Don’t Put All Your Eggs in the Facebook Basket

While Facebook may be a hot marketing tool right now, there is danger in putting too much effort into making it the center of your marketing efforts.

In a recent post I spoke about publishing paths and tailoring your content and selectively publishing it to different websites. It can be dangerous, though, if you take it too far and focus only on building your content on one website (particularly one you don’t have absolute control over) because you leave yourself and your business open to whims and decisions of others. I see this happening withTwitter to a certain extent and now, with increasing frequency, with Facebook.

Facebook should be a tool in your marketing toolbox … just not the only tool.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with websites like Twitter or Facebook–as long they are part of an overall strategy. However, when Facebook represents all of your marketing activity, you are taking a huge risk. I’ve seen this done with small brands, but I think that, by picking a well-known, national brand, I can drive the point home much more effectively. Let’s take a look at the website for Vitamin Water at VitaminWater.com.

At the time this post was written, VitaminWater.com 301 redirects to a Facebook page for Vitamin Water. I’m all for trying new things, thinking out of the box, and experimenting. After all, I was one of the few people who liked the skittles redirect stunt. But it was temporary. When you redirect your website to a twitter page, facebook page, wikipedia page or any other page not under your absolute complete control, you are no longer your own master. A lot of web 2.0 companies have a spotty track record and have been known to make some really bad decisions in the past, and I’d put Facebook near the top of the bad decision makers list. Anyone remember the beacon fiasco,  holocaust denial incident, or recent privacy kerfufle? When you put all your marketing eggs in the Facebook basket you put the fate of your company under the guidance, regulations, and terms of service of a company that has shown increasingly poor decision making with alarming regularity.

Let’s be clear: Facebook wants to rule the web. If you don’t think the deactivation of several high profile Google engineers facebook accounts wasn’t a warning shot across the bow, you really need to open your eyes. Facebook and Google will be at war for the web very soon, and you don’t want to be collateral damage in that war.

Facebook should be a tool in your marketing toolbox … just not the only tool.

Facebook and Google will be at war for the web very soon, and you don’t want to be collateral damage in that war.

In the coming year, expect Facebook to make a concerted effort to bring business onto Facebook. In fact I would expect them to do everything they could to incentivize people to make Facebook their main or only web presence. If I was Facebook, I’d have a team of developers and programmers working on making Facebook pages easier for less technical people to use and update. Don’t fall for the trap.

If you are looking for information on how to get more out of Facebook, check out this presentation from Brian Carter at Pubcon 2010. It’s really good.

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