More businesses are scrambling to get Facebook pages as they hear about the great benefits of social media and “free” advertising.  But how helpful are these pages really?  Do they really help businesses to make more money, and is it really free advertising?

If you talk to some social media fanatics, having a fanpage is almost as important as having a phone number for your business, or having a sign out front.  There are millions of businesses that have started their own fanpages, but have you checked any of them out lately.  I have seen more companies advertising online for the sole purpose of getting “likes” to their pages as well.  Ever since Google said that they are taking social media factors into play with their search engine algorithm, these “likes” have become like gold, and the gold-rush is on.

But in order to really understand if this is an effective marketing tool, you really have to consider what people do on Facebook.  Why are they there?  What are they looking for?  Today, people will “like” a page or company just because they can.  It’s just a simple click of a button and businesses really shouldn’t be flattered too much if they are able to garner a lot of likes.  The question is: Do these fans really help them make money?

I have seen that businesses will waste more time moderating comments on the walls of their fanpages than should really be necessary.  The only way to get a fan BACK to that fanpage is to offer them something for free.  But then it ceases to be free advertising.

Marketing on social media sites like Facebook and Myspace is tricky.  People aren’t there to buy anything.  They just want to get caught up with friends, watch a few funny videos, and post a few snide comments about their friend’s pictures.  With this frame a mind you really have to grab someone’s attention in order to sell anything to them, but then you just come off as rude and obnoxious and then your fan list will slowly dwindle.

Businesses that hire 5 employees to manage their facebook fanpages may be wasting their money.  They may be catering to a crowd that simply wants to be entertained or be given free stuff.  The best way to use a fanpage is to simply look at what people are saying so you can better improve your company.  It’s a great way to gauge how your consumers are liking or disliking your products and services and you can make the proper adjustments.

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