Don’t kill your FB page just yet!
One of my subscribers emailed me the other day, having read an article entitled 1628 Likes and Why I am Shutting Down My Blog’s Facebook Page, and asking my thoughts – hence this post.
While that’s an intriguing article title, you might not want to click over and read the whole ordeal, so I’ll summarize. Facebook has been making great strides toward monetizing their platform so that businesses using Facebook do have to pay to reach their followers. It’s a smart decision for Facebook because they’re a business too. But it causes a lot of problems for the little guys like myself (and yourself) who can’t afford to be potentially $3600 a year to reach the people they were reaching before Facebook made all these changes (to be clear – that’s not even all their followers, but only a decent percentage of them. And that percentage might not even stop to read the post).
So this is totally great for Facebook, a necessary (small) evil for larger businesses and corporations, and an utter slap in the face for small businesses.
In the article I’ve cited above, the suggestion the author makes is to close down her Facebook page and use her personal Facebook profile instead. It’s not a terrible idea, but I’ve got some things to say that might make you rethink this choice.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I’M GOING TO SAY IN THIS POST:
Despite that, a Facebook page has different tools attached to it than a personal profile. And some of those features could be really useful to you (and unaccessible by personal profile).
Example. Business pages are great for events. If you have a specific website that allows attendees to register for the event, there is a designated place to insert the link on the Facebook event page. This highlights that people need to register not just join the Facebook event. If you create the event from your personal profile, this option isn’t available and any link you add is somewhat hidden.
Example. Business pages are ranked in Google, but personal profiles are not. So you could be showing up in search results as your business page. And on top of that, people don’t have to be logged into Facebook to see a business page. They can view it without an account at all.
Example. Business pages offer special landing pages you can tailor to each way someone might find your Facebook page. And there are other really cool tools like extra branding, ways to easily add a newsletter signup to your page, and even shopping carts you can run from within Facebook!
In addition, you can have a Facebook page without really doing anything. I’ve run across gazillions of them. No one says you have to keep it up to date or pay to reach your fans or anything like that. But having it available to people can only help.
Example. Susie has never heard of you but saw your Facebook page on a friend’s profile (pages are listed there!) and clicked. She would never have known about you had you not had a page. So now Susie’s fallen for your art, clicked the Like button, and then headed over to your website and purchased a print. That’s not very farfetched. It won’t happen in heaps, but it’s worth mention.
Example. Jim is organizing for the New Year. His resolution is to clean up his life so there’s less clutter and less stress. So one of the things he does is pop through his Facebook account, including culling the pages he “likes”. As he goes through, he sees your page and remembers how much he loved that watercolor of the beach you did and he pops over to your Etsy shop to see if it’s still there. While he’s there, he picks up an original of a pretty blonde girl that looks like his wife to give her for Valentine’s Day.
And there are tons more potential situations like these!
It certainly doesn’t hurt to have an inactive page just sitting there, helping out on occasion.
Of course, with the pervasiveness of Facebook in almost every demographic, it’s probably ideal to have the budget to spend on Facebook Ads to increase your reach on this particular social network. But it’s not necessary. You can utilize other platforms to reach your target market, social and otherwise, online and off. For instance, Pinterest is quickly becoming the leading destination for women about 20-40 years to go shopping online. And I’ve heard a number of artists citing the good ole-fashioned flyer posted at the right locations as bringing a lot of people to their art.
So you don’t have to be married to Facebook just because everyone and their mother -literally- uses it and tells you it will make you a famous artist. (It probably won’t, though it can be one piece of the fame puzzle.) But don’t get rid of that Facebook page! Let it do some good for your business, albeit small, and use it when it’s convenient and effective for you.
For the record, the best way I see for interacting with people on Facebook is through Facebook groups – currently at least. This is likely to change as more and more people are utilizing groups for their businesses, which disenchants customers. But for now, groups are where the engagement is at. If you want to talk to your fans, that’s where you’ll do it most effectively.