Should You Promote Your Company On Facebook and Risk Competitors Stealing your Customers?

This question has come up several times over the past month... one client in particular recently wrote: "Is it dumb for us to have a business/fan page (as opposed to profile), because competitors could start emailing all our peeps…friending them (and a lot of people accept everyone) and the start marketing to out entire mailing list?"

My response was as follows:
So you know my overall position on this… I think that the net, overall good that comes to your company by creating a Facebook business/fan page far outweighs the possibility that a competitor can poach your online network of friends (aka, your e-mail list).

First, Facebook discourages this.  If someone started going through your friends and “friending” them all, Facebook would catch it at a certain point and warn the person not to do it or risk having their account closed.  I know several people this has happened to, which then subsequently keeps them honest in the future.  Being “honest” means that most business users of Facebook have come to realize that they need to earn friends, not just spam or steal them, and thus the greatest benefit to you as a company is that I believe what you have to offer in order to “earn” those friends and keep them staying in touch with and on top of your business offerings is considerably greater than that which your competitors can offer.

The video you’ve been placing online has been watched my almost everyone you and I know… your photos, uploaded to your business page and tagged, will go a long way in terms of spreading the word about your company far and wide to Facebook’s audience of over 200M users and growing.  Posting links to your various new tours and travel packages is one way to promote yourself… posting your customers blog links, as well as providing them a page where they can post these themselves, will also help to create more buzz and bring more awareness to your company, your brand and your product offerings.

The bottom line is that your customers ARE already on Facebook… they are viewing other gay travel and tour operator offerings… they are engaging with each other and sharing information and stories about trips they’ve taken with you.  Without a business presence on Facebook, these conversations and engagements are going on without you… you are NOT part of the conversation and you are missing out on shaping and influencing the direction those conversations and engagements go, which should be towards your business.

I hope this helps.
Matt

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