Just Because You Can Have a Facebook Page Doesn’t Mean You Should

just-because-facebook
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True story. I was driving home the other day behind a commercial van. It was for a garage door company. They install garage doors. I guess somebody has to do it.

Anyway, taking up about 30% of the sides and the back of the van was:

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

All caps. Giant letters. And of course it was accompanied by that larger than life Facebook thumb we’ve all come to know and loathe…I mean love. As a matter of fact, the thumb of approval was even bigger than their own logo.

On the back of the van at the very bottom was their domain name. Not on the sides. Just on the back. And it was written in really small letters. I guess it wasn’t worthy of a font bigger than their “Honk if You Love Jesus” bumper sticker.

What is Wrong With This Picture?

On the surface, there are so many bad things happening here I don’t know where to even begin. But I’ll give it a shot.

Get the Language Right
You “Follow” on Twitter and “Like” on Facebook. You can’t “Like” someone on Twitter and you can’t “Follow” someone on Facebook. Well, I guess you can “Follow” someone on Facebook, but that is called being a stalker and generally ends in a restraining order. So, creepy old men and disgruntled ex-girlfriends aside, get the language straight. We’re not splitting the atom here. It’s not that hard to figure out.

Brand Recognition
I’m pretty sure Facebook doesn’t need your help getting their logo out to the masses. So, why would you make it bigger than your own? Did you think we might confuse your van for the Facebook van? And think that perhaps Facebook has gone into the garage door installation business? And in that same excitement we might feel if we were to run into the Google Maps car, we would pull you over and start giving you money? It’s a long shot.

Get Your Priorities Straight
The most important thing on that van is your company name, phone number and website. After that comes your tires, airbags and when you had your last oil change. Yet they instead chose to feature “FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK” above all else. As if we are going to run back to our homes and search high and low for the fan page of a local garage door installation company, become their biggest fan and then hire them.

Give Us Your Facebook Address
If you do insist on promoting your Facebook page to such a large degree, at the very least give us the URL and make it an easy one! Don’t make us have to start searching Facebook to try to find your page. And then when we do find your page, we have to wonder if it’s the same company we saw on the road. Make it easy for us to “Like” you…or “Follow” you…or “Pin” you…or however you choose to screw up the language (see the first point above).

Or Just Maybe These Guys Are the Real Deal

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories before. There’s a company in some bizarre industry like shrimp farming that against all odds is just killing it on Facebook. Maybe I just unknowingly stumbled upon one of those! I’m a good boy and don’t text and drive so I memorized the website address and made my way back to the office, giddy with excitement over my new find.

I fired up the computer and went to their website. No mention of Facebook. No thumbs up logo. Nothing.

<insert scratching of the head and confused look here>

I did a search on Facebook by the company name and I found there page:

just-because-facebook-screenshot

No picture. No cover image. No updates. No bio. No link to their website. And 8 Likes (or in their terms, Followers).

Let’s recap, shall we? They are using up 30% of the real estate on their trucks in an effort to drive people to a Facebook page that they are not promoting, not paying any attention to, not listening to and not sharing on.

Why?

I’m glad you asked. Because somewhere at some point some guru told them that they needed to be on Facebook. So they created a Facebook page. And there are millions of companies out there that have done the very same thing. And they just left their page out there to die.

So Here’s How You Fix It

You probably think this is the part where I give you a handful of “easy to do’s” that will turn all of this around. Maybe a “10 Things You Should…” or “8 Easy Steps to…” kind of post. This way, you could spend under 8 minutes a day on Facebook and double your business overnight.

But it’s not.

And the reason it’s not is because if you only have 8 Likes, no updates and an incomplete profile, you clearly don’t care about your Facebook page. And that’s OK!

Just because you can have a Facebook page doesn’t mean that you should have a Facebook page.

If you are not interested in putting in the time and effort (because contrary to popular belief, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort) to connect and build a community on Facebook, then don’t. My suggestion?

Delete it.

