Why Facebook Marketing to Your Friends Doesn’t Work

Facebook marketing - Cell phone with Facebook logo on with words Social Media in Scrabble-like lettersWhile Facebook is a great place for businesses to get noticed and build a following,  there also is great potential to alienate people and destroy potential opportunities through poor Facebook marketing practices.  This is especially true if you have a small business, and all of your posts are (1) posted from your personal page, not your business page and (2) are all about selling products or services.  Facebook is a social media platform, not a selling forum.

What kind of a friend are you, anyway?

Is it really necessary to say insincere? Any friend who is always trying to sell you something isn’t being very friendly. Friends share experiences with one another online and offline. They support each other, genuinely care, and enjoy keeping in touch. Generally, they do not seek to make money off each other.  In other words, they are not as annoying as an unexpected door-to-door salesperson or a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses ringing the doorbell.

Think about it. If you would not do something in a real-life community, why would you think that it would be okay to do it online in a virtual community? A friend by name but a troll by deed is a friend or follower that nobody needs to have, online or offline.

What prompts a business owner to misuse Facebook marketing for gaudy self-promotion?

Many times, it is probably the result of misdirected excitement and enthusiasm. People are always posting jokes and memes and talking about personal experiences. So, it is understandable that a friend may want to make a post about a business endeavor. However, when that one post morphs into three to five additional posts, essentially saying the same thing (“Buy something from me!”) every day, it can be a real relationship-changer.

While many people love to talk and shop, they are loathsome to being sold stuff, especially from someone they assumed was their friend.

It’s narrow-minded thinking, too!

If you are trying to build a business off of your friends, your potential market will be seriously limited. Facebook only allows a personal account to have 5,000 friends. So, even if you have 5,000 friends on Facebook, your reach is limited to those 5,000 people, plus the folks your friends tell about your annoying posts. Let’s be realistic: How many of your friends even need your product or service (especially in the B2B sector)? Instead of expanding your reach, by Facebook marketing to your friends, you are debasing your professionalism.

So, what’s the right way to market a business on Facebook?

The first step would be to start a business page and put all of those “salesy” business posts there instead of on your personal page. Posting from a business page will take the stigma out of promo posts by putting the content in the right place. However, there is no guarantee those posts will result in any sales, either.

Posting on Facebook, and the other social networks as well, is good for SEO and reputation management purposes, but it may not be the place for a B2B enterprise to attract prospective customers.

In Facebook marketing, there is no free lunch.

Nothing worthwhile is free … and that is particularly true when it comes to Facebook marketing, or any type of marketing or advertising. If you are a retailer selling to consumers, Facebook could be a gold mine, but you are still going to have to pay for it.