Guest

The Facebook Dirty Secret

By: Guest | August 11, 2011 | 
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Today’s guest is written by Howie Goldfarb

Twitter or Facebook? Most consumer brands use both now. But what is the difference if you are crafting your strategy related to increasing sales?

Twitter is selling and Facebook is marketing.

Twitter is selling

Selling is finding someone and persuading them to buy your product. On Twitter, I can search, contact, ask questions, overcome objections and close the sale.

I have a mobile gourmet food client in Los Angeles. When she is in a town, I can search for people who say they are there and let these strangers know the most delicious ice cream sandwiches in the world are available nearby. I can send direct messages to our Twitter followers and I can call our brand ambassadors out by name without them having to post or engage us first. I can’t do any of this with a Facebook Fan Page. Twitter is a sales-friendly platform.

Facebook is marketing

Facebook Brand Pages are one of the biggest marketing deceptions in history. You can have millions of fans but you can’t reach most of them. You can’t call people out. You can’t message them. You must wait for them to come to you. It’s much like a big billboard on the freeway; except imagine the billboard goes blank for 45 of 50 cars that drive by. Your challenge is to get them to come by. And you can only talk to them if they come to your page. It’s a lot like sitting in your store and hoping customers will walk in.

But Facebook has a dirty little secret: They want this failure. They never intended Pages to be a success for businesses. Brand Pages must fail! If they didn’t, they would be out of business. They wouldn’t be worth the dumb money being touted.

Why? Because of Facebook Ads!

Ads are their revenue driver. If I could reach all my fans easily why would I buy ads? As long as Brand Pages have less than one percent engagement rates, and as long as there are more than 700 million accounts, brands are going to buy ads. Facebook has no desire to change this. And thus Brand Pages for 99.9 percent of business will never be allowed to drive sales on Facebook (0.1 percent get lucky!). And isn’t advertising part of marketing?

How many of you go to Facebook because it has the brands you love? None of you. And thus brands have to buy ads. And if you want to reach people there, you need to buy ads.

If you disagree try telling me on Facebook and try telling me on Twitter.

Howie Goldfarb is president and CEO of Sky Pulse Media, an agency focused on helping clients achieve outsized results in measurable bottom-line-impacting ways. He had a 14-year career in direct B2B sales before deciding to lighten up his dreary work life and move into advertising.

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64 Comments on "The Facebook Dirty Secret"

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Neicolec
Neicolec
4 years 10 months ago

Absolutely!! I think you’re right. When you think of all the different things that Facebook could be doing to make pages more valuable, the only reason they wouldn’t is because they are focused on ads for monetization. The thing is, businesses would pay for tools, information, and capabilities. Why do even networks like Facebook who have the power to remake advertising/marketing through innovation settle for the same old, same old?

NEMultimedia
4 years 10 months ago
You nailed the difference between Facebook and Twitter for marketing, Howie, and short and sweet, too. However, you can always use Twitter to drive traffic to your Facebook Brand Page. For the best results, use targeted callouts like, “Hey, @NEMultimedia, we’re talking about WordPress over on Facebook. What’s your favorite comment platform?” with a link to the discussion. Because your Twitter followers have to become “fans” (I still call them that) in order to take part in discussions, you’ll be driving the engagement that increases your EdgeRank. The more people who “Like” or comment on your Facebook Page, the higher… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@NEMultimedia Hi Michelle you are correct about the traffic drive. I started posting fliers and photos on Facebook then linking them on twitter vs uploading directly to twitter. Traffic to the page jumped 100%. Funny thing though. Fans did not jump 100%. Seems plenty of people say ‘we already follow on Twitter no need to fan on Facebook’. I am ok with that. as long as they become part of the community in one of the places my client is at.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@Neicolec Hi Neicole that is interesting your point. I had a discussion last summer with Fred Wilson one of the backers of Twitter. I brought up if a tool/platform was good enough we would pay ie cell phone, internet access. He said Advertising is the only way for social. This had me rethink VC’s as visionaries vs people just trying to make a buck. I would totally advise clients ti pay for a tool that worked especially if I could prove the return on investment paid off.

