Q&A: Do I need to be on Facebook?

I recently launched my business and I’m working on building social media profiles. I don’t have a lot of time and I’m worried that having many profiles will spread me too thin. I sell mostly to business professionals. Does my brand need to be on Facebook?

–Facebook Is Necessary?

Let me preface this with the following: I’m a product of the Facebook generation. I got a profile back when you had to have a college email to join. Social media helped shape my college experience, and therefore has had no small influence on my career. I love Facebook.

That said, FIN, you DO NOT have to have your brand on Facebook. Facebook Logo

Some brands need Facebook. Some brands will do wonderfully on Facebook. But some brands have no business even attempting to be on Facebook because it’s simply going to be a waste of time and money.

How do you know which of these your brand is? Should your brand be on Facebook?

Ask yourself the following:

  1. Am I selling to a Facebooking demographic? If you are trying to reach anyone under 30, women up to around 50 (Facebook is full of moms), college-educated folks around 18-30+, or social media addicts (this is a real demographic if you’re marketing games or apps), you need to be on Facebook. If you are targeting an over-40 demographic, especially males, Facebook might not be the place for you. FIN is targeting business professionals…FIN, are you on LinkedIn?
  2. Do I have the time needed to create and maintain a presence? Having a poorly maintained social media profile can actually damage your online reputation, especially if you are trying to cultivate a very professional appearance. It can be better to not have a Facebook profile than to have a bad Facebook profile.
  3. Following on #2: Are there other channels that will suffer if I put time into Facebook? In the case of FIN, time might be better spent on LinkedIn, or even Twitter (which can itself be time consuming in the extreme!). If FIN can’t keep up with all the profiles, he should focus on those that are the best options for him.

So for FIN, I’d probably recommend Facebook only if he has the time/bandwidth to maintain it. If he wants to ensure he’s ON Facebook but doesn’t have time for it, he can create a profile, lock it down to prevent people from making a mess of it with comments, and let it sit until he has time (or interns), but he should put in at least the time required to build a search-friendly, professional Page and make sure it’s set up to email him important updates so he doesn’t ignore potential business. Otherwise, though, FIN is probably better off putting time into LinkedIn and possibly Twitter and/or Google+, depending on the specifics of his business.

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Search Plus Google+

Google’s latest revision to search has created a small uproar in the online marketing and SEO communities–not to mention annoyed Twitter to no end (Facebook’s probably irked as well, but Twitter needs the publicity–complaining loudly is a bid to stay relevant that Facebook doesn’t need).

Here it is in a nutshell. Google has always personalized your search results, tailoring them to location, previous searches, and a whole host of other things. It’s the reason why your “ranking”–where your link appears in the search results–is not as cut and dried as many people believe. I don’t see the same results you see, and your Aunt Maggie sees a different set of her own.

The latest update to Google Search, however, is adding a whole new element of personalization, bringing in socially syndicated content from your friends, contacts, family and professional circles. Great, right? Okay, but the kicker to this is, it’s only bringing in Google+ information, not social data from Facebook, Twitter, etc. That’s why Twitter’s so annoyed.

So what does this mean for your business or brand? It means, that while Google + is still a fairly new social network with relatively low adoption, and despite the fact that the ability to have brand/business pages is still pretty new, you need to be on it and sharing your content via Google+, or you’re missing out on a newly-important way to get your name in the top of the personalized, individual results that Google is dishing out.

Marketing agencies are jumping on this train for all their clients. You can certainly set up and manage your own Google+ profile, but an experienced online marketing professional can be a big help in getting that profile set up to give you the greatest benefit in search results.

Want help with your Google+ or other social media profiles? Contact me.

For social media, marketing, usability and other tech news, you can follow me on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.