14 Jul 2010
"Don't Give Up Your Web Site!"
by: Tackett Internet Marketing, LLC
You've heard by now that your business should have a Facebook Business Page because it's a tremendous marketing tool, posesses incredible viral marketing capabilities, and offers great features to help you grow your businss. With all the great advantages they offer it's only natural that I'm asked this question often by small business owners... "Can't I just have a Facebook Business Page and not a web site, don't they do the same things?" The answer to this is no. Facebook Pages are very beneficial and they're free but they have their limitations. Here are 10 reasons why your Facebook Page should not replace your company's web site:
1. You Own Your Web Site: Unlike your web site Facebook owns your Page and everything on it. Further it reserves the right to cancel your account or delete your Page at any time thus causing you to lose all your content and your entire list of Fans as well (aka those who "Like" your Page.)
2. Your Web Site's Mailing List Offers Anonymity To Subscribers: Your web site offers 99% anonymity to those who subscribe to your mailing list or blog, whereas if someone wants to receive information from your FB business Page it is world-wide public information that they have done so. FB Pages people belong to are considered public information by default, even to those who do not have a Facebook account. You could lose potential customers and referrals if you are in a privacy-matters, topic-sensitive industry, or even employment assistance.
Update: As of Oct. 2011 Facebook has now removed the option for Page Owners to "Update Fans" ie... send a private message, so your email list is still as important than ever.
3. A Professional Web Site Gives You Greater Credibility: Having a professional web site lets your customers know you are a serious business and are serious about your business. A business with a web site appears more stable to customers because anyone can create a new Facebook Page in a few minutes.
But, a serious business who plans to be around for a while, has confidence in their products and services and has full dedication to their customers, will take the time, effort, and money to plan, establish, implement, and manage a web site. A consumer may feel that if a business won't make the effort to build a site that the business won't be there tomorrow - this does not build trust.
4. Facebook Is A Limited Market: Even at 500+ million users, not everyone is or wants to be on Facebook, or may not login regularly. Limiting yourself to this medium of outreach will greatly reduce your ability to reach the largest possible numbers of your target audience.
Update: As of Oct. 2011 Facebook has made it more difficult for Fans to view a Page's posts, thus resulting in even fewer Fans receiving news and notices from your business via this medium.
5. Your Web Site Name & URL Address Can Change: Your professional identity on Facebook cannot grow and change with you as it can with your web site. ie... If you choose to change your business name, switch to a new company, city, or new professional affiliation, you are not able to change the name or the URL of your Facebook Page. You really have to think ahead - years ahead.
Update: Facebook now allows a Page to change the name, but not the URL, if it has less than 100 Fans.
6. Your Branding Is Stronger On Your Web Site: Facebook is great and you can go far with establishing your branding on custom pages, the sidebar banner, and the photo strip. However, on your Wall & other areas you can't change the fonts, colors, or layouts, and you can only personalize your FB Page to a certain extent - it still looks like a Facebook Page.
7. Analytics: You have the ability to obtain far greater analytics information from your web site.
8. Your Web Site Has Flexible Features & Better Security: Your web site gives you far more flexibility in the features you use and the ability to market and sell your products and services. There are apps available to sell on Facebook and they are good ones, but in the eyes of your customers some may feel that your site is a more secure place to purchase. It's important to have a web site where you sell your products/services.
9. Facebook's Services Can Be Unstable: Facebook is a free service, which is great but they are not in the professional web site business and sometimes it can be a little unstable in its services. i.e.... Videos sometimes do not play properly, links or photos may not upload when you are posting, etc... If this is your company's main online identity it will not only affect your professional image but will cost you time when you have to keep going back to repeat an action to cause it to work properly. Unfortunately you have no control over rectifying these issues as you do with your own web site, and if it's the only outreach you have for your customers you are forced to continue to keep trying to upload that video or photo.
10. Customer Service & Technical Support: Facebook offers almost zero customer service with any issue you may be having, and their Help files are sometimes out-of-date or lacking. However, a good relationship with a company that specializes in web sites, such as web site designer or a web site building business will ensure that there is someone there to assist you, even if it's just your email inquiry.
Facebook Business Pages offer fantastic marketing opportunities and I encourage businesses to utilize this medium to gain new clients and leads, heighten brand awareness, strengthen professional and customer relationships and much more. However, a business should recognize Facebook's limitations and wisely use all social media to compliment their web site and not replace it.
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