The very site that brought MySpace to its knees, Facebook, is now facing upstarts like Ello looking to supplant it as the go-to social network. With that in mind, should companies invest in building a strong Facebook presence? Is Facebook dead for business?
As anybody who remembers meticulously building their MySpace page into a gorgeous web home, complete with a theme song and glittery background can tell you, social media is a volatile environment.
Proclaiming Facebook dead for business is probably premature, but creating a robust presence on the network is indeed more difficult than ever, and Facebook is helping make it that way. If your company isn’t advertising on Facebook, only a small portion of your followers are likely to even see your content.
Be More Engaging
While the value your business once reaped from an active Facebook presence has diminished, Facebook still has plenty of important applications for business. Small businesses especially benefit from the interactive flow of content. By sharing relevant posts from other small businesses a community, albeit insular, does develop. Having a place to go that everyone is familiar with makes Facebook’s enormous brand recognition an asset that any business can still leverage.
Good Luck Finding a Replacement
Another reason to be on Facebook is that there really isn’t a better option. While Ello, or other small platforms could find themselves and become viable alternatives rather quickly, it’s not as easy it as it may seem. Facebook is deeply entrenched in its leading position in the market and even Google+ with the full weight of Google search behind it, has not done any damage. As this recent article from the Guardian explains, Ello might already be dead in the water.
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?
Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?
By Terry 07 Nov 2014
Not yet, i think. Facebook is still the largest social network so far.
By David Ginsburg 08 Nov 2014
Good article, Will. Facebook isn’t going anywhere, as the diversification of their business is striking (and smartphones weren’t common when MySpace was at its apex; mobile has been a huge boon to Facebook’s growth). Facebook is a social network, sure, but it’s also a publishing platform, ad network, and soon will be a direct-purchase platform. Owning Instagram and Oculus just aids that diversification. Facebook will continue to evolve, but pulling a MySpace/Friendster/Turntable.fm etc? Nope.
By Anne Young Albanese 10 Nov 2014
I speak on social media quite often and this is exactly what I tell my audiences. While Facebook’s algorithmic change has made things more difficult for small businesses, in most cases, it’s still the most effective medium out there.
By George Berridge 11 Nov 2014
Not even close but you need to understand the overall value of advertising on FB! How it best suits your company. The wants needs and desires of your clients! And how you can give them something that keeps them interested in you and your page.
By Keith James 11 Nov 2014
Facebook is far from dead from a marketing standpoint. It is harder and that is a good thing. You no longer have to compete with scam ads in the sidebar. Facebook is weeding out those who do not have the users best interest in mind.
Facebook has the ability to target like no other platform. When you use proper targeting you can be very effective even with a small budget. We have clients that are spending less than $5 a day and getting great results.
By Mitch Rezman 11 Nov 2014
For us yes – we blew 50K over 4 years building a 300,000 fan page only to see our weekly organic reach plummet from 3,000,000 to 84,000.
This is so we would advertise (pay to play -so Mark can flip his buddy 19 bill for whatsap) which I did bringing to the surface 2 more issues – to gain our former organic reach back (after spending several thousand on ads & seeing the metrics) it would cost us 50K a month to regain the massive reach but had a marginally low conversion (ecommerce) rate.
The other issue the FB conversion pixel can not be trusted – I’ve documented this on multiple occasions. We now have a 300,000 fan digital paper weight
The silver lining – I spend 5 – 10 minutes a day on the page now vs the 10 – 20 hours weekly it took to maintain a sizable reach. I’m now focusing on email – other SM platforms we live on and as an example our email click rate was 8.8% last week normally it’s run little under 3%.
Re-purposing the Facebook time has suddenly increased our email ROI because I’m taking the former FB time seeking new ideas and creating far better original content caveat – The new content directly benefited our onsite SEO
By Nick Passig 11 Nov 2014
Will, thanks again for posing this question and to everyone in the discussion. I wanted to follow up and share a little nugget from my experience in social network psychology.
Many years ago I was fortunate to collaborate with Mark and “The Facebook” and other social network investors/founders which gave me tremendous insight into the vision of these businesses. Much of the evolution of these networks was organic, but the structure and science behind them was backed by actual scientific research on tribe connections and relationship psychology, six degrees of separation and so on…
The consensus among the social network psychology experts was that the relationship structure growth follows a pattern. The influential tastemaker crowd leads paradigm shifts, so when tastemakers leave a network, the rest of the crowd eventually follows. Something that previous social networks failed to do was hold the attention of the tastemakers by introducing fresh business opportunities. There are many successful networks before Facebook and Twitter that served the first-movers for a time before a “better” opportunity came along. In which case, the shifts were quite rapid (~1 or 2 years).
Another interesting insight is that trendsetters are compelled to be unique — they seek new trends and want to set them. This means that when the mainstream audience has followed a trend and saturated the opportunity, the tastemakers naturally seek something new.
I think we are seeing these tastemakers seek something new right now. There are many Facebook alternatives that are popping up around the world, saying they are different because they don’t use advertising or don’t violate privacy. But I think those startups are missing the point. People actually like advertisements and the connection with brands. The magazine industry has proven that over and over again. Many magazines are purchased primarily for the adverts and advertorials. Newspapers were based on adding filler content “around” advertising inventory…
Another thing that was a concern with social networks very early on was personal privacy. We found that the market did not really care about personal privacy — mostly because future ramifications of “loss of privacy” are too hard to forecast…and because of general ignorance to the curve of technological importance (Carl Sagan summed it up nicely in a last interview with Charlie Rose).
