I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!
I'll start with the advantages that Facebook has for businesses:
1) It's easy to use: Facebook works hard to be user friendly; easy to post, easy to see your analytics, and easy to keep track of customer engagement. They also make business pages similar in format to personal pages so it will seem extra familiar to the regular Facebook user.
2) There is a large number of active users: According to Facebook's website, they have more than a billion monthly active users and 618 million daily active users (as of December 2012). This is a huge market to tap into and you don't want to miss out on it!
3) You can schedule content directly through Facebook: Facebook allows you to schedule posts directly through your business page. It lets you schedule posts up to five months out; posts can have links, pictures, videos, and text built right into them.
4) There are analytics built in: Facebook is constantly changing and updating their internal analytics to give you the best view of your business page as possible. It's very easy to see what kind of content or post does well and which does not.
5) It gives customers multiple ways to interact with you: People that like your page can send you messages, write on your wall, write recommendations, like your posts, share your posts, and comment on your posts. This is a large part of building your brand and gives customers an option of how they want to interact with you.
No social media platform is perfect though! Here are some disadvantages of Facebook for businesses:
1) It's difficult to gain and retain "likes" when first starting: Just like with any business as it starts out, a business facebook struggles to gain "likes" when first beginning (*without the use of promoted posts). A new facebook page will struggle with engagement and interaction as not all of your "likes" will see your posts. Once you gain a larger number of followers, you should see a steady increase of approximately 2-7% new "likes" per month (at least this is my experience).
2) It takes time and hard work to do it right: Although Facebook is free, you have to take into account time and effort spent into growing your Facebook "likes". On top of that, you must learn the difference between running a personal account and a business account.
3) Facebook limits who sees your posts: Not all of your "likes" will see every post. Most of my posts see an average of 30-70% of my total "likes" (Of course some get less and some get more). If you pay attention, you'll notice that Facebook limits certain types of posts (like pictures and certain links) to even fewer of your "likes".
4) Facebook lumps third party posts together and identifies where you post from: Yes you can schedule through Facebook directly, but in addition to that, you can post from many third party applications. These are convenient but can hurt the reach on your posts. Facebook may lump your posts together, may limit who sees posts from certain applications, and also identifies where you are posting from (i.e. Hootsuite, Gremln).
Even with its ups and downs, your business must have a Facebook page. With so many users waiting for you, you must not miss out! You have to use and manage it, but it can do wonders for building your brand and serving as a communication tool for your current and potential customers.
Does your business have a Facebook account? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects?
"Move fast and break things. If you aren't breaking things you aren't moving fast enough."
~Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook
See Part 1: Twitter for Business here
Part 3 coming soon: Pinterest for Business