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Facebook Issues That Could Cause Problems For Your Business

Re-evaluating Facebook as a business tool

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Facebook Issues That Could Cause Problems For Your Business
[ Social Media]

While Facebook may provide a great way to interact with fans and market your business, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Several issues have been discussed recently that business should take very seriously.

What is the biggest problem you see with Facebook as a business tool? Let us know in the comments.

Misperception About the Value of the Like

Brian Lynch makes some valid points about the Facebook “like” in that it’s not always as helpful to businesses as it may seem. The main issue is the visibility aspect. “As people have started to give out Likes more freely, with minimal emotional investment, the chances of an individual Like’s visibility has drastically reduced compared to more valuable posts in a user’s timeline,” he writes, later adding, “Based on our analysis of over 110,000 patron transactions that took place during a 3-month period, we found that only 1/66 Likes generated an incremental ticket sale for our customers.”

“The Facebook Like is not a direct means to drive sales, as its original purpose was to gather data and share interests, and it is also used as a metric to dictate the display order of posts in the News Feed,” says Lynch. “Companies remain slow to understand these facts, and still hold firm to the use of the Like as a method to monetize social media.”

As mentioned in an earlier article, Facebook is reportedly working on an unfiltered News Feed, which could greatly up the visibility of Facebook likes, making them much more valuable. But even still, it may not be the default, and many users will probably continue to use a filtered version of the feed much of the time. You can refer to that article for tips on optimizing for the Facebook News Feed.

Is too much emphasis placed on the “like”?

Local Business Pages Lacking Local Fans

For local businesses, even the Facebook Page itself may not be as valuable as once thought. Sure, it’s still recommended that you operate one, because it does provide numerous benefits that have been discussed time and time again – a direct line to fans, a place for customers to find information, etc. A study from Roost earlier this week, however, found that only 15% of fans on the average small business Facebook Page are actually local to the town where the business is located. If this is accurate, that’s not great news for brick and mortars, though it does emphasize the need to offer e-commerce options for customers.

As Francine Hardaway of Stealthmode Blog pointed out, the findings indicate that most small business Facebook pages aren’t going to do a whole lot of good for targeted marketing. It may actually make the case for increased Facebook advertising, if the Facebook audience is who you’re trying to reach. Or more specifically, the local Facebook audience. Facebook ads have very specific targeting points.

MerchantCircle recently released survey results finding that 22% of local merchants have used Facebook ads, and that two thirds of them would use them again. Still, of the 35% of merchants who said they wouldn’t advertise with Facebook again, 69% said the ads didn’t help them acquire new customers. 35% said they were too expensive.

Are Facebook ads a good investment?

Brand-Damaging Security Messages

Something else that businesses should be aware of regarding their Facebook Pages is that their Page may be displaying messages to users that can be very harmful for their brands. Messages like this:

Turn off secure browsing?

We can’t display this content while you’re viewing Facebook over a secure connection (https).

Would you like to temporarily switch to a regular connection (http) to use this app?

You will have a secure connection upon your next login.

That’s probably not what you want potential fans to see. Dennis Yu points this out on AllFacebook, saying, “This is what your would-be fans are seeing. You spend all this effort to send non-fans, ad-driven or organic, to your default landing page, but you’ll lose them with this mistake. Facebook is getting most users to browse the site securely — so if any item on your landing page is not secure, that’s a brand killer.”

Enable SSL.

The Ban Bot

If you’re a Facebook application developer, you are at the mercy of Facebook’s ban bot. As we recently saw, some entire businesses were greatly impacted when Facebook’s algorithm deemed their apps not to be good enough, and shut them down without warning. More on that here.

Have you ever had Facebook block one of your apps?

Distrust

Netpop put out a study a couple months ago indicating that 8 in 10 social media users feel “uneasy” or “ambivalent” about sharing personal info on social media sites, and that users with privacy concerns rate social sites significantly lower in terms of level of trust about sites sharing info appropriately. This is something to consider for sites utilizing Facebook log-in, and various social plug-ins from Facebook. It’s gotten to the point where it is pretty hard to find a site that doesn’t use some kind of Facebook integration.

Do yo have any Facebook integrations on your site?

Has Facebook Peaked?

