By Arielle Mullen
Last updated in January, 2019
In the third quarter of 2018, Facebook hit 1.5 billion daily active users, making this social network behemoth a force to be reckoned with. And while you'd be hard-pressed to find a consultant who would suggest Facebook should not play a part in a well-crafted marketing strategy, there are certainly some pros and cons to consider before making a final decision.
If Facebook already plays a large role in your marketing toolkit, you've probably noticed your organic traffic (i.e. unpaid) steadily declining over the last few years. As the number of businesses utilizing this platform has risen, winning (and more importantly, retaining) the attention of target audiences has never been more challenging. The good news is that although there are over 80 million Facebook Pages, only 4 million are leveraging Facebook Ads. Meaning? There's literally never been a better time to learn how to use Facebook Ads. Particularly because the digital landscape is only going to become increasingly populated, making it harder and harder to capture the attention of your audience. Interested in learning how to use Facebook Ads? Consider attending our first Digital Marketing Workshop of 2019.
You can reach a huge audience. As we mentioned above, Facebook hit 1.5 billion daily active users in 2018, which is a number that no other social network even comes close to. With five new Facebook profiles created every second, you'd be a fool to not at least consider utilizing it in some way.
Facebook's targeting capabilities are nothing short of incredible. It might surprise you to learn, no other database in the world even comes close to what they offer. Facebook pulls information from all across the internet and feeds it into their system, giving you the ability to be truly as granular as you want when selecting an audience. If you know your target audience is 32-year-olds who live in a tiny town in Nebraska, have purchased a house in the last 2 months, love organic food, and llamas, Facebook can find that (very odd and specific) audience for you.
Create a dialogue between your organization & your target audience. When done correctly, fostering communication and engagement with your customer base can establish trust, strengthen brand authority, and turn your customers into advocates for your brand. By focusing on consistently offering content or opportunities for engagement that are valuable to your target audience, you'll be well-positioned for growth as you strengthen your customer base over time.
Access to detailed analytics. Facebook will show you incredibly detailed insights into your page visitors, which allows you to learn more about who is interacting with your page, when they're online, what content they find especially valuable, etc. In addition to the standard insights, in utilizing an ad account, you gain access to a tracking code (Pixel). This handy little snippet of code can track conversions on your website and Facebook page. The Pixel even lets you track users across devices, which is one hurdle Google Analytics has yet to master.
Get an SEO boost by linking your website to your Facebook page. Linking the two together will increase the visibility and validity of your website, and ultimately help to boost your ranking in search results.
Communicate your brand voice easily and effectively. Identifying where and how your target audience wants to engage is paramount, and because of that, Facebook should not be ignored. And when ideally, your website should exist as an informational tool that provides the framework of expectations, social media is one of the best and most effective ways to communicate your brand identity. And now, the cons....
Managing a page requires time and energy. When time is your most valuable resource, it's perfectly understandable that you might not want to spend it maintaining a Facebook page. We suggest being sure that you allocate resources for this purpose when doing your capacity planning. Taking that step will ensure that when your page receives reviews, comments, or messages, someone on your end will be there to respond accordingly and in a timely manner.
Facebook has become a pay-to-play space. If you're already on Facebook marketing your business, you've probably noticed your organic reach plummeting in the last few years. This is a result of a higher demand for ad space on Facebook, and a shrinking amount of space in which ads can be shown. What this means for advertisers, is that in order to be successful in marketing your business on Facebook, you have to know your target audience, and use Facebook ads to reach them.
Polite discourse can go south rather quickly on social media. This isn't a surprising fact; we've all seen instances of businesses whose reputations have suffered as a result of poor choices made on social media with content or communication. It's precisely for this reason that the responsibility of managing any social media accounts shouldn't be assigned lightly. We suggest drafting a social media policy, strategy, and plan, with clear guidelines and measurable goals. This will help communicate the expectations to your social media manager, and give them a framework to operate within. It should be noted as well, that even if you don't have a Facebook page to represent you, if Facebook users are searching for your business name frequently enough, one will be created for you. (So sneaky, we know!) From this page, users can check-in, comment, and even post reviews about your organization, all without your knowledge.
It requires commitment. Facebook isn't the sort of tool you can apply the ol' "set it & forget it" method to. Posting consistent, relevant content that provides value to your audience is the best way to find success. However, this is definitely a slow-burn method, and one that requires time and attention.
There you have it! With such a huge audience available on Facebook, it should definitely be considered when designing a digital marketing plan. We hope this list of pros and cons helps to give you an idea of what to weigh when creating a strategy for your business. If you have questions, or would like assistance in designing a custom digital marketing strategy and plan for your organization, get in touch with us!