Many micro and small business owners would happily sacrifice the effort and cost of building their own website and rather rely on what has become the largest social media network can give them for free.
Facebook recently announced there it has over 40 million small business pages. Creating a Facebook page for your business is free and provides you with access to a massive audience.
So, it’s reasonable to assume then, that many small business owners would waive the effort and associated costs of building their own bespoke website and simply rely on this free service. But is a Facebook page good enough to promote your business online?
A Facebook business page has quite a few limitations.
It can be an excellent way to engage with your audience. If you can get someone to “like” your page, that’s great. You’ve clearly shown enough value to your customers that they want to hear more about what’s going on within your business.
However, if someone begins to grow tired of seeing your posts and updates, and stops visiting your page to learn about your most recent activity, Facebook will begin to take your posts out of your customer’s News Feed. Once that happens, you need to start paying to promote your posts back to the people who previously liked you, or begin advertising (get your wallet out) to engage new visitors.
Another limitation of a Facebook business page is the lack of brand control. Yes, you can put your background photo on it, and you can have your logo as the profile picture. But it’s still a Facebook page and will never give the complete brand experience that a dedicated website can.
Facebook can change their service offering to you whenever they want; after all it’s free so as you’ve not paid for this service why can’t they. They can change your page layout if they choose to.
They could decide to stop the service altogether or turn it into a paid service. You have a certain amount of control over how the page looks, but you can’t control everything. Facebook are always changing the page management system and associated display system, how they promote you and that takes control away from you. Remember, this is your business online and you are depending on something that you cannot fully control. That just doesn’t make good business sense.
Also, valuable information isn’t always readily available right when a user lands on the business page. Your address may be there, along with your phone number, but that isn’t necessarily enough. Many of your potential customers want to learn a little more about your business, what services you offer and exactly what your business is about.
Facebook presents your content as one long scrolling timeline. It was designed as a timeline and whilst you can add a few tabs down the left-hand side to show photos, videos and a few links, it lacks the structure needed to truly showcase your different business offerings. Have you ever scrolled down more than a few screens of a Facebook business page; No, neither has anyone else, so they won’t be doing it on your Facebook business page either.
A Dedicated Business Website
In comparison, a bespoke and dedicated business website enables you to completely control your brand, online business, content and corporate message. It acts as the main online focus for your business where customers can go and find all of the information they are looking for.
A dedicated website also helps to promote you within search engines. Whilst a Facebook page can be found via a search engine, it doesn’t provide the same comprehensive control as a dedicated website. A website enables you to tailor your content to the exact kind of phrases and keywords your potential customers are searching for, compare this to a Facebook page which is rather limited in this aspect. Showing up as highly as possible in online searches is a critical component of any business’ customer acquisition strategy.
In short, should you have a Facebook page for your business? Yes, absolutely. It’s free and helps with your brand exposure. Is it enough on its own though? Sadly not. To create the best digital presence required for your business and to succeed in today’s competitive world, a dedicated website isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s an absolute necessity.