“Why do I need a website when I can have a Facebook page?” Is a question that I hear a lot these days. It’s a good question. After all, social media is the phenomenon of our age. At the time of writing sixty million businesses had Facebook pages.
Facebook allows you to communicate with your customers on a regular basis (minute by minute if necessary). It has an audience of one billion plus users and is free, easy to set up and a great promotion tool.
At the heart of the question however, is a confusion or uncertainty about what a website really means for you and your business.
So let me be adamant: If you are serious about business you need a website.
- A website gives you complete control. Complete control of your site, control of your data and control of your content.
- With these things comes control of your brand and the unique identity and individuality of your business.
- A website gives you marketing flexibility. It has more space to market and the flexibility to utilise more marketing features like video, blogs, promotional offers, customers reviews and testimonials.
What Facebook lacks is all of the above.
The design potential is limited. You can customise your header and profile picture but the basic layout you can’t change. Facebook is an open forum where public comments including complaints can appear on your social page these will be seen by others and could damage your brand image. Facebook can also require a lot of time and energy to manage. The brand messages you post on a Facebook page will appear on the homepage of the user, often amongst hundreds of other messages. Even when you use Facebook advertising, it’s hard to get your customers undivided attention.You are not in complete control.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is more limited with Facebook. Reporting tools and features are more limited. Above all you lack ownership. The social media dictates the rules through its terms and conditions (have you even read them?). If you want to run a promotion you must follow these rules. And finally, don’t forget the provider can shut your page down – a catastrophe if this is your only online presence.
So use Facebook for what it is good for, as a promotion tool to connect with and titillate your customers. To help drive traffic to your site and create a buzz about your offer, product or service. Use Facebook to educate the public about your business; its values, purpose and mission. Build loyalty through the engagement that social media encourages.
But don’t confuse this excellent promotion, marketing and communication tool with what your own website offers.
When people Google to solve their problems or realise their dreams let them find the answers on your website. Be in 100% control of your online presence not at the mercy of someone else’s business. In short, if you are serious about business get serious about your own website!
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