Hate Facebook? 3 Glaring Reasons Not To Expose Your Community

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With social media penetration at an apex internationally, niche’ communities are being built surrounding businesses of all sizes. But, is the planet’s blind rush to Facebook prudent?

Facebook may be big, but big does not always mean better for organizations taking steps to socialize their communities.  Other businesses can easily stalk and market directly to your friends and customers. Facebook can take down your site without asking and privacy is a serious concern.  Sound counterintuitive in light of Facebook’s mass? Let’s take a look at the liabilities and explore some solutions: [Post Split]

1 – Other Businesses Systematically Poach Your Facebook Fans

It’s very easy to find competitors’ Facebook followers’ profiles. Once identified, it’s so easy to jump in and participate in conversation threads with another businesses’ community.  Also Facebook Ads targeting mechanism is a deadeye weapon of war with which to target communities’ that competitors have sweat bullets and treasure to assemble.

In fact, the more a business invests in building Facebook “Likes,” the easier it is to pilfer fans. Taco Bell has obviously expended a lot of energy earning “Likes” on their Facebook page. They’ve earned millions of fans.

Look how unbelievably easy it is to target Facebook users who are interested in Taco Bell with Facebook Ads.

Yes, it’s true! Facebook does not filter the ability to target trademarked brand terms in their ads engine. Build your community on Facebook and your customers are veritable sitting ducks for anyone to filch.  Are you really willing to expand significant resources in a community space that exposes your precious customers to vultures?

2 – Facebook Can Take Down Your Site Without Asking

Increasingly, allegations of Facebook censorship have been flagged, even in the mainstream.  You don’t own Facebook, they do. Therefore, at the end of the day, Facebook can modify and even remove your content without asking.  Facebook has also been known to block outbound links to sites it considers harmful to Facebook users.  To some it just does not make sense to put their community-building eggs in the Facebook basked. We live in a day and age when businesses have KPIs that include “Cost per like,” and associated cash investments that are serious.  Do you really want Mr. Z’s posse to ride in an neuter your hard earned community?

3 – Privacy Concerns & Governmental Regulation

Accusing Facebook of “unfair and deceptive” practices, the American government recently announced a sweeping settlement requiring Facebook to better guard users’ privacy. Though there will be regular privacy audits for the next couple of decades, the Federal Trade Commission charged no fines and did not suggest that Facebook broke the law on purpose. Some Facebook users are leery and this may cause defections from the community over time.

A proposed European law attacks concerns about Facebook Ads and how FB mines user data for targeting. The new directive by a regulatory commission may prevent advertisers from leveraging users’s behavioral data. These concerns may filter down to top-of-mind user concerns and change the cultural dynamic surrounding Facebook’s massive growth. This much is apparent.  Feast your eyes on this YouTube search result for the keyword “Hate Facebook” and you’ll be kept busy for quite a while.

Heck, even people USING Facebook spout off about hating Facebook!

You can target them too using Facebook Ads.


What Are The Alternatives?

Our agency has many clients that are successful on Facebook.  In light of the liabilities, our tactic is often to channel everybody else’s community members  to our clients’ Facebook communities and then lead them out of Facebook to other marketing channels.  This can include email, SMS, proprietary social communities that clients own.

Though email is a rather primitive solution these days, it is still highly effective for various plays. Try promotions that move your Facebook fans to opt-in emails. Email is a closed loop system that, while not inherently viral, prevents other companies from mining conversations.  It may sound silly but programs like ConstantContact and iContact are still great weapons in the social media marketers’ arsenal. Test offers that allow promotional offers to be forwarded and just watch.

SMS/Text tools are awesome. Instead of running Facebook Ads to get FB users to “Like” your fan page, test using them to garner SMS subscriptions. We’ve see fantastic conversion occur in many verticals, from fast food to hardware store coupons.  Again, this tactic channels users out of the predatory Facebook jungle and into a system you control, absent nasty competitors and privacy concerns.

Another solution is to enable an organization’s’ website with features that facilitate social interaction among customers and potential friends. For those business not comfortable with Facebook’s porous deficiencies, forward thinking platforms are making next generation “owned” social networking site building tools to organizations of all stripes.  Check out Ning platform installations for the Peace Corps and rock band icons Linkin Park.

We’re probably on the generational cusp of a new class of social tools that support businesses who don’t want their customers exposed to competitors’ predatory practices, desire to “own” their social community and do not compromise users’ privacy.  Facebook may be big but big does not always mean better.

Marty Weintraub
Marty is author of "Killer Facebook Ads" (Wiley/Sybex 2011) & CEO of aimClear®, an online search & social marketing agency that has managed Facebook ad campaigns generating over 30 billion impressions internationally. Client credits include MarthaStewart.com, Siemens, Second Life & other global brands. Upcoming keynotes include MediaPost Search Insider Summit & OMS, as well as appearances in London, Israel, New York, Portland, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco & other cities around the world.Twitter @aimclearHe’s written extensively for respected Internet marketing publications including SearchEngineWatch, SearchEngineLand, SearchEngineRoundTable & been quoted in many others. aimClear Blog was cited as a Technorati Top 10 Small Business Blogs, Cison Top Ten Social Media Blogs & PRWeb’s 25 Essential Public Relations Blogs You Should Be Reading. A fixture on the International conference circuit, Marty speaks regularly at SES, SMX, PubCon, SEMpdx, International Search Summit, Socialize, Search Insider Summit, Universities, & many others. he founded & produces the aimClear® Full Day Facebook Marketing Intensive Workshop Marty has been described as “not your typical agency type.”A “social media maverick” and “more innovator than follower.” aimClear has become internationally recognized for its work in demographic targeting, especially as pertains to search, Facebook, & LInkedIn.
Marty Weintraub

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  • http://www.equitymarketingsolutions.com meleighsnith

    I love that I found this article via a post by Marty on Facebook.


    I’ve recently tried to delete my Facebook. account. Only to discover that Facebook does not delete an account but deactivates it.

    I’m not happy at all that when you login with an incorrect password your profile pick is show. Thats lack of respect for your privacy. A hack can easily verify if your account exists.

    Not only I don’t like the bad habits that Facebook has instilled on individuals and society in general.

    1. The need to have a 1000 friends of which 20 you actually know or have some form of relationship with.
    2. The lack of Privacy. People don’t realize the negative effect this can have on their personal relationships with friends, family, coworkers and employers!!!!!
    3. The effect it can have on the way you communicate with people in the Real World!! and the way you form relationships with people.

  • http://www.aimclearblog.com Marty

    @YDNTK: Yep, check FB TOS and see who owns the stuff you post :).