6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Put All Your Eggs In The Facebook Basket

Don't put all your eggs in the Facebook basket There is no stopping Facebook at this point, no doubt about it. And with that also comes the increasing number of brands and companies engaging in the creation and management of Pages (or “Fan Pages” as they used to be known).

We even hear about companies not having websites anymore to migrate all their efforts to Facebook. Okay, those are extreme cases but you can’t deny that at least once you heard about it.

The problem is we are jumping in the wagon as we did back in the day when we decided that we needed a website because our competitors had one. We ended up building millions of digital brochures that did nothing but get you an “online presence”. What if Facebook Pages are not all that? What if they don’t work as well as we think they do?

This doesn’t mean that Facebook Pages are not good for anything, they have proven to be a good traffic generator in some cases for example. They are great to increase your reach and build an audience for your blog.

But what we shouldn’t do is put all our eggs in Facebook. Today I’m giving you 6 reasons not do that.

One thing I want to say before we jump into this is that I’m not a Facebook hater and I am not one of those people that gets upset at change. I say this because it seems to be a good week to trash Facebook. This is absolutely not the case.

Now we can do this… here are my 6 reasons why you should NOT put all your online efforts into Facebook:

1. You do NOT own the traffic

You shouldn’t put your focus on any channel for that matter, you don’t own traffic on social networks or any other service that you don’t host on your own server with your own domain.

It’s not just that you don’t own the traffic, if you think about it, you don’t own any of the interactions either (Likes or Comments) from your page. You don’t even own the domain. If you want to open a new Page, Facebook doesn’t even let you migrate your Likes if you’re not a major brand.

This point should also be a consideration when you think about blogging on platforms such as Tumblr, Posterous or WordPress.com. Your best bet when using services like this is that you set them up to use a custom domain, then when you decide to migrate to another service, at least you have created awareness on the domain. Otherwise, you should focus on a platform that you completely own, like the self-hosted WordPress.

2. Not everybody sees your updates

Most people managing a Facebook Page don’t know that posts are NOT automatically posted on the News Feed for everyone to see. In fact, for some Pages most updates won’t  even make it there.

Did you know that there is a high percentage of people that click Like on your Page that will never come back to it? Now, if they don’t come back and they can’t see our updates on the News Feed then what the hell are we doing?

There is a post coming here on SocialMouths in a few days that talks about this in more detail.

3. You don’t know how it really works

 

Facebook  EdgeRank Algorithm

There are a few factors of Facebook Pages we don’t quite yet understand. Some of the common ones I see on a daily basis are:

  • How and where people really interact with your content
  • What is EdgeRank
  • How to optimize your content to perform better on the News Feed
  • How to read Facebook Insights

And much more. The problem with not knowing how these things work is that you are putting a lot of work into it and it all goes to waste. It is very frustrating.

4. Your Landlord can change things at anytime

As we all saw last week, the landlord can just come in your apartment and rearrange all the interior walls and your furniture as he pleases and he couldn’t care less about notifying you in advance. The reason is very simple: He owns your apartment!

When was the last time you sent a check to Facebook for hosting your profile? That’s what I thought…

Point is that Facebook, or any other network, will make changes that sometimes are not the best fit for you and there is really nothing you can do but adjust your business.

5. Is not the best communication channel

Twitter has proven that when it comes to communications (i.e. Customer Service), there is nothing like its real-time conversation model and the ease of brand monitoring. Facebook doesn’t have that. Period.

Let me ask you this, how long does it take you to get back on a comment? Do you know how fast communications happen on Twitter? Even Google+ seems like it flows faster.

6. Engagement is extremely low

Eminem Facebook Page

Real engagement on Facebook Pages is almost non-existent. Here is an example of what I’m talking about…

in a recent study, Market Sentinel surveyed 20 of the most “Liked” Pages from celebrities and found that the number of “Core Fans” is in fact much lower than the actual number of “Fans”. MS has defined “Core Fans” as those fans who have commented more than the Page average.

As of May 2011 no celebrity had more Fans than Eminem on Facebook with a count of over 41.5 million. The count for “Core Fans” is a different story with only 575. Which means that the percentage of “Core Fans” is 0.0001%. The highest percentage is for Selena Gomez with a sad 0.0005%.