Don’t just leave it out there for the world to find. Get rid of it. It’s not helping you. In fact, it’s probably hurting you. You are driving people to a place on the web that blatantly shows off how little you really care. When someone searches your company name on Google to find out more about you, what do you think it says when that poor excuse for a Facebook page shows up in the top 3? Forget the fact that it also bumped some of your quality content further down the page.

I get it. We all feel this sudden urge to jump on every new thing that comes along. I have a Pinterest account that I barely pay attention to. The last Instagram picture I took was three pairs of sneakers ago. I created 2 Vine videos, both of which were really stupid.

I do it too.

But these things are hurting us. If we’re not going to be active in these communities, let’s leave them once and for all. Delete them and don’t turn back. Control what people find when they search you.

After all, isn’t it time we start cleaning up after our digital selves?

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  • nathashaalvarez

    You’re too funny. I agree with you. I think EVERYONE agrees with you. The problem is that they probably thought they would get around to it. You should contact them and let them know your findings. They might really appreciate it and open new doors for you. Garage doors! :)

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I think you are getting more snarky than me! I like that :)

  • yopalhal

    Marc, I just love the way your brain works!

    Oh, and excellent post, by the way. :^)

    Your friend,
    “Yo Pal” Hal

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thank you Hal! It’s all that waking up early that I’m doing ;)

  • 1barbarashannon

    OK – Now I am rethinking what I just did…I created a FB page for my business and I am not completely sure why. I have two groups of customers: 1. very busy biz execs who have no time for FB and would never think of using it in a biz context and 2. other biz consultants who are not very tech savvy over 40 and only use FB to keep track of their kids. I spent the last two days diving into LinkedIn and discovered that this is really where my customers are. So I created a LI page for my company. Think I’d better think about ditching the FB page which I found really confusing to set up anyway. Thanks for the permission. It jives with my instincts which I trust for most things but not tech stuff. You are my new guide to tech. Thx.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Good for you! Get rid of it!

  • janeleonard

    Brilliant post, now if I could just get some of my clients to read this. They love the idea of a Facebook page but hate the idea of maintaining it. :)

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      And there is the problem!

  • wyatt christman

    Nice. There is a post I did before along the same lines talking about these types of generic recommendations that come from applying as directed from popular blog posts without first looking at specific audience wants or needs. The success stories with attached how-to’s often assume hey this worked for me so of course it should work for you the same way! I like the way you wrote this in a conversation style with some personality rather than trying to wash that out.

  • http://www.douglaserice.com/ Douglas E Rice

    Marc, excellent post. Spot on. It feels like I actually wrote it. “You are driving people to a place on the web that blatantly shows off how little you really care.” Blam. That says it all. I really can’t understand for the life of me while people are so senseless about marketing, but it certainly isn’t uncommon.

    The other Facebook pages are those that automate content but never respond to comments because 1) the owner and/or employees don’t know how or 2) the owner doesn’t have time and the employee doesn’t have autonomy.

    Your solution is elegant and simple. Don’t do it. You don’t have to be everywhere; you just actually have to BE where you are.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Doug! Great point with companies not responding to comments. Just don’t look at the date of this comment. It took a little longer to respond. Sometimes I have to be reminded to eat my own cooking.

  • Simon

    Let’s face it, unless you have a brand that people find cool or interesting, you are unlikely to get people to socially publicise their association with it. Which is probably why even big corporations with dedicated social networking people and who desperately care what you think of them, still can’t manage to get more likes than they have employees. In fact the number of likes is usually significantly less than the number of employees, indicating that not even they want to be associated with their own brand.
    There are exceptions as you say where, although the brand may not seem cool, they do at least provide enough entertaining or useful updates that people will Like them just to add these to their news feeds.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I’ve seen some great Facebook pages by companies big and small. The problem is that most people are after the wrong thing…statistics. Focus on relationships instead!

  • amydolz

    I cannot stop laughing about this. Thank you so much for a wonderful post. I needed a good chuckle today.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thank you!! So happy to hear I made you laugh…wait, you were laughing with me not at me, right?