NEMultimedia
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM I agree, and I confess I’m the same way. I may “Like” your brand on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean I’ll engage with you there if I’m already engaging on Twitter — and that goes the other way as well. I did see an interesting blog post a couple of days ago on ways to drive engagement on Facebook. The author had tested a few tricks and increased the number of new fans, “Likes,” and comments. I’m testing them myself over the next few weeks to see what works for our brand.

EmmaofCEM
4 years 10 months ago

This kind of harkens back to what I used to say to Twitter-skeptic friends: To me, Facebook is a personal profile, whereas Twitter is a thoughts forum. My status updates on FB are about what I’m doing, whereas those on Twitter tend to be more of a “here’s what I’m thinking” persuasion. I suppose this analysis extends over to marketing and sales strategies for both new media outlets, too.

BobReed
BobReed
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM@NEMultimedia Your last sentence says it all, Howie. As Jay Baer has been known to say, Social Media is the new telephone, and customers expect to find you where they already are.

BobReed
BobReed
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM@NEMultimedia Your last sentence says it all, Howie. As Jay Baer has been known to say, Social Media is the new telephone, and customers expect to find you where they already are.

BobReed
BobReed
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM@NEMultimedia Your last sentence says it all, Howie. As Jay Baer has been known to say, Social Media is the new telephone, and customers expect to find you where they already are.

BobReed
BobReed
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM@NEMultimedia Your last sentence says it all, Howie. As Jay Baer has been known to say, Social Media is the new telephone, and customers expect to find you where they already are.

sydcon_mktg
4 years 10 months ago
Wow, @ginidietrich set you loose? LOL! Great way to draw the line in the sand in the differences of both! I agree that they want the pages to fail, however I also think they are enjoying all the free advertising they are getting from these pages. Think about it, every time a commerical airs that says “visit us on Facebook” its a free advertisement for, wait for it…Facebook! Forget that company X just spent thousands on said ad, they just said visit us on “Facebook”, so who is benefitng from that advertising budget? On Twitter you have 140 characters &… Read more »
sydcon_mktg
4 years 10 months ago
Wow, @ginidietrich set you loose? LOL! Great way to draw the line in the sand in the differences of both! I agree that they want the pages to fail, however I also think they are enjoying all the free advertising they are getting from these pages. Think about it, every time a commerical airs that says “visit us on Facebook” its a free advertisement for, wait for it…Facebook! Forget that company X just spent thousands on said ad, they just said visit us on “Facebook”, so who is benefitng from that advertising budget? On Twitter you have 140 characters &… Read more »
sydcon_mktg
4 years 10 months ago
Wow, @ginidietrich set you loose? LOL! Great way to draw the line in the sand in the differences of both! I agree that they want the pages to fail, however I also think they are enjoying all the free advertising they are getting from these pages. Think about it, every time a commerical airs that says “visit us on Facebook” its a free advertisement for, wait for it…Facebook! Forget that company X just spent thousands on said ad, they just said visit us on “Facebook”, so who is benefitng from that advertising budget? On Twitter you have 140 characters &… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich I agree with the publicity it is amazing. There is a florist on Rte 4 that instead of advertising a special on the sign in front says Like us on facebook. I was like”Really?” LOL

NancyD68
4 years 10 months ago
It is next to impossible to get fans for my company’s Facebook page. The Twitter following is starting slowly to build. The problem is that executives everywhere see the number of Facebook users and have to be there too. I think it is foolish to be there without a plan and even more foolish to go in without a loyal (even if kind of small) base. it just strikes me as “We have to get in and we have to get in NOW” or the old “shoot first and ask questions later” Speaking of questions – how is response when… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@EmmaofCEM I have always had facebook as my private social life. And ironically a few brands I am really passionate about and would participate on their pages I never see posts from so forget they are there. I only visit Chobani on my own.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@NancyD68 my headbanging friend came to visit! 8)

I only DM the fanatics. It is a mobile business and they will beg for a visit and when I know they will be in the area I DM them. We also do a lot of DM’s with people wanting my client for events and also recently I started a brand ambassador program and asked 10 fanatic customers for their emails and every one gave it to me.

