Dear Corporations, Delete Your Facebook Page
Facebook posts continue to generate lower levels of engagement every year while looking and feeling increasingly perfunctory.
Let's start with a quick pop quiz: Does your brand’s Facebook page routinely roll out posts that generate next-to-no engagement? Do you sometimes question whether your target audience is seeing your Facebook posts at all? Do posts on other social platforms perform considerably better than the identical ones on FB?
If you answered yes to any of these, you should delete your Facebook page.
Conventional wisdom is that every business should be on Facebook, sharing content and connecting with customers. But the conventional wisdom is wrong.
Let’s start by flashing back to ten years ago. LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" is the top song in the country. Planking is a popular meme. And businesses of all shapes and sizes are scrambling to get on Facebook and start posting killer content. Believe me, I was there, and the messaging was inescapable. Facebook could do everything — build connections with current and prospective consumers, launch viral promotions, improve SEO. Why, you could scarcely afford to not be on Facebook.
But times have changed, the memes have gotten better and Facebook isn’t the platform it used to be.
This is most evident with organic reach, which Facebook defines as "how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page." Reach started to plummet in 2012 when Facebook unceremoniously reduced levels to about 16 percent — meaning that if your page had 100 fans, only 16 of them were seeing your Harlem Shake video. And by 2014 that number was down to 6 percent, according to analysis at the time from Ogilvy.
Much has been written about the decline of organic reach, and the consensus is that paid posts are just the way the game is played — especially when you’re trying to build an audience on the platform. But that just leads to a larger question: Are Facebook users really an important audience to you? You can certainly respond by saying, “Everyone who is part of my target audience is on Facebook, so yes," but are the hypothetical users you’ve got in mind really there to engage with your brand content?
I could point to different reports detailing Facebook’s changing demographics and user trends, but I suspect your own personal experience on the platform offers a more compelling case. When did you last like a brand page? When did you last engage with brand posts? When did you last invite your friends to like a page?
So many of us are out there cooking up daily posts that only get a handful (literally — five or fewer) reactions and zero comments or clicks.
But what about all of the brands that are killing it on Facebook? Hey, I never said Facebook couldn’t work for somebody else. I said it’s probably not working for you. More specifically, I would say that your company still needs a Facebook page if:
You’re seeing positive ROI from your Facebook presence (paid or organic). If Facebook is still high on your list of website traffic sources or responsible for conversions, then disregard this advice. It’s not for you.
Your target market is regularly on Facebook and engaging with content there. This is true for many local businesses (think restaurants, bars, spas and resorts) and media companies.
You have a lot of positive reviews on Facebook. I’d never suggest deleting a channel that’s giving you social proof.
Prospective customers reach out through Facebook Messenger. You want to meet your customers where they are. If they like getting answers in chat, then Facebook on!
Read that list again and be honest — do those bullets describe your company?
Your company absolutely does not need a Facebook page if:
There is no identifiable link between Facebook activity and website or landing page traffic and conversions.
The plurality of comments and reviews you receive on posts are irrelevant or negative.
Facebook management is taking time and effort away from management of more productive channels.
The only remaining person with Facebook admin privileges left the company eight months ago, and you didn’t notice any changes to your digital marketing KPIs.
If any of those bullets hit the mark, then you’re a prime “delete Facebook ASAP” candidate. But maybe you’re still not convinced. Here's a case for why keeping your current account is riskier than just deleting it entirely, and how you can deploy your social efforts to a more effective platform.
So here’s the two-part risk angle. First, it’s a bad look to have a corporate Facebook page that appears to be a ghost town, with the aforementioned five-like posts looking like boarded-up bordellos. It’s probably better that your audience not see a post like that because it’s embarrassing — like a vacation post on Instagram that only your family hearts. And if you’re the person running that account, it’s only a matter of time before some executive above you says, “Hey, what’s up with Facebook?” or some eager corporate climber below you says, “Hey, I think I could do a better job running our social channels.”
And here’s the chaser (or risk part two): Ghost town accounts can suddenly spring to life following a negative news cycle. If Facebook is an afterthought for you, then you’d better be prepared to put it front-and-center the minute that New York Times or Politico article you’ve been dreading finally drops. Did your CEO maybe make an ill-advised political comment? A foreign investment end in scandal? If so, I hope you've got a good community manager on call who’s ready to respond to outraged Facebook users suddenly finding their way to your last “Happy fourth of July from our family to yours” post.
Here are some things you can do after you finally pull the blinds on Facebook:
Focus on the 'Gram. Instagram isn’t for every brand, but if your posts are primarily visual, then you’ll find that almost all of the benefits of Facebook can be found on Instagram.
Focus on Twitter. Twitter isn’t for every brand either, but if you’re trying to stand out in your industry or attract the attention of journalists, then it’s a great place to get noticed and start developing relationships.
Focus on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is my second home. It’s not just a public résumé. Many profess to hate it, but it’s the single best platform — bar none — for reaching decision-makers in corporate positions. In this sense, it’s the exact opposite of Facebook.
Give away, not close, your Facebook. Perhaps this article has convinced you that your potential customers or clients aren’t engaging on Facebook, but maybe your prospective employees are. Then perhaps it’s time that your team relinquish control of this platform and give the keys to your talent acquisition colleagues.