31st May 2015
Social media popularity has increased dramatically over the past 5 years, almost 1 billion more users than before and with Facebook providing a free platform for not only personal use, but business use too, you might ask yourself, why pay for a website?
At Blueocto, we are users of Facebook and happy to setup and guide new clients on using the platform. However I do see a lot of small business solely relying on Facebook for business or their companies’ online presence, which can have its downsides. Let me break it down into some examples.
A website is your digital shop front
I often use this metaphor in discussions, but if the first impression to a potential customer is that you are only on Facebook, and perhaps they are not, then that could be a lost sale or lead.
The limited ability to customise not only the design in-keeping with your brand, but also functionality, makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd. If you are a shop, you cannot sell products directly from Facebook and will still need a form of e-commerce setup.
Lack of ownership
Facebook owns your content and dictates competition rules, etc. if they wish to remove your Page, all your hard work would be removed in an instance. A lot of businesses found this when Facebook clamped down on personal Profile’s being used for business purposes, as per their Terms.
Poor SEO results
Here is a quick test! Type in your company name into Google (or your preferred search engine) does your Facebook Page appear?
Even for the likes of popular public figures, such as Kim Kardashian who sports 24m Likes, even her Facebook Page does not rank on the top page of Google, for her own name!
Also search-ability of your content. With a website, your articles, blog posts, events, photos, etc. all stay online, with their own dedicated URL, you can archive them yet still have them searchable.
The ability to search a Facebook Page does not exist, and even for those opting for a Group, search is limited to Desktop use only. Trying to find that post you saw weeks ago, when you don’t know the author’s name, is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Limited ability to share content
You would think this was one of the main goals of using Facebook and having a Page, that other’s would be able to share your posts – sharing photo’s used to be the best way to attract eyeballs, however, according to Socialbakers data, since Facebook changed their algorithm this is no longer the case. After a study of 4,445 brand pages and more than 670,000 posts, photo’s had the lowest organic reach, with an average of just three out of every 100 (3.7%) page fans seeing a photo post.
The frustration can continue if you wish to share your status updates in Group’s, or post as your business in a Group, because you cannot at this time. Meaning more time spent trying retrieve the URL to share, or copy+pasting content over and over again. This also applies to Events… where is the Share button Facebook? *frustration*
Beware the trolls
While social media can be a powerful marketing tool, it’s not entirely risk-free. Fans and followers are free to post their comments on these platforms, exposing your business to the possibility of negative publicity. A quick response can help minimise the damage from these comments, but it can’t erase the criticism from your business’s page or feed.
If you put yourself out there, the rewards can be great, but it is also likely you may experience a small degree of negativity from Facebook users. There are ways to protect against this in your privacy settings and it is likely to be a very rare occurrence.
Facebook are always modifying the appearance, functionality and algorithms with the hope that this will enhance the user experience. Unfortunately this can mean that, once you’ve just got your head around how to perform a particular task, it can change at a whim, disrupting your workflow. This can mean spending more time (or money) learning these new changes.
Used in the right way, and if you can dedicate the time, Facebook is a great social networking tool and can enhance your existing brand awareness and drive traffic to your website – along with the other social networks, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
Facebook is not for everyone, nor for every business. It can be great for connecting with like-minded business owners or enthusiasts. It is accessible on a lot of devices and a lot of hard work goes into the platform, but it is that, a platform, a tool, a social network, but a website can work so much harder for you!
If you would like to discuss the option of a website for your business, or even one-to-one training on a particular social media platform, you can get in touch on our contact page.