One of the largest sites in the world Facebook has exploded from becoming a site primarily used by College kids to a world wide phenomenon. In Canada, and what I see in Grande Prairie, is a trend for small businesses and start-ups to choose a Facebook page over a website to promote their services and products. Perhaps I'm stretching a bit but I would be willing to bet over 50% of new businesses in Grande Prairie alone use their Facebook page as the sole marketing presence.
Social media is an extremely important part of your marketing campaign, many don't understand that is is one of the smallest strategies and not typically an effective tool to brand or market your business when used alone.
As someone selling web design and SEO services I can understand why there will be skeptics in this article but at the end of the day the primary goal of Sixo Media is to help our clients explore the bigger picture. I enjoy business success but I equally enjoy helping other businesses reach levels of success they didn't know was possible. Integrating, utilizing, and exploring all the best online marketing options will help businesses reach their target market and while there are exceptions to the rule, rarely is Facebook the best and only option to hit those targets.
Facebook can be a powerful weapon in your marketing tool set for finding your target market. That market then could be used to drive potential customers to your website, a website that should be the hub of your brand. Here's why:
How Do They Find You?
I honestly can't remember the last time I opted to use Facebook search instead of Google to find a service or product. People use Google because it's the best at answering our questions and thousands of people locally use it every day. In most instances a Facebook page won't rank in competitive markets, especially if businesses have websites. Needless to say by just owning a Facebook page you're potentially missing out on hundreds to thousands of leads a month depending on your market.
It's hard to believe I know, but not everyone uses social media sites. Research has shown that anywhere from 30-45% of Canadians don't use Facebook. It's a great tool to interact with your customers but you could be eliminating more then half of a potential customer base by limiting your marketing to just a Facebook page. Over the course of the past few years Facebook and Google have continued to roll out major changes which has effected a big reduction in organic search (google results) for Facebook.
Kind of uncomfortable. On your website you wouldn't have a link to your competitor, yet your customers can view advertising from the competition while viewing your Facebook page. If you've never dove into Facebook advertising you should know that an advertiser can specifically target the kind of people they want thanks to their browsing history and profile. Do you really want to potentially funnel your customers directly to the competition? Of course not!
You Don't Own Your Facebook Page
You don't own it and because of that Facebook can do whatever they want to it. They can change the design, layout, and policies at any time which could impact your business and brand in a negative way. Sadly to say there's nothing you can do about it from happening. Even worse they could potentially remove your business or personal page at any given time without notice.
People Won't See Your Content
Imagine writing a great piece of content explaining the best restaurants in Grande Prairie and you post it on your Facebook page. Followers will see it...but most will miss it. As a Facebook user we're bombarded daily with photos of families, newborns, funny jokes etc. In a lot of circumstances you're great post on a local business or service will never see the light of day to your followers. General priority is based on the time of article rather then the quality meaning vacation updates will trump your beautiful article.
Customers Expect A Website
At the end of the day customers expect an established business to have a website, it's a sign of professionalism. Websites will help offer more customized content and help provide customers with a closer look at the company's brand and personality. Facebook isn't worthless and customers won't discredit an active Facebook page but there is little doubt a business website is seen as more credible.
You Need A Facebook Page, But You Need A Website More
Facebook has grown at an incredible pace over the years. Created for the sole discretion of college kids (I remember needing a college email to sign up) it has quickly become the front runner in social media.
Having an effective presence on Facebook is important because it can help your customers or fans end up on your website. However, with so many people not on Facebook (or leaving it altogether) for other social sites like Twitter and Tumblr it's important now more then ever to own a website.
Customers expect a website. It comes off professional and in the long run will help you retain greater control of your brand and content. The investment will be greater but in the return will as well.