Core Fans on Facebook Pages

Courtesy of Market Sentinel

Should you not be on Facebook then?

That’s not at all what I’m saying. What I’m saying is:

  • You should not build the core of your online business on Facebook
  • You should not use it as a hub for your online presence
  • You should not send your traffic to your Facebook Page

You know how they say that websites are becoming a thing of the past, that Facebook is swallowing the Internet and it makes sense to be where your community is? Here is what I have to say: DON’T.

Facebook is great, in fact is my number #1 referral source of traffic sometimes and I try to leverage it in any way I can, but the place where you drive your traffic, build an audience and a community and engage with your tribe, is your blog my friends.

Continue to be on Facebook, just don’t put all your eggs in it!

Share your thoughts

How are you doing with your Page? Do you know how many updates makes it to the News Feeds? Do you know how many of your fans are “Core Fans”? I your Facebook Page sending traffic to your blog or website?

Share your thoughts in the comments section or ask questions if you want.

Image credit: Facebook EdgeRank graphic courtesy of Moontoast.

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  • http://live-your-love.com/ Brankica | How to blog

    Hey Francisco, great points. I noticed that Twitter works for me much better than Facebook. Including traffic, conversations and the speed of finding help when you need it. Same goes for Google+. I am not liking the changes FB made and most people will say “well just leave”. Well, I pretty much did it. At least partially. 

    I believe that compared to last month, my Facebook activity is about 10% now. And I plan to keep it as low as possible. It just doesn’t work for me and the main thing that doesn’t work for me is that I have to get used to the changes all the time without even needing any changes. 
    Sure Twitter and G+ can do the same but when is the last time Twitter made such a big “improvement” that everyone complained about. 

  • Whitney Gallegos

    Francisco, interesting observations regarding Facebook. I am new to the ‘social media’ world. I am currently taking a business course regarding social media at the University of Nevada, Reno. We are in the process of learning about Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc. I have had a Facebook account for a long time, but I haven’t figured out the REAL purpose people use Facebook. From my observations Facebook is more of a ‘social’ not ‘professional’ arena for businesses to focus their marketing. The only thing that I have seen that is beneficial for businesses is people checking in to places or businesses posting deals they may be offering. Like I said Facebook doesn’t seem ‘professional’ enough for me.

    If I truly wanted to get my business out there and noticed, as I have been learning, blogs and tweets are the tools that will spread my business information like wild fire. Thanks again for the thoughts on facebook.

    Whitney Gallegos
    http://www.whitneygallegos.wordpress.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/davevandewalle Dave Van de Walle

    You are brilliant, Francisco. I keep telling clients and prospects that “Single Point of Failure” is dangerous. Integrated marketing strategy, in line with objectives…that’s the way to go.

    I love Facebook, too…but it’s not the whole web.

  • Cyntia Bravo

    Great post! Here in Brazil it’s not different. But in large part I see this behavior in small companies. They think that Facebook is so amazing and easy that they just need to have an account and bingo! They make many fans. As you observed, Facebook is always changing. Than, how to put all their eggs in this basket? I agree with each point!

    @cyntiabravo:twitter 

  • Cyntia Bravo

    Great post! Here in Brazil it’s not different. But in large part I see this behavior in small companies. They think that Facebook is so amazing and easy that they just need to have an account and bingo! They make many fans. As you observed, Facebook is always changing. Than, how to put all their eggs in this basket? I agree with each point!

    @cyntiabravo:twitter 

  • http://www.christine.biz Christine McCarthy

    I always kind of figured that with FB pages… but its neat to see the stats. Especially in regards to Fans vs Core Fans. 

    On my own experience… Even though I have liked many pages, I tend to only look at my main ‘friends & family’ lists via my personal page. So, alot of it is skipped through. 

