Why a Facebook Only Strategy is Doomed to Fail

strategicprinciples Facebook’s recent decision to shut down The Cool Hunter’s Facebook page should have sent shivers down the spine of every marketer. For years the vast scale of Facebook has attracted brands like a moth to the social media flame. Promising TVC-like reach with the added benefits of interactivity, community building and interest-graph targeting, it seemed that Facebook was the answer to the prayers of digital marketers the world over.

But a Facebook only strategy is doomed to fail:

  • Facebook is well-known for changing their terms and conditions without consultation. If you are not on top of those changes you can find yourself in breach and at risk of being shut down
  • Many brands run competitions on their Facebook pages without understanding the restrictive rules for doing so – see particularly Item E (iv) about the use of the Facebook “Like” button as a competition entry mechanism. Again, transgression could see your page shut down
  • Facebook is a walled garden designed to keep interaction and activity firmly on the inside. If you are going to the trouble of engaging your connected consumers, building your community and deepening the brand relationship, you run the risk of being “Cool Hunted” and losing that entire investment if you are shut down
  • Facebook, while large in scale, is only one social network. Digital marketers should be aiming for quality of engagement and deep next gen customer experience over “reach”

Three steps to reclaim your digital strategy

Facebook can still be a useful (and powerful) platform – but it should be part of your strategy to drive marketing and business outcomes. For example, it should not BE your strategy. There are three steps you can take to reclaim your digital strategy:

  • Use a continuous digital strategy. In a digital world, strategy is not “set and forget”. Following a proven approach to set, refine and extend your digital strategy provides deep resilience in the planning and execution of your strategy
  • Strategy drives decisions. You must have a clearly articulated and documented strategy. It should provide a guiding principle. “Share the Message, Own the Destination” will not only drive the content and conversational approach, but will also inform your technology choices
  • Use technology to scale. While social media offers one-to-one communications, this cannot scale in a business context. There are a range of technologies that can assist you to scale the execution of your strategy. This topic is the focus of my future research, be sure to subscribe for updates.


  1. So smart, Gavin! Thanks for simply explaining why businesses and people need to use more than one tactic to fit into their overall strategy.

  2. Lovely to hear from you Kristin! The joy of digital is that there is always something new to learn. Which is also the curse 😉

  3. This is such a good summary of – well – why you shouldn’t rely on ONLY Facebook. Reminds me a bit of the digital sharecropping article on Copyblogger – see http://www.copyblogger.com/digital-sharecropping/
    It’s something that we regularly try and explain to potential customers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having Facebook as PART of your overall strategy, but not as the only solution. The same is true for social media in general. It’s another channel that needs to be evaluated alongside all other possible routes to market (even though it’s obviously a massively revolutionary one in that it helps organizations of any size and pocket-depth to cost-effectively engage with real customers and become more transparent…).
    Great stuff!

  4. Hi Gavin – I just canceled my Facebook account, so I can’t participate in any of these contests or see half of the stuff companies or people post only on Facebook.

  5. There is also a possibility that you may fail of using Facebook but it depends on your strategy. Though Facebook is one of the most effective strategy that you can use to expand your business.

  6. good post

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