So I’ve had the discussion with several of my staff, and several publishers that I’m on friendly enough terms to talk about their metrics with, and I remain unconvinced that devoting efforts to the maintenance of a Facebook page is in my best interests.
When it comes to traffic delivery and audience development, Facebook fails almost every time. The social network has much more critical mass than Twitter, or even Google Buzz, but consistently ranks lower than both of those sites when compared to organic traffic delivered as well as purchased traffic.
Maintaining your community on Facebook is expensive in many ways – expensive when it comes to people cost (I’d have to devote one of my personnel to being a community manager for the Facebook page), and it’s expensive in that I’m actually devoting money to letting Facebook have all the traffic from community interactions I’d be garnering.
That’s unmonetizable traffic that never makes it back to my site. Granted, we’re not CPM based, so it’s not nearly as critical as it would be for a Mashable or a Techcrunch, but it also creates a vacuum for those who would interact with the brand normally on our own properties, pushes them to Facebook, where (I’m told) the conversation will probably not revolve around our content so much as the weather and other mundane topics.
That’s another thing – I’ve talked to about two or three potential community managers. They say that creating a Page on Facebook that simply houses links and descriptions of our library of content won’t attract interaction – it’s the conversations about the mundanities of life that will attract conversation.
Why am I financing that? What does that do for my brand or my publications?
I’ve been bearish on Facebook’s ROI for third parties for ages, but now that I’m taking a much closer look, I have to say that (unless one of you convinces me otherwise), I can’t in good conscious devote company resources to maintaining a community on Facebook.