UPDATE: We wrote this post a while back. Everything we wrote is still true, but Facebook has evolved to become a very effective place to do Pay-Per-Click advertising in addition to being a place to share content– and of course, you can, and should, do both. Practices just like yours are getting visitors and patients very inexpensively– it’s like the early days of AdWords, when the early adopters could build their practices quickly at very low cost. Don’t miss out. Contact us for more information.
It’s a trend that has caught on phenomenally quickly…but you might not want to take it at “face” value (sorry, couldn’t help it.)
We are talking of course about the proliferation of people using Facebook, and other social networking sites, and making it their #1 online business marketing tool.
Don’t get us wrong – there’s nothing wrong in using Facebook or other social network sites as a method of spreading the word – but relying on it for all your marketing (as some people we know have been doing) is, in our opinion, a tad risky and can be a waste of valuable time and marketing energy.
Because although it is free to use and has wonderful potential customer reach, you are in effect providing Facebook and the other social networking sites with content that keep them in business.
In other words, everything that is “published” on Facebook or Google or Twitter or LinkedIn is owned by them and not you – even though it is your words, pictures, videos, etc. that are on their pages. In a sense, you are in effect working for them, and not for yourself or your business.
The pitfalls of marketing via social networking
There are three main hazards to marketing via social networking. These are:
There is the real possibility that after hours and hours of writing great content that you have placed solely on one social network site, all that could be lost in an instant if a site like Facebook decided to pull the plug on your account because they didn’t like something you had written. Or, if they believe that your Page is more of a “public domain” subject, they can take it away from you and release it to the community after you’ve done all the hard work!
They can also close your account just like that if they believe you have violated their terms and conditions of service. Guess how often complaints and appeals work when you are one of over a half a billion people?
It can also, as it has done recently, change the way you communicate with your audience/customers which could in turn impact the effectiveness of your time on such sites. As I write this exact sentence, Mr. Zuckerburg is announcing some sweeping changes to occur today (Sept. 22, 2011). What? There were sweeping changes over the last couple days which annoyed you because they just changed things last week? Yep.
It’s all about control
And there is no better way to be in control of your own business destiny than by concentrating on your own online business and website.
It’s a message we often convey here at Honest PPC, but it is one we happen to believe passionately in – there is no substitute for a well-designed website that is consistently layered with on-going and regularly growing content that is high in value and benefits to your customers old and new.
Because not only is it all about control – it’s also about reputation. And the best way to obtain a good reputation is by doing what you do well and reliably. Having a killer website behind you only adds to that reputation. It also allows you to stand away from the crowd and be noticed.
Don’t get us wrong – for certain kinds of consumer-focused businesses, marketing the right way on Facebook (more on that in the future) can be life-changing. Even some business-to-business providers can do very well on Facebook.
But just make sure that while you are helping them build their empires, you are building yours as well.
Climbing down from soapbox now, thanks for listening. Love to hear about your Social Media experiences – both good and bad. Talk back below!