    Then again, I don’t always comment via FB (like a core fan). Like this for instance… found your link in FB and commenting via your site. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Hotelogix Hotelogix

    I agree that a cross-platform integration is key…you should never put all of your marketing efforts into one channel or the other. The other problem with Facebook is that it is very localized while Twitter has more of a global presence and the ability to freely communicate with people is much greater. We’re a hotel property management software company and we’ve found much better results on Linkedin and Twitter due to their global reach and the more personalized connections you establish there.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Hey Christine, you’re making a lot of sense, I think the behavior of the user has a lot to do with how the see the platform. In this case, people see Facebook as a tool to network with family and friends.

    Most people give the brand a “Like” as a token of appreciation, not because they wand to remain connected to it. True engagement is very low.

    Thanks for your comment, how is everything with you?

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Cynthia, I wish I was in Brazil with a Caipirinha in my hand right now!

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Hey Dave, I woke up screaming and sweating last night… Facebook was shipping CD’s so you could access the Internet!

    Now that I think about it, some of these thoughts are also aligned with your post http://socialmouths.com/blog/2011/09/08/holistic-social-media/

  • grant tregellas

    I love the stats on the “core” fans. Actually ever since I went to a friends gig, who has over 5000 “fans” on his page…and there were about 30 people there…

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Whitney!

    Facebook or any other tool is whatever perception the end-user has of it. In this case Fb is so powerful that it is talking time away from TV, no question about that. Now, how much of that time is dedicated to interact with brands and business. 

    Can you imagine, looking at how low engagement is on celebrity pages, how much true engagement happens on small business pages?

  • Suzy Jenkins

    I have an online shop of ArtFire who show the statistics of where your page views are coming from.  Although I have a page on Facebook and I post one item a day (+ my blog) on all 4 of the media sites + bookmarking sites I find probably 80% of the visits come from StumbleUpon and 15% from Twitter with the rest varied but only a few from Facebook.  In fact I think more come from my blog than from Facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Nicolieolieosis Nicole Pepe

    I know that as a FB user, I like things because (as the word implies) I like them. I don’t necessarily need to hear from or about them every day -  I just like to show my support for companies/brands/products/groups that I support or actually like (outside of the FB world). 

    However, as the social media rep for a jewelry company I am battling with people like myself everyday. I’m constantly trying to find ways to make our facebook more interactive with the end goal of generating a buzz about our brand resulting in more traffic/sales to our website.

    I totally agree with your 6th reason because it see it happening on our business page every day. We have thousands of fans but few “core” fans that are truly interactive. However, I’ll take free advertising on Facebook to connect with those few “core fans” over “no fans” any day.

    -Nicole Pepe
    https://www.facebook.com/GEMaffair

  • http://xeeme.com/MaritaR Marita Roebkes

    Agree – Let your friends and customers decide where they want to connect and meet with your company . All eggs in one basket – dangerous.

    Marita
    http://xeeme.com/maritar

  • Ben Keen

    I’ve really enjoyed this article.  I run a group for Post 9/11 Veterans in the Pittsburgh area called “Steel City Vets”.  This is a group for veterans of Operation Enduring and Operation Iraqi Freedom to get together through social events. 

    I use FB to mainly get the word out about the group and to share information on upcoming group events and to share news relating to Post 9/11 veterans like new benefits and such.  I can not deny the fact that FB has really gotten SCV out there.  The week before September 11th, I posted a question asking if people could remember exactly where they were when they heard about the attacks.  I figured I would get a few hundred replies, mainly from my friends and contacts but then the question got over 2.3 MILLION replies!  Now this was good and it was bad.  That meant that 2.3 million people at least heard about SCV but it also meant that several people left comments on the poll that were not supportive and in at least one case bordered on threats.  I was able to do some damage control but did not delete the poll because I feel that most of the answers were great and needed to be shared.

