Don’t Let Facebook Break Your Eggs

You've heard about putting all of your eggs in one basket and you know the consequences. Yet I'll bet you're still doing it anyway. Relying on Facebook for your business can result in waking up one day with half (or more) of your business gone, Poof! And there's almost nothing you can do about it.

Facebook has a place in your business' marketing system. That place should be as a source of traffic and engagement. You want new people seeing your business and offers. Facebook has the viral capability to make that happen, and the best part is it's free.  

Are you sure free is good?

Free is a double edged sword. Because its free, many business owners have flocked to Facebook, and rightly so. But too many have mistakenly thought “what do I need a website for when Facebook is better and it's free?!”   The sharper side of free means their ball, their yard, and their rules. Facebook can one day decide your business violates their ever changing terms and close down what has grown to represent a significant part of your business.  

There but for the grace of Facebook

Take for example what happened to Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms' page. Even though they thought they were complying with Facebook's vague terms, they weren't.   It's too easy to run afoul of some of Facebook’s terms in letter and/or spirit. That’s not what you want to wake up to see when you look at your Facebook business page.   Facebook is widely touted as “the” solution in online marketing and in some ways it is. Facebook is a great tool for driving traffic by spreading your message and brand awareness to people who otherwise would not be exposed.   The axiom of not putting all of your eggs in one basket rings true as ever here. Yes as I said earlier, I have a segment focused on Facebook. If Facebook changes render that segment moot, I can change the channel I focus on for traffic to Google +, twitter, or LinkedIn. Granted, some great apps like my Social Coupons won’t work for those platforms but I’m sure something will come up.  

What about you?

What is your business' Facebook dependence/exposure? How will you change that to ensure you don't wake up some morning and check your business page only to find it has been removed?   If you read the comments on the linked article from the Blaze, you’ll cringe as the business owner tries to plead his case and clarify the situation. In the premium section below, I’ll explain why this is the wrong course of action to take alone and what you should do if you should find yourself in a similar situation.  

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  premium content tags: facebook business page, facebook business marketing, their ball their yard their rules, reputation management, replying to bad reviews,     [contentlocker]  

I've seen far worse situations where a business owner had gone into a hostile site trying to plead his case. The most common though is replying to negative reviews on a review site. Regardless of the type of site, hostile or supportive, it almost never works out well for the business owner on their own.

 

Read comments for what NOT to do (responding to comments attempting to plead your case.)

 

This was a response to a deleted comment:

 

BlueSheepdog

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:22pm

I’m guessing that PITTAC1 has nothing to do with Mr. Lowry or the business, because his/her comments redfine “troll”. I can’t imagine any business owner showing up and bashing people for expressing their views.

But, just in case PITTAC1 is associated with the business, lets cover a few things he may have missed in business school…

1. Facebook is a private playground. Generally, they let most folks in to play, but it is their property so they get to set the rules. Don’t like how the rules are enforced – no problem go elsewhere.

2. You do not pay a dime to use Facebook. If you paid for ads to attract new “followers,”, you already got what you paid for.

3. Freedom of expression doesn’t apply since it isn’t the government stopping your communication. You can’t walk into Walmart and advertise your product without permission either.

4. Commercial speech is not protected in the same manner that individual speech is. Expressing political views is given a much greater latitude than commercials, for example. Giving away a product benefits your business and is therefore commercial speech.

5. Congrats on being an NRA member. Millions of us are. Your 13k donations are a nice start, by the way. The NRA isn’t going to go head-to-head with Facebook on this. If you were more involved with the NRA and you would know that.

If you really are associated with Lowry, stop insulting your potential customers and get back to selling guns.

 

 

The commenter makes some salient points. The most important one concerning you as a business owner refers to knowing your audience. In this case, the business owner is in friendly territory. The majority of people viewing and commenting on The Blaze are members of his target market, i.e. conservative gun owners. It doesn’t do well to insult or drag on in a losing argument. This is another place where it’s their ball, their yard, their rules. The people who frequent sites’ comment areas will chew you up and spit you out if you run afoul.

It takes a fresh set of eyes preferably neutral and of course experienced with online interaction to look in from the outside to see what is really going on. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment trying desperately to be understood, only to want revenge for a perceived slight.
Here is what I mean:

Pittac1

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 8:10pm

Allow me to educate you Motards. #1 Yes. I DO PAY FOR FACEBOOK. Advertising to get to 27k likes has cost me almost $8,000. So yes, I do have a right to be upset. #2 Of course I know how the constitution works. I have done more pro 2nd amendment work then you can ever dream of doing. I can’t believe the attitudes of some of you people. When a multi-billion dollar company steps on the little guy you take their side. Real American guys…

 

 

It’s not fair, it sucks, but they’re right. Facebook is private (even though publicly traded) and therefore is allowed to set terms you may not like. It is your prerogative to not use their free services. Another commenter further clarified the overarching points:

 

whatdoibelieve

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:46pm

@Pittac1

First, lets all be nice. What happens to you stinks but we have to separate a few issues. You don’t pay for Facebook or your page. Pages are free. Advertising on Facebook is separate and not a requirement for having a page. If you chose to advertise on Facebook, I would recommend firing your marketing guy. Because you gave $8,000 to a liberal organization that actively (and financially) fights against your beliefs… way to go. You just helped fund the “big company” that then gets to step on the little guy (yourself) as well as financed their ability to step on all our rights.

Honestly, didn’t it worry you that you were spending 8k on advertising with a company with whom you have no legal recourse or binding contract if they decide to shut your page down? They could change their TOS on a moments notice and boot every gun page. I honestly struggle to understand that reasoning.

