative as a web site (or a blog that has been converted into a web site with extra pages about yourself and your work and even a shopping cart).
Now I would love to hear your opinions on this issue…
[Note on the “fan” issue: As it turned out, Facebook realized (shortly after my original post) that the concept of a “fan” page was turning people off, so now you can simply “like” a page instead of becoming a fan. This makes it easier for people to follow a business and such, but the question about the actual return or ROI on it still remains…]