A recent Mashable article pointed out (via Bloomberg) the fact that certain large retailers have closed down their Facebook stores recently. With the social media giant cranking at new high volumes everyday, this move is thought provoking, to say the least. If it isn't driving revenue for J.C. Penney or Nordstrom, should the rest of us take note and pull resources away from it, as well?
Not exactly. For most of us, particularly in the small business community, Facebook remains a useful tool for communicating with the customer/audience. If a larger business expects to be able to replicate their own website and drive traffic through apps amidst the social distractions inherent within Facebook, that business is guilty of poor recognition of what Facebook is. Social media should not be mistaken for shopping media.
So what can you expect to do for business through Facebook? First of all, you can collect customer information that will help you understand your base. Next, you have a platform for communicating with this customer base in a way that humanizes your business, establishes a voice, and sets the tone for how you want customers to perceive your business. Finally, you have the ability to roll out products, announce sales, establish loyalty through giveaways, and generally market to a captive audience, all for an investment of the time it takes to type a message. It's a big business opportunity if played correctly, and (sooner or later) big business will recognize Facebook for what it is instead of what it isn't.