Search for ‘Facebook’ on Google’s News service and it’s ugly story after ugly story.
At the time of writing, our search throws up stories including Martin Lewis set to sue Facebook over defamation which many say will determine, in the courts, whether Facebook is a ‘publisher’ or not (it insists it isn’t a media company).
Most mainstream new sites carry some pretty heavy stories about Facebook too on a seemingly daily basis. Especially recently; the name ‘Cambridge Analytica’ consistently rears its head while Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s image, lit up by the photography lights when he was addressing congress, is hard to shake.
The caveat has been more stories suggesting that ‘people are fed up with Facebook’, are worried about their data being misused or handled poorly, and that existing users are deleting their profiles en-masse.
There’s been quite a bit of negativity following Facebook around, lingering since the first quarter of 2018. And that does have an effect, especially in the minds of small business owners and marketing managers who are working incredibly hard to grow their business over the platform.
They’ve invested so much of their budget and poured so many man hours and other resources into growing and communicating an audience on Facebook. Should they believe everything they read, hold their hands up and say it’s all been a waste of time?
Be calm and carry on (using Facebook)
We say absolutely not; despite the stories and the scrutiny Zuckerberg is publicly facing over his stewardship of the company, Facebook is still by far and away the world’s most popular social networking site.
It’s also insisting that it’s listening to people and wants to get back to its roots. The company has gone as far recently as saying in a blog post titled ‘Hard questions’ that its ‘users are not the product’, an accusation that has been levied at them by lots of people – ironically – over social media.
Facebook has also recently announced new laws in its fight against extremist content on the site, which has also been one of its more ingrained problems. With all this going on in the background, what’s a small business owner to do? Create a brand page on a site that seemingly can’t tackle extremist content, isn’t as protective as it may be with data and whose boss is the butt of every joke on the internet?
Quite simply, yes. Because you and your business aren’t doing any of those things. (Well, we hope anyway!)
Facebook is simply the conduit; the platform that helps put your business in front of the potential customers who you want to work with or bring on as new customers. Facebook has its problems, yes, but you want be the ones exploiting its phenomenal targeting and advertising tools to collect and misplace data, spread fake news or defame Martin Lewis.
Facebook may not be everybody’s friend, but when it comes to marketers and small businesses looking to present their case to new audiences, it’s the person at the bar you should always stand next to who always puts his hand in his pocket.
If managed properly, of course…
One of the most compelling reasons for this is that, despite the #DeleteFacebook movement amassing more than 30,000 tweets on Twitter, statistics at the end of March 2018 showed that users in the US and the UK were actually using Facebook more, up over 4% over the course of the previous 90 days from 29 March.
Downloads for the Facebook app dipped slightly at one point but have since returned to normal, too. There could be all sorts of reasons for this; the one we believe is most likely is that Facebook has become so ingrained in our daily lives that logging in, using it and interacting with friends and brands is as normal as making breakfast.
If you manage your Facebook brand pages properly, promote your business’s privacy and data policies clearly with people (especially with GDPR set to shortly come into play), create compelling content that matters to your audience most, communicate with them transparently and – simply – be ethical, then you could get some serious returns from the world’s most popular social media platform.
4 reasons why Facebook still rules the roost
#1 Its huge national and local user base: By 2022 Facebook is set to have north of 42 million users in the UK alone. Even right now there’s no other social media platform that can almost instantly put your business in front of your most important current and potential customers in creative ways with specific calls to action, whether it’s to get more site visits, app downloads, email sign-ups or other metrics you consider essential to your business’s growth.
#2 Its immense targeting tools: Though they’ve been around for a while, there’s still nothing that can quite match Facebook’s ability to zero in on specific demographics with certain interests, providing you put some budget aside. You can put as much or as little as you like behind a campaign to test its effectiveness; with 74% saying they use Facebook for professional purposes as well as personal, it can be as powerful in B2B realms as B2C, too.
#3 Its partnership with Instagram: Facebook owns Instagram, and while the former continues to make headlines (for better or worse), we’ve barely heard a peep about Instagram. That weighs in its favour; Instagram has more than 800 million users and growing, and can add a huge amount of creativity to a visual campaign, thanks to its image-based approach. Better yet, small businesses and advertisers can make use of Facebook’s incredible targeting tools here, too. (Cheeky plug: see what we’re up to on Instagram)
#4 It continues to innovate: Amongst the headlines recently is one that shows Facebook is looking to spearhead more video initiatives on its site. It’s testing a format that allows pre-recorded videos to be shown as live; HD videos can now be sent in Messenger and its open to working with pre-roll ads for the benefits of publishers. Innovations like these can not only be good for its users, but also creative brands ready to take the next step in their growth.
Find out more about the amazing benefits of having a properly managed social media presence by speaking to the Webpresence team today.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo.