Guest post by Liz DeLoach from Social Strategies.
If you spend any time on Facebook, doubtless you’ve noticed all the business pages that are springing up. I bet you’re already a fan of several. Restaurants, retail establishments, hotels and numerous others find Facebook a great way to “reach out and touch someone” (currently, over 400 million some ones!). Given its many functions which allow you to add pictures, events, applications, etc., have we reached a point where your business no longer needs a Website if you have a Facebook page?
I bring this up because I’ve heard both veteran and new small business owners say they think company websites aren’t as important as they once were due to Facebook, and even that they are becoming obsolete! My opinion on both of these observations is “no” and “heck no!” Websites are considered a necessity, and people expect your business to have one. Period. They’re designed to be a one-way, owner controlled presentation of vital, detailed info about your company that can have multiple sections and pages. Often included are a few forms of inbound communication, such as email link, file transfer protocol, and direct purchase ability. In essence, Websites are your online announcement of: Here’s who we are, what we do, and how to reach us.
Well, you might argue, isn’t that true of Facebook business pages, too? Yes, and there are elements common to both, such as branding considerations and the imparting of key information. The differences between the mediums, however, lie primarily in scope, tone and use. Facebook is all about relationship building through real time exchanges between you and others about your business – an ongoing conversation. Information updates are important to both, but a Facebook business page lends itself more readily to weekly, or better still, daily updates of current information. Websites are more comprehensive in nature, but not intended for ongoing two way communication. Regards tone, your website is your business’s formal attire, while Facebook fits nicely into the ‘business casual’ category. In today’s business climate, each presence has its own unique value in getting your message to its intended audience. Some ways that each can complement the other include referring your Facebook fans to your Website, and vice versa, through icon and text links. Also important are considerations of SEO for your website, and Google search rankings for both, making it easier for customers to find you in the first place.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, is a website’s key role in the ownership/control issue of your online business identity. If Facebook is your only presence on the web, then you don’t own your identity – Facebook does. Would you be comfortable with someone else governing your only form of identity online? Of course not.
Did I leave anything out? We’d love to hear your ideas on this topic, as well as how you use each of these mediums to market your business.
Until next time…
Liz DeLoach is President of Social Strategies, a marketing consulting business specializing in Social Media for business. She is also a wife, mom, Les Mills Fitness coach, and Boston Terrier enthuisiast. You can find her on Facebook (Social Strategies and Liz DeLoach) and Twitter, (@LizDeLoach, @SocialStrateg).