Normally I just call people out when I can.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@BobReed@NEMultimedia I have been saying Social Media is a technology platform vs media for a long time. Still surprised all the networks are only ad supported. Vs monthly fee. We surely don’t get a free IPhone and Service paid for by ads or someone interrupting a phone call to advertise pepsi.

NancyD68
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM you didn’t think I would miss this did you? Come on now!

Tinu
4 years 10 months ago

I’ve been saying for years that I dislike Facebook Pages for this actual reason. Their recent changes to let you post As the page has overcome about 25% of my reservations. I think they’re missing out on a huge opportunity that Google’s business pages may exploit. There should be a smart way to tie people to pages and let the people, in their capacity as representatives of a page, interact with actual humans, And still let that drive Ad buys. The technology is there, the willingness isn’t. And that’s a shame. Great post.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@Tinu Thank you and thanks for the comment. Even if the pages would work better not sure the platform or we the people care or want them in our lives. I can go visit any brand I want online right now, their website, twitter, facebook etc but I’m not sure that would change. And for scale how can a brand with millions of customers talk with them without 1000’s of people representing them. Small businesses the same. If you need to talk with 1000’s I really want them coming into my store or to my website more than anything via… Read more »
KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago
I think we need to look at Facebook from several perspectives: primarily small (local) vs. large (global). I find that for smaller, local companies, the Facebook pages work incredibly well, while the ads don’t. I never look at the ads. They don’t exist in my world and the click through rates are lower than on Google (which I also ignore). I often go to Facebook, in fact it’s the first place I go, when I want info on a smaller, local company. I’ve also gotten in the habit of going to Facebook for larger business pages. Why? Because my assumption… Read more »
bdorman264
4 years 10 months ago
I don’t disagree, I want to sell you something on twitter. I have my PayPal set up now too…..or is that Hey Pal? Hmmmm….. You make a good distinction of difference. I haven’t really thought of it that way, but I see (and actually understand) what you are saying. But then again, you are smart like that so that’s why I hang around people like you. BTW – how are those ads doing on FB anyway? Are they making any money yet? Maybe it’s just me, but I would have taken the money and ran when offered. Just sayin’……………. Hopefully,… Read more »
bdorman264
4 years 10 months ago
I don’t disagree, I want to sell you something on twitter. I have my PayPal set up now too…..or is that Hey Pal? Hmmmm….. You make a good distinction of difference. I haven’t really thought of it that way, but I see (and actually understand) what you are saying. But then again, you are smart like that so that’s why I hang around people like you. BTW – how are those ads doing on FB anyway? Are they making any money yet? Maybe it’s just me, but I would have taken the money and ran when offered. Just sayin’……………. Hopefully,… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@KenMueller Thanks for the great comment Ken. A wise sage the Ad Contrarian said we all view marketing the way we absorb and interact and assume everyone is the same. I never go to Facebook for anything with Brands. Only to see my friends. I do observe brand pages for insight. One thing though because Chobani did this with me. I mention being a store front hoping for customers. We all know if you have a great store people come. And so if you have a great page/community no different than Spin Sucks people will come to your page vs… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@KenMueller Thanks for the great comment Ken. A wise sage the Ad Contrarian said we all view marketing the way we absorb and interact and assume everyone is the same. I never go to Facebook for anything with Brands. Only to see my friends. I do observe brand pages for insight. One thing though because Chobani did this with me. I mention being a store front hoping for customers. We all know if you have a great store people come. And so if you have a great page/community no different than Spin Sucks people will come to your page vs… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@bdorman264 I drank the Old Milwaukee yesterday sorry Bill! 8)

Thanks for the comment I needed some Bill humor since you and I are the once keeping everyone lose. I don’t see Facebook ads. I block them all with Firefox. How are they doing 8)

John Falchetto
4 years 10 months ago

Great points Howie and this explains a lot in my digital baby mind.

I agree I get no contacts, leads or clients on FB but I do get them on Twitter. Then again I could be using FB the wrong way.

How do you see G+ Business pages changing this? Will they be a repeat of Facebook pages?

Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
4 years 10 months ago
Love these distinctions Howie! You know who’s Fan Page kicks some serious ass? Regretsy’s – “Where DIY Meets WTF” This woman gets massive feedback to whatever she posts. Same with Hungry Girl. I know Hungy Girl is getting paid, not direct response style from her page, but from leveraging her rabid fan base selling her cook books which led to her getting a TV show. And even though April’s Regretsy site can be awesomely vulgar, she’s come up from nothing and attracted enough eyeballs to get the attention of some heavy duty advertisers. Today she’s got Citibank and Autotrader side… Read more »
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
4 years 10 months ago

@John Falchetto Thanks for asking this question John! I didn’t think to ask it and now I’m anxious to see Howie’s answer to it.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2@John Falchetto I still view social as person to person. I think since all businesses have websites already and the data overload we all have I don’t see it changing. The question is would you rather have someone go to a FB or G+ page or Expat Life Coach? Because that to me is the choice. The fact is for Brand’s they all want to chat with us and we don’t have time. We drive by how many stores every day and don’t go in. The stores we LOVE we do go in…but every day? How… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2@John Falchetto I still view social as person to person. I think since all businesses have websites already and the data overload we all have I don’t see it changing. The question is would you rather have someone go to a FB or G+ page or Expat Life Coach? Because that to me is the choice. The fact is for Brand’s they all want to chat with us and we don’t have time. We drive by how many stores every day and don’t go in. The stores we LOVE we do go in…but every day? How… Read more »
maringerov (Marin Gerov)
4 years 10 months ago

Interesting article>> The Facebook Dirty Secret http://spinsucks.com/social-media/the-facebook-dirty-secret/

KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago
@HowieSPM See, I think that’s where the argument breaks down. In that way, you are solely viewing Facebook as a marketing tool. It is NOT a marketing tool, but it does have marketing value. I believe that businesses that view it solely as marketing are making a big mistake. It’s more of a big picture tool, heavy on the customer service/experience/engagement end of things. And yes, there is a marketing aspect. The other side is, I’ve seen plenty of restaurants that are always packed…and then suddenly they go out of business. Or aren’t packed. What is true now, isn’t true… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@KenMueller I am not viewing Facebook as a marketing tool. It is what it is being sold as by Facebook, Mashable, the VC’s, the 70bil valuation, Vitrue and Likeable and all those Ahem Gurus who give speeches and sell books trying to show brands how to sell and grow using Facebook. I agree with you 100% actually. My mission is to expose the fraud that is Facebook as a marketing/sales machine because that is what is being sold to everyone. That is why the Social media Clubs often lack marketers attending and have the average person with a business. They… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@KenMueller I am not viewing Facebook as a marketing tool. It is what it is being sold as by Facebook, Mashable, the VC’s, the 70bil valuation, Vitrue and Likeable and all those Ahem Gurus who give speeches and sell books trying to show brands how to sell and grow using Facebook. I agree with you 100% actually. My mission is to expose the fraud that is Facebook as a marketing/sales machine because that is what is being sold to everyone. That is why the Social media Clubs often lack marketers attending and have the average person with a business. They… Read more »
KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago
@HowieSPM I agree, and this is the approach I use with my clients. And Google is in the same boat, when you look at the exposure businesses get, or don’t get, with Ad Words, etc.And that’s a big part of what marijean and I are trying to include in the book we are writing. The thing is, we may position it as marketing, but only because that’s what people want. But they will get more. In the same way I position myself as being in the “social media marketing” business…because that’s what businesses are looking for online. They don’t understand… Read more »
bdorman264
4 years 10 months ago

