Usually one of the first questions out of a social media strategist's mouth is, "How are you utilizing Facebook?" In fact, it has become almost unheard of for a business to avoid creating their own Facebook page where they can promote themselves, gain a following and 'Likes', and speak to their audience.
So if one billion people currently use Facebook, why am I choosing not to leverage this platform for my own small business? It's simple: It comes down to brand-fit, and lack thereof.
LinkedIn is to the professional space as Facebook is to high school.
Facebook has always irked me. It's an out-of-control self-image monster, where its users often put more stock in cultivating performance and manipulating perception, than inhabiting relationships in real-time.
At the end of the day, Facebook still feels like a high school popularity contest that increasingly has links to depression for those who confuse this medium with real relationships.
LinkedIn, on the other-hand, has a respectable networking strategy and aim of helping the professional community connect. There's a real feeling of networking between peers that Facebook doesn't come close to. It's more consistent with its own brand!
There's a level of clear professionalism when posting content that doesn't have to do with sharing photos of last Saturday night's get-together, or posting an update to broadcast your political or religious views.
LinkedIn's clear purpose is to advance your career or your business. In fact, the LinkedIn community frowns upon posting obvious filler and banal updates.
Value-Content is the Context
Another big difference is a focus on sharing and creating relevant and valuable content. LinkedIn has crafted relevant and clutter-free news feeds, supports Influencers and thought-leaders in publishing articles, and has become a home to professional communities.
Facebook requires you to buy into "image by association." If you are following my business and your 'interests' match my business, and we're both following Justin Timberlake, suddenly my voice becomes more valuable, no matter what I say, as opposed to real value-content.
Why Some Brands are Leaving Facebook
It is for exactly this reason that entrepreneurs like billionaire Mark Cuban are contemplating leaving Facebook. Facebook is nickel-and-diming businesses, and if you can't reach your own subscribers and now have to pay more money for this, at what point is it worth the service?
Make a Choice
Do I think Facebook can still be a viable social media tool for small businesses? Yes.
Do I think it can help with exposure? Yes.
Consider your brand, and ask what are your values? These need to align with every business touch-point in your interactions with prospects, customers, platforms, and evangelists.
Beware of quick wins, and see if you can discover the tools and strategies that help you connect meaningfully with the real people that are your customers.
-Edited by Jed Bickford