  • http://www.about.me/hunterboyle Hunter Boyle

    Great blog and post(s), Marc. I arrived via the post about the world’s worst follow-up email … and now I’m hooked. Looking forward to more of your writing and insights!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Hunter! So glad to have hooked you! Don’t be shy and keep up with the feedback! Even when I suck…keeps me omy toes.

  • ell0225

    Hahaha this is awesome

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks!!

  • Warham Pendrich

    Elitist ass! Yes somebody has to fix garage doors.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Hey Warham! I can see where you would get that. I would urge you to read more about me and what I do. I’m anything but “elitist” (although I can be an ass sometimes). I’m actually quite humble. And I drive a Honda. You can’t drive a Honda and be an elitist…crap, that made me sound like an elitist again, didn’t it? Dammit.

      • Patrick

        Marc, I think Warham was being flippant. But I think you knew that. And great post. And ignore my elitist vocabulary of words that are seldom used…

        • Warham Pendrich

          Actually I was being serious. There is no “good” reason to denigrate any profession. Being an elitist can involve intellectual and literary view points.

          • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

            I know you were being serious and I respect your interpretation of my words. That’s the beautiful thing about language…we all hear it differently.

            I saw a company that all they did was install garage doors. I don’t know many people that change out their garage doors very often. But I guess when you are replacing a damaged door or installing a new one on a new house, so yes, I guess somebody has to do it. That’s all.

            I don’t feel like that is denigrating their profession or being an elitist. If you do, than maybe there is something in there that strikes a nerve with you. After all, each of us brings our own experience to the table and sees things through those lenses.

            Either way, I stand by what I wrote and respect your right to call me an “elitist ass” over it. (Which is quite ironic by the way in the fact that the intention of my words meant no harm to anyone while yours did. Just saying.)

  • KrystalMango

    LOL Wholeheartedly agree to this. The whole point of using a social network to drive in traffic to your company is to be SOCIAL in it. Sometimes people forget that part. Without any engagement or interaction, you are left with a dead page.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Exactly! Thanks for the comment!!

  • Rick O’Daniell

    Awesome, funny, witty – Love it! But your typo when you found “there page” instead of “their page” threw me off a bit… Just an FYI. I’ll certainly read on…

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Ooops! Thanks for the heads up!

  • Bumpcity

    I think bars and restaurants are the only businesses who really benefit from having an active FB page. Being able to communicate easily about events/specials with your customer base is huge. BUT they have to be able to handle complaints there, too. It’s a double edged sword.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I don’t know if I agree with that. I’ve seen a lot of really successful Facebook pages out there. There are just a lot more that suck!

  • Eleanor Williams

    Awesome! A truly Dick-worthy post, because I was just about to go ‘deal’ with my company’s Facebook page, but the truth is I just don’t have the time, and more importantly, the inclination to give it the daily attention its very existence demands, so imma just go with your sage advice and hit Delete! Thanks Marc!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      One less abandoned Facebook page out there! I love it!

  • http://thepistolinbedthirteen.blogspot.com/ njrugger45

    Another FB trend I’ve seen in people trying to get me to like their pages is friending me, and then recommending their page the moment I accept. They are primarily small buinesses (think folks who could be selling stuff on Etsy as the scale) or artists/bands/photographers, etc. Obviously very different than the kind of thing you’ve posted about here, yet there’s the same underlying idea: that they need to build a FB presence as a way to succeed, because someone told them so. Not *one* of these folks has socialized with me. Not one has commented on my page, nor liked and commented on my page as a performer. Not one has even said hi!

    The kicker is, I *love* supporting local artists and businesses, even ones I never heard of. Have a great YouTube video up or interrupting art? I’ll come to your show or gallery opening! But if you never engage me 1) I probably won’t come up and 2) FB’s algorithm will see that we don’t engage, and I won’t even see the gems (if any) in amongst the endless (poorly executed) promotion.

    And I just think, are you like those Twitter spammers that follow and unfollow rapidly in hopes that I’ll follow you and stay? Do you get up to 5K friends, invite them all to your page, and then delete, lather, rinse, repeat?

    Ah well. Sounds like they listened to some ninja rockstar gurus. Maybe they’ll find your blog and treat it as a cease and desist. ;D