In June, we asked if Facebook has peaked. Various data points seemed to point to the conclusion that growth has slowed, and that other social sites were “eroding Facebook’s dominance of social”. And that was two weeks before Google announced Google+, which Facebook has already shown signs of panic over. You may recall the blocking of ads for G+ profiles. It has also been reported that Facebook’s been on “lockdown” since G+ launched.

A report this week from Appcelerator indicates that two-thirds of developers surveyed think Google+ can catch Facebook. 68% of think Google’s access to all of its various products is the key.

Do you think Facebook has peaked?

Recent Improvements Facebook Has Made For Businesses

You’ve probably already invested a significant amount of time and or money into Facebook. Don’t worry. It’s not all gloom and doom. For one, Facebook has proven to be an invaluable tool for plenty of businesses, and this will no doubt continue for the foreseeable future, despite the hype surrounding Google+.

Facebook has wheels in motion that may benefit your business more than what’s already been available.

Again, there’s that unfiltered version of the News Feed. While its “like” visibility factor may be limited, it should still be significantly better than as it stands now. They’re also supposedly working on some new ‘like” features that will allow users to share info with their likes, which could also help. The unfiltered feed will mean more people seeing their friends liking or sharing your content. It will mean a greater chance that more of your Facebook fans will see more of the updates you publish from your Facebook Page.

Facebook recently announced Skype-powered video calling. This could prove to be useful in business communication (although I’m not sure it stacks up to the Hangouts feature of Google+) other than the fact that Facebook simply has way more people.

Facebook has started bringing Facebook Places functionality (including check-in deals) to Facebook Pages with street addresses.

Facebook started letting Page admins send direct invites to their friends.

Facebook opened up its Ads API to application developers that prove they can provide something of value.

Speaking of developers, things seem to be getting better for them in general (since the big “ban bot” fiasco). Facebook has improved search for apps, provided developers with new insights, improved the dashboard, and made app testing easier.

Facebook Submit to Search

Facebook has also launched a nice how-to guide for businesses to get the most out of Facebook. More on this here.

It’s still recommended that you take some time to improve your Facebook Page. Take a look at the top 50 branded Facebook pages. Look at what’s working for them and figure out how you can emulate good strategies in ways that make sense for your own business. Here’s some things Victoria’s Secret does pretty well. What do you think are the most important elements of a Facebook Page?

There are a lot of positives and negatives that go along with Facebook as a business tool/strategy. Do you think the pros outweigh the cons? Can Facebook maintain its position as the most valuable social media marketing tool? Tell us what you think.

Facebook Issues That Could Cause Problems For Your Business
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  • http://www.realsunlight.co.uk/ Lisa

    This issue can happen with google. The issues of likes and google plus is just the same. Its just again a spam type. Need to figure out some other ways.

  • http://www.roiunlimited.com/mycashforums matt

    yes all people do on fb is spam you mostly with unreal busines offers mainly get rich over night ones and we all know this wont happen

  • Nick

    Customers of a business might not want to be publicly identified – especially if the business is “adult”.

    Businesses don’t want to expend the energy to amass a Friend or Fan base, for their competitors to grab.

  • Candide43130

    The fifteen percent local fanbase for local businesses reflects the way many people use Facebook to reach out of the circle of people they can interact with on a daily basis. A more useful breakdown of data would explain why the 85 percent of out of towners choose to like a distant business.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Would certainly be an interesting path to explore.

  • http://www.lshb.co.uk sam

    Facebook as little to worry about in regards to Google. I mean, Google will take a small fraction of SEO and consumer popularity but it cannot compete with the complete social media platform and community that Facebook has built over the past 5 or so years.

    Facebook offers more than just likes e.t.c it will still survive regardless.

  • http://www.visionefx.net Rick Vidallon

    Technical concerns aside, Facebook or ANY social networking platform should only be used when a long range plan has been set in place.

    Too many business have blindly followed others into social networking white water. If you have no plan or experience then doing this is simply a waste of time while a well planned ‘social use strategy’ will often yield good results.

    I shudder and cringe when a client asks me to put a Facebook like button on their homepage.

    What image are you trying to convey about your company?
    Should a cancer medical practice have a ‘Like’ button on their homepage? No.
    Should a pizza parlor or wine shop have a ‘Like’ button on their homepage? Sure.

    In my humble opinion the Facebook ‘Like’ button interface does not lend any professional sensibility to a business homepage. And from a search engine perspective I do not want Google detecting a Facebook link on my homepage.

