Nobody Actually Likes Your Brand's Stupid Facebook Page

Illustration for article titled Nobody Actually Likes Your Brands Stupid Facebook Page

What could be a more powerful marketing tool than Facebook, fostering meaningful engagement with customers and broadcasting their every purchase to friends and family? Actually, just about everything. Facebook sucks for marketing.

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A new study by Forrester Research found that maintaining a Facebook presence is less effective at drumming up business than plain old email newsletters or search ads. Companies interviewed for the study "received little benefits from Facebook," according to the Wall Street Journal. Another recent study found that even print ads were better at fostering consumer engagement with brands than a Facebook page. Hundreds of thousands of people may "like" a brand's Facebook page, but they don't actually like it.

The main problem is that Facebook treats brands a lot like people. So when you "like" a brand's Facebook page, your newsfeed fills up with corporate adspeak, drowning out important news of what childhood friends' babies are up to and resulting in an uneasy sense of foreboding: It's disconcerting to see "Ford Motor Company" congratulate random people on their marriage in your newsfeed; did Henry Ford rise from the grave and bless their union, or the board of directors, or what? As one researcher told the Wall Street Journal: "You go to Facebook to find other people, not to find a product."

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And while Facebook treats corporations like people, it reduces all human connections to equal-opportunity selling opportunities. Facebook claims its social e-commerce system helps businesses tap into people's Facebook networks and sell stuff to their friends. But if your ex-girlfriend buys tickets from Ticketmaster so she and her new, hotter boyfriend can check out "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway, seeing that pop up in your news feed will not instill a burning desire to see the show yourself. Relationships are messy in a way marketing shouldn't be.

Turns out Facebook is not the advertising panacea everyone was hoping it would be. Oh well. We hear blogs still sell ads!

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DISCUSSION

Just like any medium, it's all about how you use it. It's no surprise that in general print is more effective, print advertisements have been done for quite some time now. There are a lot of people pretty effective at it.

Facebook, on the other hand, is relatively new. Many brands and agencies are not sure what to do with it yet. Some people have figured it out and are actually engaging consumers in an effective way, but most are not. Most companies merely have a presence on facebook, with no idea/concept/purpose behind it. The equivalent would be a print ad that was just a company logo.

Does every company need a facebook? No, not yet they don't. Just like at one point it didn't make sense for many companies to have a website. However, nowadays it is practically mandatory to have a website. Having a website has become the price of entry for a legitimate company (much like a business card and a letterhead). And at the rate things seem to be going, a Facebook page will eventually be on that list as well. Also, it's free.