    I think people need to keep in mind that as mentioned in the article, we do not own the content on FB.  I couldn’t delete the comments on the poll because FB doesn’t allow it.  I monitor the page very closely to ensure I’m presenting a good image but again, I don’t own the content.  I have started to use the page to connect people to a newsletter that I produce that shares a lot of information as well and I’ve seen an increase in that traffic but will continue to use FB as one of the tools but not the only tool in my case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gjohnson352 Greg Johnson

    It’s an excellent point. The other issue that’s not listed here is the cost of creating FB-specific assets related to any ecosystem project. They might have the scale, but we all operate within a budget and I can’t make their scale greater than the rest of the world. And I’m much more in control of the mechanics if I build elsewhere. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/msanghviofindia Mitesh Sanghvi

    Hey, just before reading your post, I was frightened. The reason was I was thinking of giving online presence to my newly created group so as to use social media for interacting with them, others and do business. These points frightened me:

    1) Ok now that I have a group on PeerIndex, I thought now to interact with them in best possible way. I tought of Facebook Pages.
    2) Hey then it came in my mind that group members may not love to interact on open FB page. So I decided to go for Facebook Group.
    3) Then I thought that my mother group came into existence due to Twitter. Hence i also thought to have official twitter account for the group
    4) Now that would be incomplete if i don’t catch profesionals. So i thought of LinkedIn groups
    5) LinkedIn and may not help me in getting paid members. So I thought of going for GroupSpaces.
    6) Now it came in my mind, what will happen if groupSpaces fails/extincts…

    I got frightened!

    Had then started thinking on similar lines as to what you have written.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.meadows Greg Meadows

    I’m struggling right now with this issue. We have a new blog (2 subscribers) and a Fan Page with 350 Fans who are not really engaged. We are a Web TV series/blog and with the new FB social features+Social Graph API it is worth consideration to setup a custom FB app “where the people already are” versus trying to market and SEO them over to or site. Now, of course we need to make the content compelling in either scenario. But assuming we have fantastic content the FB Wall is going to be very, very active and perhaps more “live” than even Twitter is. I could even see FB providing a “rewind” feature to see what you’ve missed. Bottom line is the FB Wall itself will be very compelling content for 750m people.

    However, with these social features permeating both FB and our web sites I have a question: 

    which would be more difficult in the next 12-18 months….convince people to momentarily leave FB for something or engage with your content regardless of where it lives?

    I like Francisco’s table above and I’ve not visited any of those celebrity pages but it could be the reason why all of them have ZERO Core Fans is because the celebrities have nothing to say (i.e. compelling content). I think a better study would be a table of the most active Fan pages no matter how many fans they have and see what content works the best on Facebook (and if they have an identical blog setup)

    G

  • http://www.theinspirededge.com Theinspirededge

    It is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket they end up cracked! LOL  We have a fb page which we get a little traffic to our website from but have found twitter to be a better avenue. Even google + has me more tickled at the results than fb. So we are doing them all. ***THUD****

  • Kenny

    Have to agree with this. Especially if your audience is technology buyers in 1- 1000 employee organisations. these folks do spend that much time on facebook.

  • Ric

    Wow, well written and absolutely true! In my world, Facebook is an annoyance because we can’t control anything and their changes are sometimes, quite honestly goofy. I really see no real benefits, for us, because we are web proficient and code savvy, but are forced…to be on this Facebook thing. Everyone, who doesn’t really understand asks “Are you on facebook?”. So, we must… 

  • Anonymous

    Hey Fransisco, long time no talk. :)

    I agree with you, and after recent events, I’m even beginning to question whether Facebook pages will remain. I know that’s a bold statement, but with features like the subscribe button, apps for the timeline,  and the cover picture, it almost seems as though pages have become less relevant.Don’t get me wrong though, I still think a page is necessary as a presence, but feel that in order to have sustainablity, the hub really needs to be owned by you.

  • Robert Nissenbaum

    Since you asked us to share our thoughts:

    1. You do NOT own the traffic - This is an interesting one.  First, I really don’t need to own the traffic.  I just need to leverage Facebook to drive the traffic to my sites (facebook is the #2 referred of traffic to my website and blog).  That said, I am also using the WordPress plugin WPBook and a custom app that posts my blog directly to Facebook.  Taking it a step further, comments posted within Facebook on that blog post are imported directly as blog comments – so, in fact, if I choose to leverage the app as the platform for EVERY post, I would infact own the traffic.

    2. Not everybody sees your updates - Correct, but through tagging, sharing and leveraging my networks my posts regularly show on the news feeds of my fans.  How do I know – I ask them!  As a matter of fact posts on my pages generate a significant amount of comments and likes even without tagging.  For that to occur, the post must have been visible.  Thanks to the new ticker, while a fan might not see the original post, they may see a friend’s interaction on my page.  

