Social media experts will talk quite a bit about Facebook and the importance of Facebook fans or Facebook likes. This discussion revolves around the number of people that show their friends and followers that they like your brand.
There are a couple of reasons I see some value in creating a Facebook page for your business.
I’ll use Country Music Life, my personal website for country music reviews, as an example. The site started in May 2010 and since that time has grown in traffic and has really become a fun personal website. I also like using it hear on GBW as an example of what we can offer for clients.
At the same time Country Music Life launched I created a Facebook page for the site. I wanted to experiment with Facebook a little bit after having used it for personal reasons. Today I don’t use Facebook much. I only have a couple friends and I don’t provide updates. I check in on the CML page from time to time, but mostly I leave Facebook alone.
Here are the two areas of I’ve seen value with Facebook for Country Music Life.
First, Facebook likes add to your social proof. When people make decisions they use their experiences and knowledge to guide them, but since we don’t know everything about everything we look for other indicators to help us make the best decision with the knowledge at hand. If someone is looking for a reputable brand they will look for indicators like Facebook likes. In short, people figure that if a hundred or a thousand or a million people like your brand on Facebook then chances are you’re a respected brand. So there is some good that comes from having those likes, but recent news about fake and duplicate accounts on Facebook has lessened the social proof aspect of the Facebook fan.
Second, Facebook likes kind of work like a subscriber list. Over the last 6 months the referral traffic to Country Music Life has been about 17-18% from Facebook (~5% is Facebook mobile and StumbleUpon is #1 overall with 25%). The traffic from Facebook mostly comes from social shares of the posts on Country Music Life. My assumption is that additional traffic comes from the news feeds of the followers of CML on Facebook. I really haven’t done much to promote the Facebook page on CML. There is a simple text link in the sidebar next to the email subscription area. Other than that I have not done anything to promote the CML Facebook page. As of today there are about 500 fans of CML on Facebook. I look at these as subscribers. It’s always good to have a list of followers or subscribers for any business. If people opt-in to your list you have the permission to market to them. I market to these followers with updates of new posts, which is automated. The traffic comes in and it really acts like an update feed for fans.
The issue I have with Facebook fans is that it’s really not even a list. I don’t have any control over the “subscribers”. It’s nothing like an email list. I value an email address much more than I value a like.
With all the discussion about Facebook and other social media I really think the focus should be on your own properties. Your website is something you control. An email subscribe has much more value than a Facebook like or even a Twitter follower. Focus on the lists you control and market to those people. Earn their trust with the content you share on your blog.
There is some value in a Facebook fan or a Facebook like, but it still doesn’t compare to your own properties.