Facebook: Friend or Foe for SMBs?

Lora Bentley
Slide Show

Five Facts Facebook Should Know About Privacy

If the company would remember these five things about privacy, its execs might not shudder at the mere mention of the word.

Despite the social networking site's exponential growth, PCWorld's Katherine Noyes says Facebook is not the best place for nascent businesses to get their names and products in front of potential customers. Interestingly, though, the privacy and security problems I'm always griping about here are last on her three-item list.


Facebook's stress-inducing qualities are the primary reason small businesses should avoid Facebook, according to Noyes. And she's not talking about stress for the person who maintains the company's Facebook presence.


A recent survey of university students in Scotland revealed that Facebook stresses them out, she said. Specifically, they said rejecting friend requests made them uncomfortable, that they felt pressure to be entertaining, and that they were afraid they would miss something important if they didn't check in often.


Dr. Kathy Charles, who led the study at Edinburgh Napier University, said:

Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good.

Businesses certainly don't want to stress out their customers, Noyes says.


Secondly, she points out that Facebook users won't know to look for a business page unless they already know the business exists, so increased traffic or an influx of new customers won't necessarily happen overnight. (Some of Noyes' readers disagree with her on this, and they don't hesitate to say so in the comments.)


Finally, like I mentioned earlier, Noyes notes that Facebook's scores of privacy and security issues should be enough to discourage new small businesses from trying to establish a presence there.


Though I agree that all these things taken together should give new businesses pause when considering Facebook, I don't think all of them should necessarily avoid Facebook at all costs. It just may not be as big a piece of the marketing puzzle until the business gets on its feet.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 22, 2011 3:02 PM DJONES DJONES  says:

I have to disagree with all of it.  I know some businesses that are very successful at using social media to build a relationship between clients.  I would say that social media is less about getting attention and more about keeping the attention you have.

MT (web hosting) continually posts articles aimed to help designers and developers.  I think the key is that they are not trying to sell anything and are genuinely trying to be helpful to their customer base.

However, other companies I work with... I avoid their social pages because it is filled with advertising - "20% sale this week" and so forth.


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