    On one of my pages, I actually run a regular feature 3 days per week.  I actually have fans that come back regularly on those days for that content even if they don’t see the post itself.  I skipped a week of the regular posts and on those days, I had fans take the time to post asking why the feature was not available.  

    I also have hard data to verify that while most of my fans are not active on the page, they are aware of what I post.  Always a pleasure when a fan makes a purchase based on a post – especially when that fan has NEVER liked or commented on anything.  To simplate that most fans never come back is simplistic.

    3. You don’t know how it really works - But I do understand it.  I can read and decipher my insights and Edge rank (50 for the year on my main page) and I have figured out how to tweak my posting strategy to affect Edge and Insights.  I have been able to do this very successfully and was able to duplicate my success for a friend by having him employ my strategies.  HUGE difference.

    4. Your Landlord can change things at anytime  This may be true but the same applies indirectly for websites and blogs since they rely on SEO and Google routinely tweaks their algorithms for search ranking.  I can guarantee that those changes aren’t always within your best interests either. 

    5. Is not the best communication channel Twitter might be better for rapid engagement, but Facebook is no slouch if used correctly.  You asked how long it takes me to respond to a comment in Facebook – my average response time is no different than it is for Twitter.  Why – mobile communications.  You comment – I respond.  I have had many real-time conversations is Facebook.  

    6. Engagement is extremely low  Seems to me that this is less a function of Facebook’s platform and more a function of content.  I do know who my core fans are and regularly engage and reward them.  I only need 1 core fan to drive enough revenue to make the time spent worthwhile.  Fact is, one of my pages actual has 25 core fans out of 450 fans.  That works out to .056%.  I would consider that a high level of engagement.  Content is the key.

  • Michaelfisherlmp

    I found you on a re-tweet. 
    Since the changes have been made to FB my new likes have gone down and so have my comments from users.
    On a personal note, I can’t stand the new timeline on my personal page. I refuse to give FB info on who my close friends are or who my family is. I will not create a list!  While I understand FB already knows this info due to my interaction with these people, I feel like it is an invasion of my privacy to be asked to list them. It’s creepy.
     I wish I never created a personal account on the damn thing.
    Twitter is better. Hands down, all the way.

  • Neil Mossey

    Love this post — The way I got my head around what I wanted to do online is to think of it as a stream, and a place (“my own”place) where that content ended up (my blog).
    The stream pushes me to create new content, and my place means that it ends up somewhere searchable and promotable, and hopefully its not in the hands of a platform that can make it virtually disappear. 
    I fire out that stream to twitter and facebook, in the hope that it ultimately draws eyeballs to “my place”.

    Here’s a question – do you have a pet name for your “own place”.

    I call it a Mothership, but I’ve heard other people use different names for the concept of the place/domain/blog ultimately acting as a hub/repository/reservoir for your community?

  • http://www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com/ Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

    While I am a big FB fan page fan, I am aware of these issues and therefore I diversify my efforts. Twitter is one of my favorite traffic sources.

  • Betsy Kent

    I totally agree with you! Great post. Funny thing, I used the same analogy about a landlord the other day when discussing Facebook changes (if you want to take a look, it’s here: “Facebook Changes, Why the Anger?” http://bit.ly/prEVYd ). 
    I urge my clients to approach Facebook as a tool. A tool for what? That depends on what their goals are. I have some clients with over 250K fans and some with less than 1K. We use Facebook in combination with other tactics, and sometimes not at all. 
    I think it will become a whole other story when Facebook achieves true search functionality. Then the game will change, but for now, I recommend Facebook as part of a toolbox, not THE toolbox. 

  • http://www.yourlifeyourway.net/2011/09/19/300-reasons-to-be-happy-things-to-love-about-your-life-now/ Tia Sparkles

    I truly 1000% agree with this. Always, always, always think of my blog as my social media hub and direct as much as I can there. Not just eggs in one basket, don’t put your eggs in someone else’s basket! Keep the majority with YOU. Sharing!

