Should I Do Business on Facebook?

This is a question I get on a consistent basis and while the answer is often the same, there are some things to consider before making your final decision. Can you do business on Facebook?  Should you be “on” Facebook?  Is Facebook good for my business? The answer is yes and no.

The reason is that Facebook is being viewed as something “new” when in fact, basic business principles should be used to ascertain whether the application can be used to further business objectives or not.  Once we start applying basic business concepts, it quickly becomes apparent whether Facebook is a suitable investment of resources or whether it is a waste of time.  Which it will be is going to depend on your individual business objectives and how well you use the tools around you, in this case Facebook.

First of all, understand what Facebook is – it is not a business tool per se, it is an online social network.  Be clear about this, the primary word here is “social” – bringing your business into these networks is like a car salesman gatecrashing a party with the deal of the day.  Online social networks allow individuals to share information and keep themselves abreast of developments within their social circle, which may be a social circle dedicated purely to family and friends, or may be a circle of contacts which have a common interest or may be a network of business and professional connections.  Primarily, Facebook is a social rather than a business networking tool (for a business online social network look at LinkedIn), and as a business active on the social networks you need to act carefully in order to not upset the indigenous users.

To answer whether Facebook is good for your business, ask yourself whether there are target audiences and interest groups which will help you acquire business?  You may be looking at acquiring business directly by selling to Facebook users themselves, or indirectly, by raising your brand awareness or using the network to provide market feedback on you and your products.  If the answer is yes you can achieve your business objectives of sales, marketing, consumer testing or whatever you have stipulated, then the answer to the original question is still not complete because Facebook is not the only tool available.

There are more online social networking sites than just Facebook; how does Facebook compare to other sites and should you be concentrating on just one site or spreading your efforts across multiple networking sites?

Facebook dominates demographics in the older age ranges, from the early-twenties upwards, and has assumed a dominant role in the amount of time surfers are spending on the internet.  In this regard, Facebook dominates the social networking scene with only comparable competition emanating from MySpace.  MySpace is geared towards the younger age range and has greater emphasis on social media channels such as video, music and has a more pop culture outlook. Facebook is more about sharing life events, photographs, maintaining contact with family members of all age ranges, friends and for reconnecting with lost contacts.  Business circles and connections do exist and are quite popular but Facebook is not primarily established for this and this can lead to some very damaging Facebook mistakes.  For purely professional and business networking, LinkedIn is the leader in this field though the membership numbers are significantly lower than the social networking sites.

To summarize, the real questions which need to be asked are:

  1. Are my business objectives served or satisfied by using online social networks?
  2. Which specific network will best serve my specific objective?

If you can answer “Yes” to the first question and “Facebook” to the second, then it is obvious that Facebook can help your business.  The issue will then become how you do this in practice, but that is a topic for another article. And while the answer for businesses to be on Facebook is usually no, there are instances where Facebook can help, but your time commitment and social commitment will need to be consistent and creative. So, now do you think you should do business on Facebook?

11 Comments

  1. I have two profiles on Facebook. One is for my business and the other personal. The business page is in keeping with the terms of Facebook, but doesn’t get NEAR the traffic that my personal page does. At the same time, everyone I know, is aware of my business, and I do get traffic from FaceBook to my wakesurf blog. It is a referral source, and who couldn’t use more?

    Reply
  2. Great blog about business on facebook. For me facebook always providing good traffic and business too. so my answer always YES .

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  3. yes is a nice idea you should start your business on facebook i have many of my sites listed there and i get really good business form it..

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  4. Facebook allows business to connect to the customers on a more “personal” level as it gives a face to the customer and it gives a face to the business.

    So to answer the question raised in the title, yes, it’s recommended to do business on Facebook. We’ve tried Facebook ads and we’ve had some good targeted results.

    Reply
  5. I’ve got a personal page and a page for my business. I just don’t trust the site, so I hardly use it. We’ll see if it helps with SEO though.

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  6. Especially when you are doing business targetted to local prospects, social media is very effective as you can connect to people or even to networking groups who are also using social media

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  7. Facebookâ??s Social Ads platform makes it easy to target your spend to a very specific age, gender, and geographic audience. Facebook marketing plan should be part of a larger strategy that incorporates all the elements that make social marketing successful.

    Reply
  8. A lot of people are doing business in facebook and other social media site. (I knew some).Some even sell items like dress, apparel, jewelries and I even experienced buying item. It’s a great way to do business for this site because there’s a lot of people or social media’s member can view your product and might interested in your products.

    Reply
  9. Excellent point! Business owners need to be cautious to jump blindly into the pool of social media. The landscape changes so frequently that they may not realize the potential risks and benefits. Truth is, not all businesses will benefit from every platform. And for small-business owners, keeping up with the latest social-media advancements can be an overwhelming task. You must carefully measure risk and reward. But at the end of the day, every business should have some type of social presence, even if it’s blogging.

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  10. according to a recent survey and average facebook fan is worth £1.89 and just under £200 per lifetime, so on that basis I would say for low end products it could most definetly be worth it.

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  11. While I think social media has been gaining momentum, i am still skeptical of its overall impact. I have been through many seminars, etc. but have yet to see the ROI on something that requires so much work to create, maintain and keep fresh. Like Myspace,…things will become outdated and we will then need to start redeveloping the newest “Fad”. Personally, I have not seen the impact on my business sales from Facebook or Twitter, etc i keep trying to keep content fresh and look for “followers”

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