    Call me supertisious, but I am not going to push any of my website or marketing clients in the direction of Facebook and Mark Zuckerfish until Google Plus and Facebook learn to play nice.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Sometimes the “recommend” button is more appropriate than the “like” button.

  • http://christinerage.com Christine

    My 2 cents as a musician I can tell you most of my circle agrees Facebook does little to grow a fanbase, it only really helps in keeping in touch with existing fans. Fans of musicians want to be on our friend accounts and not our fan because they want to communicate with us (you can’t message a fan page only post comments). With the 5000 makes this impossible to connect with all fans. I was daily messaging new friend requests to go to my fan paqge once I hit 5000 with a 30% conversion rate which is a waste of time considering fan base growth on other sites is much greater.

    Many of my friends in the music business have abandonded it and are taking our effort to social networks designed around music like Reverb Nation (and even some have gone back to Myspace!). It is difficult to convert friends to fans, there are no tools to promote our music (no music or video players). I even blogged on this myself that musicians should concentrate on gaining fan through radio play, live shows, video play and by growing their email lists and let those fans they gain trickle through to their fan account.

    If other musicians are like me and my circle, then Facebook will soon see many musicians (at least non signed artist) abandon the site or at least a drastic slowing of activity. I wouldn’t waste one cent on advertising on Facebook as a musician personally.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      MySpace is often the butt of jokes, and is clearly on the decline in traffic, but there are still millions of users – many of them interested in finding new music. I don’t think it’s wise for musicians to ignore MySpace.

  • http://www.browertechnology.com Gary Karlin

    It seems that facebook has blocked a template site that I use – www.wix.com for my small business. I found it frustrating, so we have to move to another site soon. My url points to a subdomain on the wix server, but the whole website is banned due to spammy content. That’s from day one when we started the website, through no fault of our own.

  • http://www.bestbizoffers.com/ Sabiha

    Facebook, Google plus or for that matter any social media marketing is only one part of the marketing arsenal that a business should have in it’s overall marketing plan. It’s not prudent to depend on any one type of marketing. What works for one business may not work for the other. This is where testing becomes important. Every business should always test and tweak to fine tune what works for them. So it’s unfair to generalize that Facebook marketing is useless or very profitable for everyone. The success of any marketing depends on a well laid out plan and the marketing funnel you set up to convert your leads. – Just my two cents…

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Sound advice.

  • http://woodlandsadagency.com WoodlandsWebsiteDesign

    “Has Facebook Peaked?” — Probably not, I still get friend invites from people who are just now adopting and using facebook.

    I would say Facebook has still not peaked.

  • http://MyNextSmartphone.com Gary

    I’ve just stared to use facebook. I don’t expect much from it, but it’s a start!

  • http://MyNextSmartphone.com Gary

    Facebook Ads & PPC are way too expensive for the little guy. You have to be a Fortune 500 Company to pay for an ad.

  • http://MyNextSmartphone.com ggreenwood4

    I have a WHITE LABEL website, run out of Virgina, I don’t want my home address on a MAP along with my personal e-mail address or home phone #! All the business that needs to be done can be taken care of on the website. No one needs any of my personal data!

  • http://online-marketing.vizfact.com VizFact

    Very insightful. I was planning on working on my Facebook pages today, glad I read this article first, it put things in perspective.

    The point about the FB login function was a damn good tidbit too. I was wondering about if it was worth it or not.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I think it just depends on what you’re hoping to accomplish.

  • http://cloudbloomers.com Julie Larson

    That was a good point about the image you’re conveying when you ask someone to turn off their secure browsing to view the pages. It definitely makes people uneasy!

  • http://myalmanac.blog.ca/ R. Hiebert

    Getting flagged by competition will send the “hounds o’ hell” after a good & ligit product, resulting in a suspension for 14 days. It took a request several days to get me back on “Marketplace”.

  • http://www.meanseo.com Chris Hibbard

    You missed the boat about fraudulent Facebook reviews. I have a client that may pull the plug on promoting the facebook page re posts etc as their fraudulent reviews can not be removed despite shutting off review App and reporting them.

    Twitter can not post automatically to the news feed on a company Facebook page as it does on a personal page. A real pain.

    Also when advertising via Facebook, the “app.facebook.com” traffic had a 2 times higher bounce rate and there is no way to shut it off and leave the better www.facebook.com traffic on.

