Don’t build a Facebook page! (Unless. . .)

It’s true I’m an internet marketing guy who loves and values the proximity Facebook creates – but I’m telling you now, do not “get a page”. Stay away from it like the plague, like the green fuzz on old bread, like the highway during a construction project.

I know you’ve wanted to get a page for a long time and you’re thinking it will be a great place to post your real estate listings, or the status of your most recent client meetings. I know how valuable you think it will be to post photos of the new clothes you just got in stock – and you’re sure if you just do that people will flock to the door.

So if you’re thinking that getting a Facebook page would be a great addition to your company, you’re not even in the ballpark. In fact if “let’s get a Facebook page” is something your company has said, you’re missing the boat.

The biggest challenge I see small companies have with Facebook is they don’t completely understand the utility of it. “Build it and they will come” just isn’t a sound philosophy. In fact, it should probably be reworded to say “Build value and they may come once. Build a valuable community and they’ll be back.”

Facebook is not radio or billboards. It’s not a site to just post stuff. However, it is a great answer when you’re determining your company’s marketing strategy and you’ve reached the “how do we communicate with our customers better” section. Or perhaps answering the question, “how do we engage our cheerleaders and have them work for us?”.

There is a huge difference between “getting a page” and deciding to better communicate with your customers. Facebook pages can be great tools in your efforts to create a client community. However, you’ll hear crickets if you decide to “get a page” just so you can post your stuff for sale.

Once you decide you’re going to build a Facebook community, the challenge becomes content. How do you allocate the time? What content do you post? How do you stay engaged on a daily basis? And how do you determine what your customers really want to hear that keeps them coming back?

That’s a challenge you must undertake internally as a company. To some degree you’ll have to test what works and what doesn’t. As long as you’re treating your customer the way they want to be treated, your testing will come off just fine. Don’t get discouraged if the feedback doesn’t come right away. Engage. Engage. Engage.

To get back to the topic at hand. . . Don’t get a Facebook Page, UNLESS what you really meant to say was “Let’s create a customer community, and utlize the power of Facebook”.

6 thoughts on “Don’t build a Facebook page! (Unless. . .)”

  1. I can’t tell you how many “lists” I’ve had that became useless and defunct because I didn’t have a great plan once the initial marketing was over and the list was just sitting there.

    That’s why I now put a lot of emphasis on the ladder of value. Knowing where you’re going long term is critical.

  2. I think Vincent’s ‘country club’ analogy is good as well, and I appreciate your response Dan. Your comment from Scott “what’s your plan, after the plan starts working?” is really stretching my thinking.

    Really looking forward to how the next 6-12 months unfold with these pages. The integration with other systems is coming quick (MailChimp for example) and we’re going to come up with other unique ways to engage. Maybe YOU can help me figure out the scaling part!


  3. A Facebook page is a lot like getting a country-club membership for business networking. Don’t expect great leads without having cocktails with other members. The membership card doesn’t stir up business, but it does let you get out on the golf course to make new friends.
    Some of those new friends will be just as eager to do business with you as you are with them once you get to know each other.

  4. I’m sorry it took me a couple days to get back to you. There was absolutely no good reason for that.

    I’m glad I did though because it’s nice to have heard Scott Stratten’s perspective on it. Perhaps he didn’t come out and say it, but I thought this quote was relevant:

    “Engagement is unscalable on an authentic level”

    In my post I warn against “getting a Facebook Fan Page” unless the reason you’re getting it is because it’s part of your overall marketing plan – and is the tool you’re using to increase your customer engagement.

    In your reply, Jason, the idea of the What is it Wednesdays? is just great. They’re taking their message (ie. bugs) and turning it into a conversation that doesn’t happen any place else in their marketing strategy. I think that’s brilliant.

    The question that Scott Stratten poses is this: If engagement is your goal, how do you maintain that authenticity when the scale of your impact is so large? What if you’re getting 100 messages per day? 1,000?

    I ask “what’s your plan once you start?” He asks, “what’s your plan, after the plan starts working?”

  5. Dan,

    Since my company is building these pages for businesses, you would think that I would disagree with your post… But in my opinion you are correct. The only way a Fan Page will work for you is if you are engaging with your audience, and that looks different for every company. The same argument could be made with any web presence.

    One of my clients is a pest control company and their Fan Page ( is driving a ton of traffic to their site, (40% overall, and 70% of the referring traffic) – This has created sales opportunities… However they have a strategy in place and work their plan; They post at least 3 times a week, offer discounts and we helped them develop a free service on Facebook called “What is it Wednesdays”. Anyone can post a picture and ask questions about pests they see at home/work or wherever. On their page they display a video (from MSNBC) about bedbugs and have a form for customers to request more information about a particular service.

    Another client doesn’t have a website at all… However we built a killer portfolio site for him utilizing Facebook in a unique way… The design of the Fan Page was totally custom (like the custom wall glazing he does) and we are taking advantage of the Photo Albums inherent in Facebook (for his different types of work) and the ‘Notes’ feature for testimonials.

    He is in the early stages of his campaign, but the ‘sharing’ feature for his images, along with his ability to update his photos on his own, makes this a unique option for an online portfolio – at half the cost of a traditional website. (

    “Build it and they will come” is not the strategy… None of our projects would be a great value without a good strategy, and as you stated, these are just tools.

    Awesome tools if used correctly.

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