Your Facebook Page is Not a Website Alternative
Facebook is a great platform for connecting with customers, fans, and even generating new leads. Every business should have a Facebook page. But, contrary to a very popular belief among small business owners, Facebook is not a website alternative. In today’s marketing tip, we are going to look at 4 reasons why your Facebook page is not a website alternative:
- It does not provide enough information to your customers
- You could be de-platformed
- You do not control the design or layout
- It does not provide a Marketing Hub
- Customers expect you to have a real website
Many small business owners are struggling to try and make Facebook work as if it were their very own business website. Many of us don’t even realize we are struggling or notice the opportunities we are missing until it is too late. The truth is, you need a website.
Reason #1: A Facebook page does not provide enough information to your customers.
Speaking from experience as a potential customer, trying to get information about a business off of a Facebook page is very frustrating. Why? Because Facebook is meant to be a place for conversations, making connections, and sharing ideas. It was not designed to be an information hub for customers. Your Facebook page is not a website alternative because customers want and need quick access to information about your business. If they cannot easily find your dinner menu, list of services, location, hours, phone number, or other info, they’re going to move on to a competitor that has all that info neatly organized in a mobile-friendly website.
Reason #2: Your Facebook page is not a website alternative because you could be de-platformed
Recent history has shown that Facebook is more than willing and able to de-platform people and businesses. While this may seem like a rare occurrence, the very fact that it does and can happen should be enough to make us think twice about putting all of our eggs in the Facebook basket. Your Facebook page is not a website alternative because you do not have full control over what happens to your content. Someone else gets to decide what you post, what stays posted, and even if you get to keep posting. If you were to get shut down you would lose all your content, followers, and the ability to connect with customers. It would be better to have most of these things happening off of a website that you control and then pushed out to Facebook.
Reason #3: You do not control the design or layout
One of the most effective ways of helping customers find the information they need is through effective design and layout. Don’t get me wrong: Facebook has a great design for its purposes. But it is not your design. Its layout is a one-size-fits-all platform. And again, it is designed for conversations, not information. Information quickly disappears down the feed as you add more content. As a business owner, you need the ability to build your own brand with your own unique and recognizable design. You also need a layout that puts the information customers want front and center. Facebook is a great tool, but it was created for connecting with customers and sharing updates. It is a great extension to your brand, but trying to make it your brand leaves customers confused, frustrated, and lacking the information they seek.
Reason #4: It was not created to be your Marketing Hub.
Your Facebook page is not a website alternative because it was not created to serve that purpose. A marketing hub, aka your website, is a place where you can drive traffic in order to share your story, provide information, build a list of followers, and reinforce your brand. Only a properly designed website can be used to create a deal-closing user experience for your customers.
Your website (marketing hub) is also a great way to build your own list for more direct communication like email. Your customers need a way to find you and interact with your brand outside of social media. You need this too. The power of building your own list is still the most effective way to grow your business and encourage repeat business. Getting likes and fans on social media does not ensure that people will see your content. In fact, it is very likely that they will not. Your website and your own list help fill in this communication gap.
Reason #5: Your Facebook page is not a website alternative because customers expect you to have a real website
Ultimately, your Facebook page is not a website alternative because your customers expect you to have a website. Today, websites are a foundation for any business. Customers need you to have a website for easy information gathering. More importantly, they see it as proof that you are open and ready for business. It is a baseline they use as consideration for doing business with you. Your website shows customers that you take your business seriously and thus that you will take them seriously.
This becomes even more important when you consider the fact that mobile search is now the predominant way that people seek out businesses. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website you have zero chance of being found on a mobile search. Even if your Facebook page shows up, it is hard to use on a mobile browser. Facebook wants you to use their app and more and more people don’t use the app because of privacy concerns. Without a website, even those that want to do business with you may very likely turn away out of frustration or merely because they could not find you or the information they were looking for.
This marketing tip is not meant to be a criticism of Facebook or to discourage you from using it. It is a great tool when utilized with a proper website. The problems arise when we try to use the tool incorrectly. Facebook was never designed to be an alternative to having a website. If you want to grow your sales and attract customers you did not even know you were missing, you have to have a website to compete in today’s world.