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Why do any businesses bother with Facebook?

So apparently some businesses are starting to get off Facebook, mainly as a protest over the way Facebook has allegedly been handling data, and because they think there’s too much abuse hurled on Facebook. These reasons don’t greatly impress me, but what I have often thought over the years is: why are any businesses on Facebook? And why do they take it so seriously?

Sure, some businesses benefit by being on Facebook, they get recommendations through it that they may not otherwise get. Or people may just see them, or find them by searching Facebook. But that only applies to certain types of businesses. But a lot of businesses don’t benefit much from being on there. You may say, they aren’t disadvantaged either, so why not? But that doesn’t explain why they all think, or used to think, that being on Facebook is an absolutely essential thing for any modern company to do. But how does Nescafe having a Facebook change make you buy more Nescafe? And how does all the banal crap that corporates spout on their Facebook page make anyone buy from that company more than they otherwise would?

And most companies aren’t very good at Facebook. Even the ones who would definitely benefit from having a Facebook page, if they did it properly. For example, for local pubs and bars can obviously use Facebook to their advantage by advertising what they have on in the coming week: the quiz nights the open mic night, the steak night, the band on Friday or Saturday. But 95% of pubs and bars that have a Facebook page are absolutely hopeless at keeping this sort of thing updated. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a pub Facebook page that has a lot of this sort of stuff listed, but it’s all months out of date, because after a while whoever was doing it couldn’t be arsed. That always mean I give that place a miss. So that Facebook page actively sabotages that place; they’d be better off not having a Facebook page at all. If you need information about a company, the company website is usually better than the Facebook page.

So my advice to most businesses is to get off Facebook. And if you really need it to keep your customers updated, then update the bloody thing regularly, or else delete it.

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