So if privacy and advertising are not a huge problem that social networks have…what is the problem? Trendsetters.
So the real question is, when will Facebook lose the trendsetters? Is it happening now? This is easy to evaluate by looking at celebrity marketing. And does Facebook have any aces in the hole to keep things fresh?
Right now, Facebook’s behavioral targeting is best-in-class. Their virtual reality play is best-in-class (although in early stages). Their payment system and others remain to be seen. So if we base the answer to your question on if FB is dead, the answer is clearly no. But if you were wondering if they at risk in a phase of atrophy, I think based on history, the answer is yes. We see the younger demographic leaving FB already…
There is no doubt that virtual reality is going to be a game changer in more ways than one. And Facebook is the most natural platform to release this convergent tech, but how long will the adoption take? Will Facebook be able to keep it fresh to retain influencers? Or will their audience be the ones to keep it fresh with new community created content?
For people interested in forecasting these industry changes, I recommend the Google Trends tool. This will allow you to see the search interest in social networks such as Facebook. Then you can dial it down into the country or city level. Facebook reached U.S. search interest saturation in 2010. Trends are trends…see Habo, Bebo, Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, Snapchat, Instagram etc…
By Mitch Rezman 11 Nov 2014
It’s all about perspective – I used to be unhappy if I saw less than a 1000 shares in a post and did get some 10,000 plus shares – the reality is I don’t give an RA about Facebook reach – Facebook is a disingenuous and unreliable partner and will be treated as such – I’m making the same assumption about the path of Instagram
factoid: Facebook stock rose from $50 to $70 during the same period Facebook began to artificially curtail reach this year
re: “that’s the kind of engagement that builds brand loyalty, leaves both current and potential customers with a positive image of your brand…and will ultimately lead to a higher sales volume” is not sustainable – Facebook will not allow that next week when it’s algo decides many of my fans have too many potential posts and reach will contract.
We are done with Facebook as a digital marketing tool. There are so many better tools
We’ve been selling on line 12 years with the same site – I am lickin’ my chops over the new Twitter “buy” button that’s on it’s way
By Karen Pryor 11 Nov 2014
You also need to know how your audience uses each social platform. If you are a B2B FB most likely isn’t the best choice as a social media platform. If you are B2C and age appropriate for FB users, then go for it. But remember it’s a little bit of everything and you need a strategic approach and plan to reach your goals.”
By John Mathew 11 Nov 2014
Facebook is alive and kicking at the moment, being one of its kind due to the huge success and a fantastic reach worldwide. There may be many upstarts but the reach and the established Facebook is keeping it well above the current competition. Dead for Business is a BIG NO, until and unless another platform reaches more than 50% of their reach.
By Harib Al Rawahi 11 Nov 2014
Thanks for sharing the article, Will. Probably I will use a different page in the name of my company to heavily post advertising material, perhaps somewhat less on the personal page. Certainly using FB is a big asset if utilized properly. What do you think?
By Alok Sharma 12 Nov 2014
That is too strong a comment at this point of time. The best part about Facebook is that is keeps making changes to stay competitive. Facebook is still the most preferred platform for digital marketers. However I have noticed the most of the digital marketers have largely ignored Google+. Its a great platform for businesses and being a Google product it does have an impact on SEM. (previously it used to influence SEO also).
By Russ Benblatt 12 Nov 2014
One of the issues I see often is that people focus too much on reach and a unrealistic expectation around measuring the ROI of their efforts. Facebook has become not so much an advertising medium, but an extension of customer service and a way to enhance the customer engagement and experience. @Mitch R…just looked at the post you made on your FB page on the 6th asking people to “cap this”. With almost 400 shares and 190 commend, that’s the kind of engagement that builds brand loyalty, leaves both current and potential customers with a positive image of your brand…and will ultimately lead to a higher sales volume. Track the highest engagement levels and focus on that content. The more engagement you have, the higher your organic reach will be. They key is using each social vehicle for what it’s best for…BUT…realizing that it may change over time.
By Ken Osborn 12 Nov 2014
I remember when I was on Wall Street and we would see AOL’s stock fluctuate because servers would go down… oh, yeah, AOL was IT! Then, I remember My Space, Yahoo and others being the leaders. Now, crickets. I too think that Facebook will be replaced, and find it’s much smaller space in the history of the Internet. Just glad I don’t own the stock. But, when I say things like this I sound like an old, out of touch person. Such is life. Thanks for posting this. The statement that ‘there’s nowhere else to go right now’ is the most appropriate reason that Facebook continues to hold it’s position. We’ll see what happens.
By Keith James 09 Dec 2014
Based on this article, I may be changing my mind.
By Damien Woods 10 Dec 2014
I think the way Facebook scrounge for more connections by asking for paid promotions / boosted posts is absurd. However in the past I have had success with Facebook ads. I do not currently use Facebook ads because of the new structure/ pursuit.
I am currently looking into more organic (sort of) ways of driving traffic to my business.
By Ricardo Thomas 12 Dec 2014
Facebook is not dead yet. When you can find a social platform that can get even senior citizens engaged and can do way better than Facebook then we can start digging that grave, but for now Facebook has a bright future ahead of them.
By philgood 27 Dec 2014
Facebook has a main problem to fix for survive ” FAKE LIKES”