Are you an entrepreneur, digital nomad, or a small business owner looking to capitalize on the power of social media? Facebook marketing can be one way to do that, but it's important to understand both the pros and cons before making this an integral part of your overall strategy. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at how Facebook marketing works for businesses and some potential pitfalls to watch out for as you get started. Dive in and explore the many benefits (and limitations) of using Facebook as a key tool in your digital marketing efforts!
The Pros and Cons of Facebook
No matter which route you go, using the Facebook ad platform to promote your business page has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Here's a brief summary:
Keep reading and we'll take a deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of the world's most popular social networking site.
Advantages of Facebook
When it comes to getting your business's name in front of potential customers, Facebook is the best social platform there is, hands-down. Here are some of the pros:
Massive platform with an enormous existing user base
Facebook averages over 2 billion active users per day. This means that there are over 2 billion people using Facebook on a daily basis, beating out Twitter by approximately 1.75 billion, Instagram by approximately 700 million, YouTube by approximately 500 million, and TikTok by approximately 1.4 billion. This makes Facebook the platform with the largest existing user base of all social media sites, and it only shows signs of continuing to grow in the future.
Easy to use
You don't have to be a tenured marketing pro to use this as a marketing tool. Facebook is one of the most user-friendly sites out there, both for consumers and for businesses. Making a Facebook page for your business takes less than 5 minutes (and it's free!), and it does not take long to learn the advertising platform.
If you make the decision to begin advertising on Facebook, you'll find that Facebook offers some of the best ad targeting customizations available. You can adjust your target demographics, your keywords, your target customer's interests, their geographic location, and more, as well as adjusting your ad, itself, from the ad copy to the media you use. Tweaking the settings makes it easier to optimize your ad's performance.
Facebook tracking allows you to track your spending as well as how effective your ads are. The more effective an ad, the less expensive the advertising- and you can set spending limits to make sure you don't go over budget, too.
This is a tool that allows you to track the clickthrough rates of your ads, as well as letting you see who clicks through your website and where they drop off. This lets you track not only the effectiveness of your ads, but also the effectiveness of your website and the copy you have on it.
Able to share and promote without using advertising
If you already have an existing following, it's easy to promote your business without having to pay for advertising, especially if your business is a locally-owned brick-and-mortar store. Your reach will be greater if you use paid advertising, but it's not absolutely necessary.
Excellent for affiliate marketing or selling your own products
If you're trying to market for other people, then Facebook can be a great tool to get those things in front of people's eyes, as well. Whether you're selling for someone else via affiliate marketing, or selling your own products such as a book or a digital course, this is a way to get your name out there without having to spend upwards of $10k on an advertising agency to do the same things for you.
Sounds great, right? Especially if you already have an audience to market to.
Disadvantages of Facebook
However, for all the advantages that Facebook gives, there are a number of disadvantages to it, too.
Here are some of the cons:
Facebook advertising is paid advertising
Unless you're relying on your existing social network to do the heavy promotional work for you, then you'll have to pay good money to get your name out there. If you have a lot of great friends with a lot of great friends of their own, and you're comfortable with saying "Hey, I've got a great product/business, and you know I do a great job! Spread the word!", then you may be able to get your name out there without spending a cent. But most businesses pay for their advertising.
Daily spending caps are not reliable
If you tell Facebook you only want it to spend $5.00 per day on advertising, it does not stop at $5.00 per day. Instead, it simply minimizes the number of ads it puts out per day; it does not stop charging you if the same people see the same ad multiple times. This can easily cause you to go over your online marketing budget, and if your business needs are not met, then it can be difficult to balance your marketing budget with your income.
Facebook ads are interruption marketing
Interruption marketing is exactly that: Marketing that interrupts someone's feed and breaks them from the immersion of their day. Interruption marketing often puts products and services in front of people when those products and services may not be welcome or needed (which is why it's essential that you know your audience very, very well).
You need to have a very good product or service on offer
This goes back to Point #3. Interruption marketing usually puts products/services in front of people who may not want or need those things, so you should have an excellent offer to make, as well as compelling reasons for why people should buy from you or hire your company over any other company out there.
You must know the basics of selling and copywriting to be effective
Selling isn't as simple as saying, "I've got a great product! You should buy it!" Especially in the throes of an economic crisis as we currently are (as of this writing in February 2023), people need convincing before they're going to be willing to part with hard-earned money that they are less and less able to spare. You need to know at least the basics of selling and copywriting in order to develop a marketing strategy that actually works.
Content marketing on Facebook is time- and labor-intensive
People don't buy from you unless they trust you, and the best way to build that trust is by creating content to show them that you know what you're talking about. However, because of the way that Facebook's algorithm works, you need to post anywhere between 1 and 3 posts per day in order to stay in people's newsfeed. Unless you have an assistant or advertising team dedicated to the content hamster-wheel, you may soon find yourself exhausted.
Easy to over-spend
Facebook marketing is a numbers game. Unless you're a wiz at copywriting and getting people interested in your business, you're likely to find that you need to have at least 5,000+ followers before you'll even start seeing your initial sales. That's a lot of paid advertising and hard work for comparatively little return on investment. It's easy to go over-budget and find yourself in the same position you were in before.
Subject to algorithm changes
It's a known fact that websites change their algorithms to promote things differently. When an algorithm change takes effect, this can cause your visibility to take a boost- or worse, to take a nosedive. It may make it more expensive to advertise your business, it could decrease your online presence, or it may prevent your content from being seen as easily in people's newsfeeds. It all depends on the content the algorithm is designed to promote, and whether your business matches the scope of that description.
What do you think? Some of these are pretty major pitfalls. Would you be willing to overlook the downsides to Facebook in order to market there?
The Verdict: Should You Use Facebook for Business?
In the end, whether you adopt Facebook as part of your business and site's marketing strategy is up to you, but these are some major things to consider when you're making that decision.
It's important to remember that every business is unique, every business has a different customer base with similar interests and desires, and it's important to note that, when there are nearly 2 billion people using Facebook every day, you can definitely find a niche to market to. If you have the time, money, and creativity to reach out to your targeted audience and sell to them, Facebook certainly makes it a lot easier to accomplish that goal through their ease of sharing and user-friendly ad platform.
Speaking from personal experience, I found Facebook marketing to be exhausting and expensive, so I am not a huge advocate for using it when referring to entrepreneurs and businesses that are just starting out or have small marketing budgets or teams. However, many Facebook users' experiences have not been as negative as mine was.
There are many affiliate marketers I know who have had much more success than I did, and many small businesses find it easy to create content, reach new customers, and find potential clients; much, much more easily than if they were relying on word of mouth or Google alone.
What do you think? Is Facebook advertising worth it, or are there too many potential pitfalls to justify the expense?
Let me know in the comments below, and if you're interested in more articles about entrepreneurship, travel, and small business finance, check out my blog!