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5 reasons you don’t need a Facebook page

August 2, 2011

15 years ago, brands needed a website. They put them up, and for the most part, they’ve hated every minute of it.

The reason? Needing a website wasn’t a strategy. As a marketer, it is hard to like something when you can’t explain why it was needed.

Fast-forward to now, and things appear to be worse. Far too many marketers feel they need a Facebook page (or a social media presence).

A strategy never needs a tactic. Never. Ever.

5 reasons why you shouldn’t start a Facebook page.

If you already have a Facebook page that is older than a year, then carry on. Hopefully you’re able to back in a strategy, and you’ll begin to generate case studies. If you are thinking of starting a page today, please read this:

1. Early results are hard to replicate: I started a Facebook page 3 years ago for a well-liked quick service restaurant. We didn’t advertise the page in any way. The logo was on the website, but everyone agreed the website was horrible (see first sentence). In less than a month, Facebook went from 0 to 10K fans. Then something happened, and we watched 20K new fans come in one week. We got 100K fans in 8 months by just posting things like “Football or Basketball?”

That ship has sailed.

People didn’t have a lot of friends on Facebook back then. So they had room for brands. But now, with everyone’s great-aunt on Facebook, there is a lot of noise. The cost of liking a page is added noise that interrupts updates from my Tottenham-loving cousin. Being an Arsenal fan, I need to see those updates. Following Einstein Brothers Bagels, wherein they ask me my favorite bagel gets in the way of friend/family updates. The noise on Facebook is a problem: people will unlike brands to decrease it.

2. Even if you tell a lot of people about it, they still won’t come. I watched a really massive brand launch a Facebook page in October 2010. They sent an e-mail to the 1.2 million people subscribed to their newsletter inviting them to come. 20K took them up on the offer. To date, most fans come from advertising on Facebook. When they advertise, fans come. When they don’t, fans don’t.

Pink toilet paper

Image via Wikipedia

3. There’s a good chance that no one cares. A few years ago, Facebook changed ‘fan’ to ‘like’ on brand pages. When they did that, many people in Social Media thought it was great because “like” seemed like less of a commitment. People are not fans of their toilet paper, the theory went, but they might like toilet paper.

Turns out, not so much.

As Alan Wolk said long ago, people don’t want to be friends with your brand. And he’s right. But wait: aren’t there some people who will like toilet paper? Maybe: here’s a tip then, if you can’t find anyone in social media talking about how much they love your brand, then do not start a Facebook page. Listen first, launch a page only if you are overwhelmed by the chatter.

4. Increasing conversations is not a goal. It’s bullshit and you know it. You’re starting a Facebook page to seem relevant, so you need what sounds like a strategy. Admit it, you’re doing it because everyone else is. Tip: if you hate your website, ask yourself why? If the answer is it was launched because everyone else did, then learn the lesson. 

5. The analytics suck. Sorry, Facebook Insights suck. Facebook still cares about the user experience more than it cares about brand pages. I download those stupid excel sheets on a weekly basis and they come with small but annoying holes. Dates are missing, numbers are missing, and the data doesn’t make sense. We don’t pay for Facebook Insights, so I guess you get what you pay for. But they stink.

So there you have it. This post was inspired by this post. Which was inspired by this post: The seven dumbest sins of social media.

Have you started a Facebook page? What was the strategy?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Nigel permalink
    August 13, 2011 11:12 am

    Great post. Here is some feedback from Duncan Southgate, Millward Brown’s Global Brand Director for Digital, “Actively deciding not to do anything on Facebook is still an acceptable strategy, but you should at least consider how social media might help build your brand before making that decision.”

  2. August 13, 2011 7:30 pm


    thanks for the comment, I don’t disagree. The thing is, a brand can take advantage of Facebook without creating a Facebook page. A brand can place Facebook on their website, or they can simply listen to what people are saying on Facebook. They can learn things about their consumer that can inform other marketing. The overall point is this: brands have started way to many Facebook pages for the sake of it. They continue to start them. I think that’s dumb.


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