What Facebook Pages Won’t Do for Retailers

Facebook was never intended to be used by businesses

Sorry, Mr. Zuckerberg, but Facebook Pages stink as a marketing tool.

There, I said it. Or, more to the point, I typed it…with one hand…from beneath my desk…just in case Zuckerberg Almighty sends a bolt of lightning to strike me down.

Why am I over Facebook? I’m no social media guru, but I do use it for personal reasons as well as for business-to-business and business-to-consumer initiatives. But I’m sick and tired of Facebook dictating who sees my posts and whose posts I get to see.

In their infinite wisdom, the executives behind the social media behemoth have decided that I can see information only from some people or pages, but not others, and they will decide which pages or friends that will be. You’re lucky if a typical post is seen by more than 10 percent of the people who expect to hear from you.

If you’ve run Facebook ads to garner likes for your page and think you’re getting them for around 50 cents per like, think again. The real cost, if only 10 percent of your community sees your post, is actually $5 per liker you are actually reaching. Suddenly, the math doesn’t look so good.

But wait—now Facebook will let more of your fans see your posts, provided you pay them money. You can “promote” your posts to friends and fans alike. I don’t mean to sound like a cynic, but this seems to coincide with the fact that Mr. Zuckerberg is now having to perform a dance for Wall Street every 90 days and is under pressure to make more money.

But that’s not the only reason I’m over Facebook Pages as a business tool. Most people who join them don’t want to buy anything; they’re looking for entertainment or free perks. Putting up photos of ­product can turn them cold.

The truth is that social media, as a business marketing tool, has been overhyped for a couple of reasons:

• The idea that you could post something on Facebook and it could reach 900 million people has much to do with the hype. Mouthwatering stuff—except it won’t ever happen. Facebook filters and the fact there would not be enough interest in a business post makes the promise moot. Social media is great for individuals; it was never built for businesses.

• Vested interest. A whole ­industry of social media gurus has grown up. In the interest of keeping their newfound careers flourishing, they need to convince you that social media is where you have to be.

IMHO: Facebook stinks for business.

Now, I could be wrong, and maybe my experience is anomalous. There’s no doubt social media is here to stay for individuals. I’m just not so sure, with the exception of its ads, that Facebook has a lot of benefit for businesses, and I bet that many jewelers would agree.

I know from the regular emails I get from grateful jewelers offering to name their firstborn after me that this topic normally gets decent readership, so let’s try a little test. Go to facebook.com/jewelrymarketingsolutions. I’ve put up a poll question: “Are you tired of trying to make Facebook work for your business?” Answer yes or no and we’ll see what kind of response we get. I’m guessing many of you have had enough.

If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my hat. But if I’m right, I want you to promise me something: Take that 15 minutes a day that your social media guru is telling you to spend on Facebook and instead use the time to systematically phone your customers to see how they like the new ring they collected from you last week, or how that watch is doing after two repairs, or just give them a no-strings attached thank you for choosing to do business at your store. Then see those efforts go viral in a way that pictures of cats never could.

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