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Facebook Is Not A Business Requirement

If you’re a serious business, you have to have an active Facebook page. Right?

Some have argued that you don’t even need a website anymore, a Facebook presence is all you need. So if you must be there, you better “do it right.” You need to make sure you have an interesting cover graphic, and landing pages designed to get people to “like” your page, or act on some other call to action. And supply it with content.

The web is literally littered with articles that tell you how important it is populate your Facebook business page with up to date, relevant content. And of course, in order to be successful in running a Facebook business page, you must also engage with your fans, responding to their comments and posts in a reasonable amount of time. The advice is hard to argue with. It just feels like solid advice. And it is. If you’re going to have a Facebook business page, you might as well do it well.

But if you’re great at what you do, you can toss all of that out the window.

What appears to be Apple Computer’s official Facebook page has over 6.5 million likes, and exactly zero posts. They have never posted a single time. Not once. In addition, they rarely, if ever, engage with those who post on their behalf. I could not find a single instance of interaction. They have no cover graphic, no landing pages, they don’t take advantage of the timeline to illustrate their stellar corporate history, they don’t even have a complete description of their company in the About section. Oh, and they’ve been on Facebook less than a year. They showed up late to the party.

And yet, there were 74,272 people talking about them on Facebook this morning. Their “friend activity” stream was littered with posts. Dell, by comparison, which is extremely  active in posting to its page, updating its content and “engaging” with the fans who come to comment, praise or complain, has a beautiful cover graphic and multiple landing pages dedicated to specific campaigns, had 46,387 people talking about them this morning.

You know where I’m going with this.

At the close of the stock market today, Dell (DELL) was trading at $11.97 with a Market Cap of $20.94B and Apple (AAPL) was trading at $576.16 with a Market Cap of $538.75B. Apple consistently ranks at the top of list for brand value, brand recognition and customer service. Simply put, they produce amazing products and they deliver them in a way that is second to none. Literally.

They don’t need to do a lot of talking on a Facebook business page to get their fans to share and like their product. Apple’s focus, clearly, is to deliver on their brand promise, without fail, and to let their fans do the talking for them. They are not social, but their fans are.

They, like many other great companies, deliver their brand experiences via their website. “I think we’re going to go back to the website being front and center,” Drew Olanoff states in Facebook Has Become a Lazy Marketing Tool, “simply because it’s the pieces and functionality of platforms like Twitter and Facebook that appeal to consumers, not the platforms themselves. Show me the kids who say “Cool, I’m going to drink Coke because they’re on Facebook!” and I’ll show you three unicorns with iPhones.” Like him, I believe the future ultimately lies in the past.

Facebook is not a business requirement.

You don’t have to rise to the level of Apple to NOT need an active Facebook presence, or any Facebook presence at all. I have a close friend, a very successful mortgage lender, who deleted his Facebook personal profile and business page in October of 2011 to focus on what really drove his business, which is his blog. He set a goal of having more blog subscribers than Twitter followers.

That would be an easy goal to hit for someone who has a small following, but he has over 6000 Twitter followers (and follows fewer than 100). He now has over 12,000 “opt-in” blog subscribers. He relentlessly focused on his brand via his blog and on delivering on that promise every single day. No Facebook required. None.

But, and this is a big but, he is an edge case. He has a very specific set of skills that make him uniquely qualified to do what he’s done and very few people could replicate his success with his strategy. But it’s a strategy that works for him. And it works well.

He is not alone in the area of focus. Some of the most successful real estate agents I meet, all over the country, could not care less about having a Facebook business page. And these are not “old gaurd” Realtors® reluctant to change. These are vibrant, successful agents who have decided instead to focus on the basic activities that continue to move the needle for them personally, including, but not limited to, delivering an exceptional “product” to their clients.

Their Facebook usage is limited to connecting with clients, friends and family using their personal profiles. Their Facebook use is designed to maintain a connection with their sphere of influence and past clients, where the vast majority of most agents’ business is already derived.

So, why am I NOT talking about any real estate Facebook pages?

Good question. Besides Corcoran Group, who just passed the 50,000 fan mark on their Facebook page and celebrated with an excellent thank you video, who is really generating consistent, significant business from their Facebook business page? I’d love to see the examples, and see the numbers to support it. And I’m sure they exist, but the notion that it is a foregone conclusion that you MUST have an active Facebook business page presence as a real estate agent is misguided.

Even digital media giants like Chris Brogan have left Facebook. Brogan’s personal profile avatar on Facebook is a graphic that says, “I have moved to Google+” And he has no Facebook business page. Sacrilege.  How can Apple and Chris Brogan and my friend, the mortgage lender, get away with not having any active Facebook presence? Simple. They understand and are in control of their business strategy, they execute on that strategy every day, and they are really, really good at what they do.

Here’s a potential “Facebook strategy” for you to consider.

  • Do the things that make the phone ring, whatever that is for you. If it’s knocking on doors, knock on doors. If it’s calling expired listings, call expired listings. Whatever it is, focus on doing it well and doing it often.
  • At a minimum, have an online presence you control, where people can learn about your skills and get a feel for your experience and expertise and encourages them to contact you and engage with you.
  • Once they do, focus on being great. Focus on delivering exceptional customer service. Focus on exceeding your client’s expectations and verifying that you’ve actually done that. Every. Single. Time.

If you consistently deliver on a brand promise that resonates with your community, people will want to tell their friends about it. And when they do, they’re likely to be doing it on Facebook.

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Photo via Flickr  by Phil Sexton

2 Responses to “Facebook Is Not A Business Requirement”

  1. I find that people will “like” your business page if you bug them about it enough. I use the word “bug” for a reason. No one needs to be told to like your business. They do or they don’t…and the virtual “like” isn’t a real life indicator of whether they do. We run a business page, but it’s not our sole focus, I update it with interesting things I find, blog posts, pictures from around the office – it’s more of a sideline to keep me sane when the phones are blowing up and I can’t check emails fast enough from the leads that our website generates.

  2. Main objectives this year …

    Finish up our http://www.berkeleyhomes.com web site
    Build out http://serkes.smugmug.com/
    Perhaps spend more time on the blog …

    and take the time from all that I spend on facebook and twitter.

    Facebook and twitter are streams which go with the flow. You see what’s going on at the moment … but doesn’t have longevity.

    Our web site, blog and photo sites have “legs” I’m not really engaging with people on them … but they’re finding us and engaging with us once they find the sites.

    It’s all about the neighborhoods and community. Build it and they will come.

    http://www.berkeleyhomes.com/neighborhoods/berkeley/northbrae_westbrae.html

    Ira

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