The definitive answer to that question is no…and yes…well…maybe. Many digital marketing consultants and “social media experts” base their sales pitch around statements like “every business needs to have a Facebook page” but I tend to disagree. The fact that Facebook claims to have 1.7 billion monthly active users (updated number as of October 2016) is certainly a compelling reason to jump on the bandwagon, but many small businesses make the decision to hop on board before considering how they will add value for those users.

For many (if not most) small business, simply having a Facebook presence is not an effective digital marketing strategy in itself. It should however coincide with your overall content creation and promotion strategy.

It should be a place where you can publish, link to and promote content you’ve published elsewhere on the web – like on your website or blog. There are certainly going to be cases when you’re creating and posting Facebook-specific content, but that should also be built into your overall content strategy.

Worrying about setting up a Facebook page before developing a solid content strategy is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. This, of course, applies to all social media websites (like Twitter, Google+ or YouTube) but Facebook continues to be the darling of the social media industry.

Facebook should be a means to an end, not an end in itself.

If you don’t currently have a Facebook page for your business and are toying with the idea of setting one up – don’t do it. Instead, sit back and develop your content strategy first and make sure you have solid answers to the following questions:

  • What will we post? Why will we post it? When will we post it?
  • Who will be monitoring our Facebook Page and why are they qualified to do so?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • What are our goals? How will we determine if our page is successful (or providing value to us and/or our customers?

Once you’ve developed a plan to start regularly publishing and sharing content, then go ahead and set up a Facebook page and start putting your plan into action. Once you’ve gained a good understanding of sharing content and interacting with your community, go ahead and set up additional accounts on sites like Google+ or Twitter.

Content is still king; Facebook is just a method of content delivery.

Years ago, when I worked in full time sales, I read an article on the difference between doing tasks that “are productive” and doing those that “feel productive”. Things like making a phone call to a customer, meeting with a potential customer or creating and sending out an email blast are activities that are highly productive because they are activities that could result directly in new revenue or increased customer satisfaction.

However, a sales person can spend the day organizing his leads, practicing his sales pitch, studying his product or researching the competition and leave at the end of the day feeling somewhat accomplished, when in reality nothing at all was produced.

For some business owners and social media managers, logging into Facebook and posting a status can easily fall into the category of activities that feel productive, but produce no tangible benefits for your business.

Facebook can certainly be a fun way to market your business and interact with your community, but don’t lose sight of the big picture. Always remember that Facebook isn’t a strategy, but a tool and a platform for implementing your strategy and spreading your story.