Many small business owners who are looking for a cost-effective or low cost web presence get themselves a Facebook page in the belief that this can easily replace their traditional website. After all, it’s free to start your own Facebook page for your small business and if you get all that traffic for free, why not sign in relief and ditch the cost to get a website?
And indeed, there are so many friends and fans who come across your Facebook page and click the “like” button. Experts, though, warn of keeping all eggs in one basket.
Advantages for small business marketing in having your own website are:
- The Search engine optimization for your website is yours. True that Facebook pages get a lot of attention, yet you are dependent on Facebook and its ever changing financial targets. Is it totally free to have a Facebook page? Not quite as you may have discovered. The organic traffic, meaning the traffic that comes to your page by all the people who liked it, dwindles. Facebook doesn’t let all the “likers” through to your page anymore in order to drum up some money itself via the Facebook ads! So you get more traffic to your Facebook page with the “help” of Facebook advertisements. And of course, this costs.
- The content on your website is yours if you choose to have your own website that is, for example, built in WordPress. If all of your content is held on your Facebook page, Facebook is the owner of your content.
- People go to your Facebook page and all they see is a big mess of photos and information. Many businesses do need some sort of portal or home base where all information about your business is held in an order that makes sense and that everybody who visits your website understands. When you go to a Facebook page you see all sorts of photos, videos, comments, but you don’t know exactly what photo belongs to what, how things belong together, and then the messaging is going to start: where is your service page, what exactly do you do, where are you located? Of course, Facebook has some limited areas for contact details as well and includes a map, but when designing a website you make a plan and you make information available in a coherent way. You build up momentum.
- If you have more than one focus or business aspect, e.g. different services, the run around starts. How do you want to make the information available? E.g. if you have a marketing funnel set up, how do you make sure the potential client is at the right starting point? Which part do they see first? This is important as a funnel pulls the visitor to your page or website in an order. If you change the order, the whole funnel falls short.
- The same applies to the use of leadpages, landing pages, opt-in pages and the like: all these tools are meant funnel people into your business at the right end and time and to make a purchase. A lot of the times, the only way to get people into those sales process is by advertising on Facebook to lure them into business owners websites.
- When Facebook changes its cover photo and profile photo measurements, every business is in panic as to what to do, how quickly to update the current status quo and how much of a learning curve it will be once again. Adjustment can be timely. Once you have adjusted your graphics and tactics, you will get surprised again – and usually overnight. Sometimes Facebook gives you a few more words on the cover photo, sometimes it doesn’t. You can’t ever be sure what will happen the next day. To keep control, your own small business website is important.
- If you finally get a potential purchaser onto your Facebook page, you find that the distraction is big, especially with Facebook ads. The sponsored posts are in people’s news feed in-between all the other news items. Facebook ads are on the right side, always only one click away. This easily causes confusion in a buyer’s mind and will lead interested parties astray. They go elsewhere or do not make a decision at all.
- When you search for a certain service or product you often stumble over abandoned Facebook pages. Last entry was sometime in 2013. The more of those you encounter the more frustrated the interested party gets. Websites come at a price, but the prospect at least knows that the website owner has paid the hosting fees to stay online, which indicates the website is not totally abandoned, just like a Facebook page.
- The higher the amount or investment for your services, the harder it is to convince a potential buyer. A well put together website offers credibility, information in a coherent way and also shows the prospect that a small business owner has made an effort to get their attention.
The way to use Facebook pages is as an addition, not a replacement to your website.
- If you have a one time offer or event that doesn’t need all the background information it makes sense to create a Facebook page.
- If the community building helps you to offer your services or products.
- Use it as a News tool, such as a new product introduction.
- The Facebook page can be as part of a offering social proof.