  • Sharon

    Very interesting, but how do you determine a “core fan” count? I’m sure it’s my ignorance, but nothing resembling this comes up with Google search for “core fan and Facebook”

  • DaddyChronic

    We will post this article at FB !!! Greetings from Berlin

  • http://twitter.com/IndyMarketplace Indy MarketPlace

    great article. I have been trying to get people to use other free resources, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. Facebook is a great resource, but it seems tired. While the Like button is a great tool, I unlike pages as soon as they start posting on my Newsfeed

  • http://www.alspaulding.com AL Spaulding

    Yikes! You just straight up slapped the taste out the mouths of the Devout Followers Of Facebook. Great info. I was just talking about this the other day in regards to Social Media. while it’s important to double up on your marketing strengths you can’t depend on just one venue or platform especially if it is not your own hosted domain and server. Thanks for getting in depth in regards to facebook. I’ll make sure to share this and pass it along. Cheers!
    ~AL

  • http://kkfmedia.com Kelly

    Great article. I focus on Social Media Marketing with my clients, but always warn them that it is just one part of their overall marketing strategy.   I especially like your point about the landlord.  These are free services and they can change their structure at any time.

  • http://www.christinemarsh.com Christine Marsh

    Fabulous Francisco, Thank You for this interesting post. I have struggled with Facebook. I like it, but definitely do not put all my eggs there! Your infographics are a nice touch too! Have a magnificent day! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jmpruitt75 James Pruitt

    I totally Agree Francisco! great post for sharing. I am always telling people NEVER rely on ANY third party, and Facebook is no exception. Its like the huge following of ‘Google SEO fanatics who freak out every time they make a tweak and they lose some rankings. If they didnt rely on that one thing for traffic, they wouldn’t lose their entire business over night.

    any third party site that you don’t control should be leveraged, but don’t rely on ANYONE for your business but yourself.

  • http://blogsnewsreviews.com Astro Gremlin

    Nice photo of eggs.  Seems as though they will be a success no matter where you park them.  I like Facebook because you can post several complete sentences.  Am I going to forego my blog?  Not likely, although I’ve been getting some nice traffic by amphibiously-posting most articles on both blog and Facebook.  Posts seem to get lost on Twitter.  You make some good point, Francisco.  It’s jarring when they change the mechanics of posting.

  • http://www.transformationcatalyst.ca Michele Soregaroli

    Fabulous post! Business success is dependent on 4 core Pillars: Visibility, Connection, Engagement, and Delivery. Facebook can support Visibility and Connection reasonably well; however, it’s not a strong platform for Engagement (#6 above) which is the foundation of Great Business.  In terms of Delivery, as you pointed out in #4, we don’t control it, so it’s an unreliable platform that creates unpredictable experiences for our Followers and Fans … and that’s not what they have signed up for.

    Great to see that you are willing to challenge popular thinking and assess the real value to organizations participating in these initiatives. What’s good for one may not be right for another.  

  • http://www.wfgreview.com/category/WFG-Convention-of-Champions.aspx WFG Convention

    You have posted some brilliant suggestions.I think the behavior of the user has a lot to do with how the see the platform. In this case, people see Facebook as a tool to network with family and friends.

  • Diceandloopsmusicproduction

    great post.

    diceandloops http://www.diceandloops.com/blog.html

  • http://www.detroitflowers.info/ detroit florist

    I say this because it seems to be a good week to trash Facebook. 

  • http://www.pcrent.co.il/ Grettane

    There is no stopping Facebook at this point, no doubt about it. And with
    that also comes the increasing number of brands and companies engaging
    in the creation and management of Pages (or “Fan Pages” as they used to
    be known).

  • http://www.windvestcorp.com/loanprograms.php Britni Borges

    Okay, those are extreme cases but you can’t deny that at least once you heard about it.

  • http://www.sprachschule-stark.com/ Alysha

    And with that also comes the increasing number of brands and companies
    engaging in the creation and management of Pages (or “Fan Pages” as they
    used to be known).

  • Vixen Campbell

    This doesn’t mean that Facebook Pages are
    not good for anything, they have proven to be a good traffic generator
    in some cases for example. They are great to increase your reach and
    build an audience for your blog.

    http://www.ebikerleather.com/