Now let me be honest. I have never done any advertising without considering the ROI. My guess is you do the same. Would you have spent the 8k on Facebook if you didn’t think it would produce a financial return? Did you spend 8k on advertising and not see any return? I would empathize more if you spent 8k at one time and then they shut your page down. But, that obviously isn’t the case because that 8k helped you get to 27k visitors in your own words.

 

The emphasis in the bolded section is mine but he makes my point for me. Whether you invest time, money, or both in building a Facebook page, you must remain aware that you might not only see little return (normal risk of any investment) but what you’ve worked hard to build could be jerked out from under you with no recourse.

 

SpeckChaser

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 10:44pm

Pittac

I was originally going to ask if you were the person from this story who personally made the poor advertising decision. When I looked on your comment history and realized the first thing you did when you signed up for an account was to insult potential customers I figured you were.

On top of that, after viewing your insulting comments, I will also tell everyone I know in the shooting community to avoid your company. Granted that will not do much seeing that they have probably never heard of PHG anyway. May even pass that info along to the NRA myself.

You made a bad investment. You are not owed any restitution for making a bad investment. Learn from it and move along.

When you get to the point where you have people actively driving business away from you, it’s too late. To think any site is an isolated part of the internet is a bad idea. This will be part of an internet search for many years to come if not forever. Your only hope for having something like this removed is that the hosting site runs out of money to remain on the internet. That’s not likely for a news organization.

It’s far better and easier to avoid making this mistake by consulting with a professional who is not emotionally invested in the situation. Notice I said professional. That does not include your friends. You want someone who has your long term interests in mind, not maintaining a friendship. Friends will all too often tell you what you want to hear and agree with you just to maintain the friendship. A professional is not interested in your friendship over their own reputation.

 

Pittac1

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:23am

@speckidiot Do what pleases you. Please report me to the NRA. Don’t forget to tell them I am a life member with over 13k in contributions. I’m sure they would love to hear from you. Kisses!

While I understand the emotion behind it, seeing this makes me cringe. Snarky comments (snide and sarcastic) should not be part of your professional image unless you’re a comedian or morning DJ. Name calling should be left to the playground. It shows you know you’ve lost the debate but are unable and/or unwilling to admit it.

 

Pittac1

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:23am

@speckidiot Do what pleases you. Please report me to the NRA. Don’t forget to tell them I am a life member with over 13k in contributions. I’m sure they would love to hear from you. Kisses!

MrSunshine

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 11:35am

PITTAC1, I am a Pittsburgh area gun owner but have never been to your store. With your attitude of insulting everyone critical of your posts, you won’t garner much support here and it sure won’t help your business.

I’d like to sympathize with you regarding your dilema but you make it difficult. If I was trying to drum up support for an issue, I certainly wouldn’t “spit” on my audiance. Is Braverman’s still in business?

You can see how despite other commenters being sympathetic to the business owner's plight, there is no sympathy for his approach to public relations.

 

revelation2012

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 5:48pm

another o-n-e that “thinks” it’s too “big” to fail ,,,

Obviously the comment is referring to Facebook as “too big to fail.” Saying this about a small business would not make any sense. And Pittac1 replies how?

 

Pittac1

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 8:15pm

Idiot

The train wreck that follows is too gruesome to turn away from.

 

whatdoibelieve

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:52pm

@Pittac1

I am assuming you are in some way associated with the company in the article. Which is why I am singling you out. If you are not, I am sorry.

The store is getting free advertising on The Blaze. This is the target audience. This is going to generate traffic to the website. Don’t ruin it by being mean. You may be right on some issues, but being mean about it isn’t honorable and doesn’t show integrity.

 

TJexcite

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 5:36pm

Just where in the constitution and freedom of speech does it say that you can go into someones property and say what every you want. Well Facebook is Facebook’s property and stop being so cheep and get you own website. People are being lazy now and not having a blog or store on their own website and host. They go to Facebook and Amazon to sell their wares and then complain when the free web host shuts them down.

 

Pittac1

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 8:21pm

Moron, we pay to be there.

 

whatdoibelieve

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:49pm

@Pittac1

You don’t pay “to be there”. Be nice. You pay for advertising.

 

whatdoibelieve

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 10:05pm

@Pittac1

Seriously. You hurl an insult with every comment. Your profile was created today and you only post on this story. Looks like you are somehow tied to the company. Really not a good impression to be insulting on every comment.

 

termyt

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 9:06am

Wow, PITTAC, aren’t you a friendly one.

Yeah, facebook is pretty much run by leftists who don’t care about you or your rights. They happily accept your money, but did you get a contract in return stating your site would stay up for any specified period? If you got a contract, great – take them to court for a breach.

The Constitution limits Government. It does not grant rights, nor does it limit the rights of individuals or corporations. I have a feeling you might object if someone accused you of violating their rights if you refused to allow them to post a flyer in your store.

So, in recap, thanks for pointing out the issues with Facebook management and I’m sorry you learned those lessons the hard way. My sympathy, though, dropped to 0 when you decided to lash out at everyone here, who would have been in your target audience and might have come to your store to support you. I can’t imagine very many of us will go out of our way to do so now.

The adage “There's no such thing as bad publicity” could not have accounted for the ability of a business owner to instantly and permanently place his foot firmly in his mouth for all to see.

If you have any remaining beliefs that this is something you can do alone because you’re not so naive as to make the same mistakes, I beg you not to and don’t say you weren’t warned.

Yes I do reputation management, monitoring, and control. However, it will cost magnitudes more for reputation salvage.

 

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