Facebook is very comparable to YouTube as a stand alone platform for online businesses. By itself, the amount of time and labor needed versus the financial return really isn’t worth it for most internet entrepreneurs.
However, if you approach Facebook with a comprehensive marketing and advertising platform grounded upon synergy, it could become a potent money maker. But earning that profit is also fraught with pitfalls, and if you’re going to try to embrace it as a business platform, here are four points of advice.
I) Say it with me – Do not spam your friends. This is always the first question you should ask yourself when it comes to any marketing “guru” that’s trying to sell you on the business benefits of Facebook. You should always ask whether a market strategy involves spamming your contacts and networks.
Yoking the strength of your social media networks can be vital in many internet markets such as launching a Kickstarter campaign or building up the reputation of your online business through word-of-mouth advertising. You should always remember that the internet has actually magnified the potency of word-of-mouth advertising because of blogs, chat rooms, smart phones, and social media platforms.
Why is this important to remember? Because word-of-mouth advertising can cut both ways, and while it can help a business flourish and prosper, it can also cripple and destroy some of your most valuable networks; networks that might have raised you tens of thousands in business capital through a well-planned Kickstarter campaign, but instead you decided to squander your social capital by embracing a spamming strategy.
Don’t put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When it comes to sound marketing and advertising strategies, put yourself in your own shoes to understand this point. You have a friend on Facebook who suddenly turns into a used car salesman on you, and after spamming your feed as well as constant messages harassing you about some product or service he’s trying to sell, what might you be tempted to do? You lose respect for him, tune him out, and perhaps even block him.
II) Be conscious of the fact that you’re now a Facebook entrepreneur and not simply utilizing it for social engagement. What does this mean? It means don’t put your foot in your mouth through careless content. People who try to establish a brand and reputation on Facebook should realize that whatever they post (whether it be on a personal page or a business page) could carry far greater consequences than simply being criticized or defriended.
You’ve made the conscious decision to approach Facebook as a business platform rather than a social networking site. You’re now in the business of expanding your readership, monetizing content, and above all, making a profit, and as with any other business, bad publicity can torpedo your business in the blink of an eye.
Posting on politics or controversial social issues, posts filled with profanity and crude references, as well as posts that include links and content that some might find offensive, all of these could comeback to bite you in the ass.
III) Practice “soft synergy” when trying to yoke your private page networks. Just like with YouTube, one of the easiest ways to monetize Facebook isn’t through selling products or service, but by using it as a funneling tool to increase web traffic, Google page rankings, and sales conversions for a fully-monetized website.
Post the website link to your Facebook page, and then make a concerted effort to “up your game” in regards to increasing the quality, originality, and above all, the level of engagement of your posts.
The rules that apply to blogs also apply to Facebook in regards to asking open-ended questions within your content, as well as finishing a post with, “What do you think?”
That’s especially true on posts where you’ve included the link to your monetized site. The more people who write a response, the greater the chance that they’ll also click on your website link
Just don’t overdue it. This is where the concept of “soft synergy” really comes into play. An excellent way of getting past people’s mental spam filters might be through humorous posts, pictures, and videos when talking about your website.
IV) Quality, personalized products work better and reduce the chance of alienating your networks. To start this point, if you’re tying to utilize your friendships in order to sell a scam product from Clickbank, please shoot yourself.
We go back to a very simple point about effective marketing and advertising, how would you like to be treated? Better still, how would you respond to someone trying to manipulate a personal friendship in order to sell a sub-par product or service?
But there are exceptions, and quality made, personalized products are at the top of the list. If you’ve written an e-book, your Facebook network could be an excellent platform to build up an initial readership. If you focus on quality over quantity, a t-shirt business that specializes in good designs and witty phrases could also do well. If you specialize in making hand-crafted products such as handcrafted jewelry or pottery, they could also sell well.
The more personal, authentic, and sincere the products are, the better the chance for success. But if you’re thinking about going “full bore” with daily content, images, and posts, a separate business page might be necessary.
The potential drawback to starting a second page is that you could suffer a severe drop in readership, likes, followers, and sales conversions as you’re trying to redirect traffic to a new page, and this leads many Facebook entrepreneurs to try to synchronize their business activities into their personal feeds. But as stated, that can have severe consequences and cripple the potency and social capital embedded your networks.
Conclusion - If you’re going to use Facebook as a business platform, my advice would be to try to launch a Kickstarter campaign first. Not only could it raise you thousands in startup capital, it can also create an initial customer base that you can yoke and build upon through a Facebook business page.
But you should always be courteous and respectful towards your audience. At the end of the day, Facebook is a social platform for family, friends, and acquaintances to meet-up and talk. You’re the interloper who has decided to use it as a business platform, and if you come across as overbearing and disingenuous, some of your most valuable social capital will be destroyed after you’re branded as a spammer.