Why I don’t Recommend Facebook in 2023
Do small businesses need Facebook in 2023? No. Especially B2B organizations. There are ways you can use Facebook to your advantage, but it is not the “must-have” it once was.
Let’s start with the positives. Facebook can work as a digital Yellow Pages.
(If you are under 30, the “Yellow Pages” was a huge “book,” or bound stack of paper. People used it to find phone numbers for local businesses. They would then use a phone attached to the wall with a cable, to contact said business. It was as exciting as it sounds.)
Facebook isn’t the most important replacement for a Yellow Pages listing. That would be Google my Business, which I’ll talk about another day. However, your business Facebook Page should have all the contact info your audience is looking for, like your address, hours, website, and phone number.
Facebook Pages have some potential to increase your overall SEO. When someone searches your business name, for example, a Facebook Page with your website and contact information is not a bad thing for them to find.
A Lesson from Hospitality
The problem is when your Facebook page contains …well, anything else. When you start adding posts, reviews and Messenger, it almost always stops being worth the money. That’s because Facebook costs more to do well than it pays in promotion for most B2B businesses. Plus, the risks increase.
It reminds me of when I was a restaurant hostess as a teenager. It was my job to seat guests.
When it got busier than staff could handle, some manager always suggested opening a closed section. I had many arguments about how this did not help us. While it got more guests out of the lobby and sitting at tables, it didn’t ultimately make things better. We didn’t have more waitstaff or more kitchen capacity to open up.
The guests got poor service or faced long waits to get their food. I could see at 15 years old how this affected the word-of-mouth promotion of the restaurant.
Feeding the Beast
Think of the aspects of Facebook besides basic contact information you might be tempted to include.
You could promote specials or sales. You could gather user reviews. You could allow people to get in touch with you via Messenger.
The problem is, these features are like guests in your restaurant. They all need to be fed.
Whole Team Marketing
As you know, I’m a proponent of a three-step marketing process I call Whole Team Marketing.
The three steps are:
- Create the messaging you’ll use consistently to describe your business. Make sure every client-facing person on your staff knows it.
- Determine which tactics make the most sense to spread that messaging.
- Create a plan to put those tactics into action.
Note Step 2 does NOT read, “Use every tactic available to you to spread your messaging.”
Effective lead generation depends on high quality interaction with your audience. You can’t keep the quality high if you are trying to do every type of promotion possible.
Facebook in 2023
Some businesses use Facebook to great effect. However, most businesses that get a lot of paying customers from Facebook cultivated their presence years ago, when it was possible to reach large groups of people simply by posting. Those days are over. I am skeptical that any businesses creating new Facebook pages are having that kind of success.
Here’s why. There was once a time when Facebook could bring in enough organic traffic (i.e., the traffic you don’t pay for with ads) to make the time and effort spent on posting worthwhile.
That is not the case anymore. For small businesses using Facebook in 2023, the average organic reach is down to 5.2%.
That means if you have 100 followers, five people will see it. If you have a thousand followers, 50 people will see it.
It’s a real gamble because it’s entirely possible that none of those 50 people is looking for what you’re selling at that moment.
Imagine if one of them has something negative to say about you, and comments that negative sentiment on your post. You need to be diligent about monitoring, so you can make sure to reply to concerns.
That starts to become a lot of work and risk, without much gain.
Money, Effort, and Time
It simply takes too much money, effort, and time to use Facebook’s business tools. Facebook offers a suite of tools for small business owners, including letting customers contact you via Messenger.
This sounds hella convenient; customer queries going right to your phone. However, I don’t know about you, but I have a business to run. I already have to set aside time to reply to client queries. I can’t add instant messaging with random people into my day.
Facebook points to a Hubspot survey showing 90% of customers appreciate an immediate response to their query. But “appreciate” and “expect” are two different things.
If responding immediately to customers via Messenger makes you less effective overall, then it’s not worth it. You’d be better to set aside a block of time to answer queries in a timely, but not immediate matter.
I also don’t think Facebook posts –even ads—are worthwhile simply because of what Facebook is like these days. By that I mean, it’s a rage-inducing hellscape. The bonus of not relying on it for marketing is you get to stay away from the mess.