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Three Reasons Not To Base Your Social Strategy On Facebook

One of the most frequent questions I get from new clients or prospects is, “What should my Facebook strategy be?”

Since a recent eMarketer survey showed 61 percent of brand marketers significantly or somewhat increasing  their investment in earned media this year, and 43 percent reducing spend on paid media, I get why they’re asking this.

But the question itself shows how Facebook is dominating the conversation.

This is wrong because Facebook is not the best channel for many brands, especially those trying to engage with specialist audiences.

Here are three reasons why:

Brands Are Losing Prominence on Facebook

Facebook recently changed its algorithm so you only see posts from accounts deemed most relevant. So you see what your closest friends are doing, but it reduces what you see from brands you like.

Facebook’s Link to Online Sales is Tenuous at Best

Forrester/GSI research showed there is no evidence that Facebook drives purchases directly. If you want customers to meet with you or buy from you, I’d suggest using Twitter or a location-based service such as Foursquare may be a better option.

Platform Still Developing Amid More Targeted Options

Perhaps most significantly, social media is still in its infancy. And like infants we all started out gathered in the playground acting as a single group. But as we grow up we start to develop smaller networks of closer friends and people with similar interests. Likewise, we’re starting to see the same dynamics with social networks.

Among professional groups this is already well established in healthcare with networks such as Sermo and doctors.net.uk. Increasingly we  see people joining professional groups on LinkedIn. (As of this writing there are 162,000 telecom professionals, 424,000 HR, and 60,000 logistics execs participating registered in such groups.)

For any category of leisure interests (food, travel, art, music, cars) there are a multitude of social networks where you should start your strategic thinking … rather than defaulting to Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook has a potential role to play for most brands. But just like putting your dollars into television, it’s an easy option, not necessarily the best option.