Norfolk County Ontario businesses on FacebookIn small communities like Norfolk County, Ontario, it’s common for many businesses to rely only on a Facebook page for online marketing. (In fact, Facebook is often used as a substitute to having a website. The latter is a flawed move. Period.)

Several recent studies have looked at the use of Facebook as a business marketing tool. The results point to Facebook not being the magic marketing bullet many businesses hope for. Unfortunately, too many businesses are focused on number of Likes as being evidence of marketing success. These same businesses rarely compile any data to show whether those Likes are translating into dollars and cents.

And let’s really think about those contests that many businesses run once a week to give away product via Facebook. Is it really generating new business?

According to a leading research firm, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, an Australia-based marketing company that has Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola as clients, slightly more than 1% of fans of the largest brands on Facebook are actually engaging with the brands. Read the study here.

In another study, the suggestion is that businesses who rely on Facebook have it all wrong. It’s Twitter that is far better tool for business marketing. A study by Social Twist examined traffic from the Tell a Friend widget embedded on websites. This widget allows people to share information across the web. The study examined more than one million shared links.

The results were surprising: Twitter crushed Facebook. On average, tweets with embedded links were shared 19 times, compared to only three on Facebook. Read more here.

There is another key difference between Twitter and Facebook for businesses. Many retailers fail to realize this difference. Twitter is a constant conversation stream. It’s fast. It’s organic. Facebook is a mish-mash of posts, jokes, photos, quizzes, annoying apps, and games (have you had enough of Farmville yet?). This all adds up to a lot of clutter for businesses hoping to stand out in the Facebook streams of their followers. In fact, you may be a needle in a haystack of fluff posts on Facebook.

Looking for more insights into why you can’t rely just on Facebook? Below is a top five list by Social Media Today that should give you some motivation to at least expand your efforts beyond Facebook:

Why you must get off of Facebook?

1. There is life outside of Facebook. There is a whole other world of awesome peeps who do not eat, sleep and breathe Facebook all day. These same peeps might come visit your page if you so inspired them to do such.

2. Your fans may not be the right fans. Are they mostly the folks who did the “courtesy likes” such as family, good friends and neighbors? Sorry folks, they are family fans and they are not who you should be focusing on.

3. Facebook is only one piece of a real online marketing strategy. If you are putting all of your eggs in the blue and white Facebook basket, do so at your own risk.

4. If you are only focusing on Facebook insights data, then your data is skewed. It is only a small set of your target audience. You need to try other platforms to better research and understand your audience behavior.

5. You need to get to know your fans and target market. Since nobody is talking to you on your current page, I don’t think it’s happenin’ there.