@HowieSPM I think they made $37 last month, but it was an influential $37…………just sayin’……………

jens
4 years 10 months ago
Hi Howie, I completely agree when it comes to Twitter. I’ve been using it to find people who are nearby and according to what they’re talking about. It’s easy to target “the right people” and start a conversations – even though Norwegians are not using Twitter like the people in the US. When it comes to Facebook Pages, I’ve had an interesting experience during the summer. I work at a college in Norway, and we’ve been using Facebook to push information to students (and other people who have liked the page). The information have been relevant and highly targeted. So,… Read more »
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
4 years 10 months ago
@HowieSPM@NEMultimedia I could totally see how that would happen. At this point in my life I’m far more open to watching my Facebook Newsfeed vs. my Twitter timeline. For some people it’s the opposite. For me I think it’s more a “Comfort” thing. I’m way more familiar and entrenched in Facebook because it popped my social media cherry. I also enjoy the way you get a wider preview of what you’ll be clicking through to. Example I just copied from the “Men With Pens” post in my news feed… How Breakfast at Tiffanys Teaches You to Become a Classic Writer… Read more »
trackback
4 years 10 months ago

[…] This post was Twitted by AmeenaFalchetto […]

tonia_ries
tonia_ries
4 years 10 months ago
Howie – did you see the study that comScore + Facebook released recently, looking at the # of overall impressions (in newsfeeds) compared to the % of page fans who might see a post? (we covered it here: http://therealtimereport.com/2011/07/28/facebook-marketing-newsfeed-impressions-matter-more-than-the-number-of-fans/) — It backs your assertion that most page fans will never see a given piece of content, but then says that there’s big incremental payoff from the distribution your post might get to friends of your fans. Given that the study was co-sponsored by Facebook itself, I’d love to hear from anyone who might have outside experience to indicate if this… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@tonia_ries Hi Tonia. I think that study actually still showed inflated numbers. I run a brand page for a gourmet dessert business with fanatical fans. I can’t even give away product easily because people aren’t seeing the posts. My own studies show people with 200+ friends + fan pages will see less than 3% of the feed (Twitter is the same) just due to the volume. Also using Compete’s unique visitors per month and unique visits total data I have estimated only 22mil of the 67 mil US log ins today are actually active on the site (commenting, status updates,… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@jens thanks for stopping by! congratulations. It is not a bad platform if you can get people coming to your page. It trick is getting them to come when they have so many things going on. The value then is either the community or what you bring as the page owner.

Obviously the community likes the platform and the subject matter is worth them coming back. I have always wanted to condition people to come to a clients page but also don’t want it to be from bribes (coupons, deals etc)

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago

@jens thanks for stopping by! congratulations. It is not a bad platform if you can get people coming to your page. It trick is getting them to come when they have so many things going on. The value then is either the community or what you bring as the page owner.

Obviously the community likes the platform and the subject matter is worth them coming back. I have always wanted to condition people to come to a clients page but also don’t want it to be from bribes (coupons, deals etc)

fitzternet
4 years 10 months ago

Nice post. You’ve been right on the money about FB for a while.

For me, it comes down to this: Twitter is about ideas and information. Facebook is fluff. It looks more like the dying days of AOL to me everyday. Not that FB will go away (AOL’s been dead for years and it’ll never go away), but it’s just not worth all the commotion. I think all small businesses should be on FB, but for the same reason they should be listed in the phone book. Just in case.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 10 months ago

Hi Howie,
Thanks for the interesting perspective. I agree. Some call Facebook fluff, I say it’s about building or deepening relationships, not starting new ones. Brands that are successful on Facebook are using it to drive engagement and relationships, but not to focus on sales. Consumers have all been contested out, voted this, that and the other thing. They aren’t on FB to be sold to, they’re there to show everyone how damn cute their dog is or to see how damn cute your dog is.

brasonja
brasonja
4 years 10 months ago

@TokoRose Interesting post, thanks for sharing 🙂

BbeS
BbeS
4 years 10 months ago

@Lisa Gerber I agree with you Lisa. So many companies/people miss the power of Facebook because they can only think of it in terms of making a sale. If you don’t use it for customer engagement and relationship building then you are missing the whole picture.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 10 months ago
@BbeS@Lisa Gerber I agree. As I noted below @KenMueller and I have been hashing this out. The problem for social is Sales is what gives the massive valuations. Unless Social is driving revenue the markets and investors don’t care about it, the mashables have no readers, etc. So that is what all the news and trade pub focuses on. If Social doesn’t drive sales and is more an insight and customer retention platform and one with limited reach then the CFO says nestle it in customer service and we are not paying someone $100k to be a community manager. So… Read more »
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