Many small businesses count on Facebook to promote their business. But, counting solely on Facebook can be a huge mistake and spell disaster in the long term for your business.

Here's why:

1. You are not in control
You have no control when promoting your business on Facebook. It's Facebook's sandbox, and Facebook alone decides who sees your content.

2. Likes don't pay the bills
"Likes" are great we all want to have our content liked, but, likes and sales are two different things.
Likes are great, but remember, leads are better, and sales are best! How many actual dollars in sales can you credit to Facebook?

3. You have no good way to lead capture
If you are using Facebook alone, how can you capture leads for ongoing marketing?
Sure, some email services give you a sign-up widget for Facebook but, is anyone signing up?  Check your analytics; I bet not!  

4. Facebook regularly changes the rules
Remember back when you could post on Facebook and everyone who liked your page would see it?
Not anymore. Facebook kept changing the rules, tweaking the algorithm, now on average, less than 5% of your followers see your post organically.

5. You have to pay if you want your content seen. (see above)
If you want your fans to see your content, you have to pay. It's as simple as that. Facebook is no longer a free marketing ride for small business. Those days are long gone.  

6. Facebook can shut you down without warning
That's right; Facebook has the right to shut your page down without warning. It's right there in the fine print of the user agreement (you read that, right?)
What would happen to your business if Facebook shut your page down? If they are your sole marketing channel, it could be a disaster.

7. Social media platforms come and go
This isn't news to anyone, Social Media platforms come and go all the time, even big ones.
Platforms fall out of favor; people move to the latest shiny new platform all the time.  What if you woke up one day to find that a large percentage of your fans were no longer on Facebook?

8. You are investing a lot of valuable time for little return
At least most small business are. Social media takes time. Creating content, finding content, sharing content it all takes time.
If only 3%-5% of your followers see your content, and just a small percentage of those are reading or watching it, you could be wasting a lot of time to reach very few potential customers.

What Should You Do About It?

1. Concentrate your efforts on a platform you control
Your website is the only platform in the digital world where you are in control.  That's where your efforts and marketing dollars should go.
Think about it for a minute, would you spend money to remodel an apartment you just rent week to week? Would you build a retail store on land you can only lease month to month? Of course not!

2. Build your email list
Email is hands down, without any doubt, the most cost effective form of marketing.
You should be putting your efforts into building a targeted email list.  Notice the word "targeted." It does no good to spam a bunch of people who don't care about you or your offerings. (Don't ever buy an email list, it never works and can get you in trouble.)
You need to build and maintain a targeted email list (maybe several).
Think about this; Emal lets you directly communicate one on one with your leads. You refer to them by name, you learn what they care about, and you can give them content they actually want. Doing this builds trust, and that trust leads to sales.
Big bonus; Unlike paid ads, your email list can be used to reach someone over and over for years to come.

3. You need some lead magnets
Lead magnets or "carrots" are something of value that you trade a visitor in exchange for their email address. You see them all the time (because they work). "Get your free copy of..." Yep, those are lead magnets.
You should have several different ones because every visitor to your website may not be interested in the same thing or looking for the same information.
Return visitors should see a different offer if they already signed up for the first.
Don't slack on this one, give them great information, first impressions count. This is step one in gaining their trust.

4. Create a sales funnel
You need a sales funnel to help you convert traffic to leads and leads to customers. A sales (or conversion) funnel is a pretty simple concept.
You put subscribers or visitors in the top and customers come out the bottom. It's what happens between that determines how many customers, and how long it takes.
Steps in between the top and bottom may include several layers of nurturing, answering questions, sharing information, filtering out tire kickers, and removing barriers to making a purchase.
There is a ton of information out there on sales funnels you can find some on my blog, A Digital World.

5.  Continue to use Social Media
What? I just got done telling you eight reasons not to...
I should say; Continue to use Social Media, but do it the right way.
Social Media isn't all bad, in fact, it's almost a must. The problem is that most small businesses don't use it correctly.
Think of Social Media as a tool. Something to help you reach your marketing goal.
What Goal? Building your email list(s), of course. That is goal one in small business digital marketing.

This is probably the number one thing small businesses do wrong in digital marketing.

Don't post information directly on Social Media. Post information on your website and then link to it on social media. Remember your goal is building your email list. How and where do you do that?  
On your website, using lead magnets. 
By all means, use social media, but use it as a tool, to drive traffic to the thing you control - your website.

6. Keep your eye on the prize
It's easy to lose focus, but keep your eye on the prize. Remember, the goal is to build your targeted email list. With that list, you can market directly to a person one on one. And, you can do it over and over for years to come (assuming you treat them right and build a relationship with them).
Facebook and other platforms make it super easy just to get lazy and put your information on their platform. Don't give in, do it right, it's your information. Don't put it on social media then pay them to show your information to your fans!

7. Be patient
"Rome wasn't built in a day," and neither is your digital presence.
It takes time to build website traffic, it takes time to build an email list, and it takes time to build and audience of loyal fans and customers.
But, the payoff can be great, and the Social Media platforms can't take it all away from you.
You can do things to speed the process, SEO and even paid search ads can get the ball rolling pretty quickly if you have the budget. Of the two, SEO is the better long term investment. Paid search is faster, but your results stop when you stop the ads.

8. Get some help
Digital marketing is a complex and ever-changing field of knowledge. Don't be afraid to get some help. Guessing at what move to make next can cost you a ton of time and money.
Your time may be much more valuable and better utilized on other areas of your business. If you don't have the time or knowledge to do it right, hiring a Digital Marketing professional or agency is the best way to go.

Cotts, Inc. is a digital marketing agency specializing in helping small businesses. We are located in the small city of Pottsville in Schuylkill County, PA 17901.

We build results-driven websites, expert social media content and strategies, custom interactive kiosk systems, digital signage systems and print campaigns so your business can compete in this digital world.

If your small business needs help with marketing in the digital world, reach out to us, our contact information is:
Phone: 570.399.5662