A question we get asked from new business owners, cash strapped types and the functionally illiterate.
Principally the answer is Facebook is dedicated to Facebook’s ends and not Yours.
Your response is: Yes, that’s understood, but a billion people are on Facebook, so it’s a good place to start. Here, I have no issue – Facebook should be part of your marketing strategy, but as a signpost to your own site and not a substitute.
We are not saying “either, or” – we are saying both!
Control of Resources
Mine, all mine!
Your website is your contact point, driving traffic to you and your team, delivering key information to sales, operations and dispatch.
There are many tweaks and mods that a good SEO person can add – like google analytics, social plugins, data management, document downloads, link pages, e commerce, subscribers list, email marketing, customer contact portal…and that’s just off the top of my head, right now.
The basic point is that your website is customisable to your needs. You retain the information, style, content and context.
Your website is directly under your control and can be modified to display your content in the best manner for your audience.
Facebook is dedicated to selling a social media experience and through this make money from advertising. Customers arrive in Facebook through different channels – meaning people may actively search for your website, browse your brand or look for a specific product type before coming to Facebook.
Unless you are drawing traffic using Facebook ads. In my (humble) opinion, not as effective as google advertising for driving business traffic (Google drives traffic to your site, whereas Facebook ads are set up to drive traffic to your Facebook page – which troubles my sense of “scaminess” somewhat).
There is nothing stopping Facebook from selling you “chaff,” because you cannot directly control their algorithm and their targeted results.
Although some businesses are very well set for social selling, so Facebook Ads fall into the “suck em and see” category.
A famous dj friend of mine swears that his 5 euro Facebook ads consistently deliver him local customers. I will not argue that one, other than say that his more successful competition has monopolized page 1 google traffic, largely disregarding Facebook advertising, even thought they initially did use it too.
The key point here is the presumption that a Facebook page is a cheaper option – initially, yes it is! Your customers know this and recognize the implication in this fact.
“Too lazy, unprofessional or mean to shell out for a proper online business premises – won’t be around in a week”
The BIG BUT here is the major change in website costs over the last few years.
Most website builds now cost from 100 euros to whatever you’d like to pay (domain included). I built sites for business customers that cost less than 100 euros a year to run, (business domain, email management and security included) that look and function as well as major brands. See article here.
You don’t need to be a computer nerd to build and run these types of site. Webs, Weebly, Wix, Webnode, WordPress and many more give you the type of functional online business tools that Facebook “dangles, but never delivers.” (Cocktail 1988).
The professional argument always comes up in this context. Customers (meaning return visitors) trust a functional business website represents a real business, “an investment in credibility,” if you will.
Having looked at over 10,000 company websites as a business developer, team lead and moderator for Google, IBM, Papa Johns and a few other name brand players, I can safely say that the best sites offer the best user functionality (UX) regardless of price or wow factor.
In a previous job the CEO of a start up company wanted to send an email marketing campaign through Facebook messages to Facebook business pages. Our MD said that Facebook messages felt less “professional” in a business start up setting (than say B2B email or phone contact, for example). I though it was putting spam through the catflap.
Receiving spam through a different social channel doesn’t make you like it more. The first time you may have an initial taste, but from then on you smell it and bin the offending tripe. Remember G W: “Fool me once, …”
“Facebook is like a party (how many times have we heard that?) or a noisy pub with lots of people hanging out there.
It’s great, but when someone’s looking right at you in the pub it can be hard for them to hear you through the noise, let alone would they want you to sell to them.
Don’t forget even if they’re on your Facebook page, they still have all the other stuff on their Facebook screen.
Standard pages have four columns of information to distract them from your message or discovering what you can do for them.”
Fair Enough…at that stage I can’t convince you – enjoy Facebook!
But remember; Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, BeBee, forums, business directories, local search or referral may all drive the kind of business traffic and customer connections you want. The best place for them to find you is …you guessed, your own site.
“Facebook isn’t the right fit for every business; for some, it might be LinkedIn or Pinterest or maybe even old-school social sites like forums.”