Should Needlepoint Land make a concerted push to have a business presence on Facebook?
For me, the question is a straightforward one.
Does having a business presence on Facebook (ie, an official Needlepoint Land page), measurably drive sales of the products that I sell?
I have done my homework over the last few days, and, quite frankly, am not very excited about recent opaque and convoluted marketing discussions by top Facebook executives in charge of the SMB space.
Put simply, I particularly do not fully understand or like the idea that Facebook is blocking potential needlepoint stitchers who Like my page or posts from seeing 100 per cent of any new posts I might create in the future — unless, of course, I pay Facebook for the privilege.
It looks and smells like a digital shakedown.
Moreover, I have neither the time nor the patience to waste my most precious resource — time — learning the nuances of FB’s ever evolving marketing direction.
FB will do what is good for FB.
I will do what is good for Needlepoint Land.
And what is good for Needlepoint Land is to sell needlepoint-related merchandise, not engage in some time-consuming attempts to divine what some underlying automatic Facebook post or comment evaluation engine determines to be too spammy or too whatever to suit FB’s precious Newsfeed “product”.
What’s precious to me is my product. And my product is handpainted needlepoint canvases, threads, and finishing. Period.
I sell these to my customers, and I don’t apologize for it or try to disguise it in any way. This is what I do for a living.
I also know most of my customers personally, and am always friendly and as professional as possible when taking care of their needlepoint stitching needs.
What I am not going to do is turn my business into some sort of “content” (a term that, as a former English major, I actually loathe) factory that tries to come up with clever posts and advertorial quips where I pretend to be some sort of faux friend, when everyone would realize full well that I had some sort of underlying agenda swept under the carpet.
I have enough on my hands running my brick and mortar store as it is, without bothering with such disingenuous nonsense.
I’m not running a magazine, nor do I aspire to be the next Donna Draper.
I sell hand-painted needlepoint canvases.
This is what we do here, Mr. Zuckerberg, and I don’t actually need you to tell me how it is that I should amp up the sophistication of my message — by paying Facebook for the privilege — when I communicate with my customers, who, by the way, Mr. Zuckerberg, can always rest assured that I don’t follow them in some creepy way when they leave my store.
I understand that FB needs to do everything possible to sustain its valuation, but if the company is serious about wanting to interest or “engage” (to use what is probably one of your favorite terms) small businesses like mine as to how they justify FB’s ad rate structure, then they need to be a lot more straight forward in how they sell their value proposition.
That said, I will be using Facebook as part of Needlepoint Land’s digital strategy, going forward, but not in the way that FB might have hoped.
Quite frankly, I get plenty of visitors here when I post something: after 3 years of building a loyal readership on my free WordPress blog, I have some idea as to how to attract attention to my products and services online.
As for Facebook, well, they could not even put up a map showing the location of my store on my trial business page (and who never bothered to respond when I contacted them about it). And did not seem to understand how massively inappropriate it is to ask for my age, religion, and cell number in order to set up a business sign in account.
You want to verify if I’m real, Mr. Zuckerberg? Come on down to the store for a cup of coffee. You would be more than welcome.
Memo to FB. Learn something about keeping your marketing message direct, clear and simple. Oh, and whatever you do, never again waste my time with discussions about the “evolution of organic search.”
I have a real business to run, and, unlike you, I don’t have Wall Street to afford me the luxury of talking in smoke and mirrors while thinking about what to do next.
Bottom line: I’m pulling the plug on the trial account and its associated Needlepoint Land FB business page that I used this week for my “500 Likes” experiment.
Going forward, I will soon be revealing on this blog a well defined and clearly articulated online digital strategy that makes sense for my current and future customers and the resources I can bring to bear to service them.
In the meantime, I want to thank all of you who clicked on those 20+ Like buttons.
The gesture, whatever it may mean in Mr. Zuckerberg’s insular universe, was much appreciated!