    Lastly, with a custom landing page, tracking codes and a special coupon I was able to demonstrate with more than 45,000 paid FB traffic clicks only $400 worth of sales. Threw regular SE PPC traffic at the same page and got 2 times more page views, 3 times longer on site and conversions as normal even after I reduce the value of the coupon!

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I didn’t say there weren’t more issues :)

  • http://www.swissdisk.com mmmBuzz

    Excellent post and GREAT COMMENTS! –
    1. Depending on the day we get anywhere from 2 to 10 times as much referral business from Twitter as we do from Facebook. Plus the Facebook referrals have a very high bounce rate.
    2. We tried Facebook ads and the cost per conversion was EXTREMELY HIGH so we pulled our ads. The backside analytics/tools are weak too.
    3. It’s very easy to buy “Likes”, so what does a Like ultimately mean? Despite the propaganda put out by Facebook that a Like is worth big money, clearly the value of a Like is no higher than the price you can buy one for, and that’s a very low value.
    4. The marketplace is begging for advancements in the “Local business” arena. If Facebook would only allow people with a “local zip code” to Like a Local business then the value of those Likes would have far more value. I also agree with the point made that a Local business should be able to keep their Like list private. As Nick stated: Why spend the time to build up a big local Like list that all your competitors can snipe?
    5. Yes, by growth metrics Facebook HAS peaked. As more small and local businesses realize the points made on these comments they will pull their ads and slow down their FB activity. Plus, more and more individuals are becoming aware that any/ALL data posted on Facebook is then owned and controlled by Facebook, which can lead to unwanted future consequences. Thus more and more people are removing the invasive personal privacy settings that allow Facebook to share their personal information. The more people who restrict the sharing of their private information the less relevant Facebook becomes for businesses that are trying to target customers based on Facebook’s default “open settings”.

  • http://www.webhosting.uk.com/ Rachael

    Facebook surely presents with a great platform to connect with business clients and customers. In order to create an impressive presence on Facebook, it is essential to create a professional business page that will give out all the information and at the same time it will also look creative. With an interactive Facebook page, more people will connect with you. I think sharing videos and photos is the most crucial element of facebook as it helps in presenting the information in a better way.

  • http://www.chinahighlights.com ChinaHighlights

    Great post, and used Facebook Marketplace. But I think Facebook has still not peaked, Facebook growth has slowed, because Facebook have large real socail circle already.

  • http://get-business-online.com/ Gal

    This is probably a good overview of what professionals should have realized almost immediately. The general public jumped on the Facebook bandwagon for the social benefit, not for buying anything, and as you would expect, any move towards commercializing Facebook results in them trusting it less, using it less for buying decisions and causing mainly small businesses to throw their money to the wind.

    Facebook is good for building relationships and it’s not good for faking them. That’s what I tell my clients. That’s also why all those “social marketers” out there sell profile creation and strategy, but nothing that can replace genuine messages from the business. For big businesses, it’s about branding, so they don’t care, but most businesses should just accept Facebook for what it is.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      There has certainly been a fair amount of bandwagon jumping.

  • http://pilotincanada.com Pilot License

    That’s true, Facebook is really at a stand-point. Whereas Google is growing all around us. It seems Facebook has done all that it could, unless we’re going to get Facebook mobile phones coming out, or like Facebook laptops.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think Facebook has plenty left up its sleeve. See “facebook-future-2011-06″ rel=”nofollow”>What will be using Facebook for in Five Years?“

  • dallas allbritton

    Facebook as a marketing tool is a “bad” assumption that far too many business owners have made. Most of the posts made are lost in the sea of posts found on any page & the more friends you have the harder it is to see anything or pay attention to what is posted.

    Because FB is a “socializing” tool & not a marketing tool the goal of a business owner should be to “socialize” w/prospective clients but who has time to do that, effectively?

    I relooked at how I use this tool from a business perspective and no longer see it as the great means of getting my name out there. I use it to simply be social, say hi, express perspectives, share, etc. When I have an offering I message the person or people using data pulled from FB but contact them using other methods…. twitter, email, texting, etc.

    DPA
    2 pennies

  • Nancy

    I coudn’t agree any more.Facebook maintain its position as the most valuable social media marketing tool.

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    What businesses should remember is that whatever time and money they put into building up their FB fan page is time and money that they’re not putting into building traffic on the webpage directly. For some local businesses categories it can be useful but don’t fall into the trap of neglecting your website to work on your fan page.

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