There seems to be a growing trend for small business and start-ups to choose a Facebook page over a website to promote their business and products. Whether this trend is being driven by economic factors or the belief that setting up a website is “too hard” is unclear, however if you were to base the decision on overall effectiveness alone, a website would be the clear winner.
And I am not just saying that because I am a web designer, who just so happens to make a living out of building websites. There are lots of good reasons why the answer is NO, a Facebook page cannot replace a website.
Here are some of the “biggies”:
You’re not building up any search engine ranking
People searching the web for your store or your products won’t easily find what they’re looking for on Facebook. You can’t apply search engine optimization techniques to a Facebook page. What most visitors are looking for from your website is your telephone number, your store hours, your address, or your product mix. Yes, you can put all that on the info tab of your Facebook page. But it’s not in an easy to find, easy to see format on every page. If visitors have to search, they’ll just go somewhere easier.
You have no control over Facebook
It’s a “free” service that they are providing for you to use at their pleasure and which could be changed, or even taken away, at any time. They are not required to give you any notice. You do not own your Facebook page. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Remember when Facebook did its overhaul to the new timeline and changed everything? Did you like all the changes? Was there anything you could do about it if you didn’t? You should not put your complete online business presence in the hands of something you have NO control over.
Not everyone is on Facebook. Interactions with a Facebook page can only be done by other Facebook users, so you could potentially be missing out on a large chunk of potential customers. Take a look at the chart below indicating the percentage usage of Facebook across the globe. There can be no doubt that Australians are enthusiastic Facebook users, however these figures indicate a potential 50% (at least) of the market you cannot reach via your Facebook page.
Branding (or lack thereof…)
You can customize your Facebook page as much as it will allow, but you’ll still be competing with Facebook’s logo and all that blue. On your own website you have complete control over customization: your colours, your style, your logo. Facebook does allow some customized pages and images, but overall the site still looks like Facebook.
Competitor’s ads – on your page!
Facebook places advertising in the right sidebar on pages. If your competition is advertising, it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that their ads will appear directly opposite your own content. You have absolutely no control over this.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Facebook and think it is an awesome tool for promoting your business. So why choose between the two: your website and Facebook page should complement each other and work together as a combined strategy for online marketing.
Need help with setting up your company website or Facebook page? Call me on 0408 721 441.