I’m a big Facebook guy. I’ve been using it for business purposes for over five years. How to build your business with the help of Facebook is the focus of my content. I know how incredibly valuable it is.
But I’m not crazy.
This is what people need to understand about Facebook: It is an important piece of the marketing puzzle, but not the entire puzzle. There are other pieces that I would consider more important, even for my business.
Don’t put all of your eggs into the Facebook basket, a basket you do not own. If Facebook blows up tomorrow, would you be able to recover?
Sure, we’d all have to scramble if that happened. But there’s a piece of advice I carry with me daily that applies here: Focus on what’s within your control.
I trust and believe in Facebook more than the general populous, but no smart business is based entirely on a platform outside of one’s control.
Facebook is waaaaay outside of your control. It’s constantly changing. It’s unpredictable. It’s a great tool. But you must invest in your own assets.
While I’m confident that Facebook is the right fit for most businesses to expand their reach, it’s imperative that you invest in the following three things.
The core of my business is right here. You’re looking at it. This website. I control every character, color and change.
I know how my bills are paid…
That’s 82.2% of my referrals during the past 30 days from search engines (mainly Google), 8.9% from Facebook and another 8.9% from “other.”
This seems insane, right? If anyone should get referrals from Facebook, I should. One could interpret this chart as an indictment of Facebook marketing.
But I won’t.
Facebook is my biggest non-search referrer. And it’s because of those 10,000-odd referrals during the past 30 days that Google loves my site so much.
It’s just another example of how important Facebook is for indirect revenue. But the revenue all happens here.
It’s no mistake that I built this website first. The Facebook Page didn’t come until two months later.
Investing in a company website may seem obvious, but so many companies miss the boat on this one. Either they don’t have a website or they build a crappy one that rarely gets updated.
Your website is your foundation. It’s your home base. It’s where the majority of purchases are made and where people search you out.
Your website is your company’s online identity.
It’s also much easier to build a Facebook presence if you already have an established website audience. You can use your website to drive people to your Facebook Page and vice versa. And your website content gives you a starting point for what you’ll share on Facebook.
Invest in your website first. Facebook is a means to start and continue conversations. Your website is where you finish them.
You may be surprised to know that Facebook isn’t even the second most important investment for my business. It’s my email list.
Once again, I own my email list. I have very little knowledge of or control over my Facebook Fans.
I always find it amazing when I hear suggestions that we should reach more than 16% of our Facebook Fans. Meanwhile, the standard email open rate is 20%.
It’s why everyone screaming about Facebook Reach had better have an email list. You want to reach your customers? Don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else’s algorithm? Build an email list.
Your email audience is a stationary target. It is dependable. And it is the number one source of repeat customers.
What’s interesting, though, is how the lines are beginning to blur between email and Facebook. Marketers now have the ability to target their email list with Facebook ads through the use of “Custom Audiences.”
This is a powerful new way to leverage that email list. But you can’t take advantage of this feature on Facebook without having nurtured a solid list first.
This admittedly hasn’t been as high of a priority as I wish it were for my business, but it will be very soon. There will come a day when more people consume your content via mobile devices than from a desktop.
Will you be ready?
Make sure that your website can be easily consumed on a mobile device. Do you have a mobile responsive theme? Can content be read? Can purchases be made? Can users comment and share?
You should also be looking to extend your website on mobile via applications, both ones you own and other platforms (think FourSquare). When in doubt, of course, own it!
I obviously believe in Facebook as a critical piece of my and your marketing strategy, but it should not be the centerpiece.
If something unforeseen happens tomorrow and Facebook is no longer a viable place to market my business, I still own this website and my growing email list.
What will you have?