There is an alarming trend among small businesses to substitute Facebook pages for a quality business website. There is no doubt, that Facebook can be an important tool in your advertising mix, but, it shouldn't be the only one. Here's why.
Google Places doesn't recognize it
Those first few listings under the ads are usually Google Places. Wherever possible Google will link the listing with your web site. It doesn't even try with Facebook.
You don't own the content of anything you place on Facebook.
When you (digitally) signed on the dotted line to accept an account, you agreed that EVERYTHING you placed online would belong to Facebook. They have the right to change, edit, alter, adapt, modify, delete and or discontinue services at their pleasure. Should they be accused of violating someone's copyright (think software code), cooking the books, or making poor investments, (that never happens in America, right?) who knows what can happen to the investment in time, energy, etc. that you have made in it. Anyone remember Lycos?
Facebook only attracts approximately 40%-ish of users.
There are about 7 billion people in the world, and about 2.4 billion Internet users. Facebook reports attracting about 1.1 billion monthly users. That means that potentially 60% of your market doesn't use Facebook.
Facebook pages receive inferior search engine ranking.
Try for yourself. Verizon has a Facebook page. Try searching for Verizon and see where/when/if the Facebook page shows in the listings. Try searching 'cell phone providers.' Any luck finding ANY Facebook pages before you run out of steam? To clarify, if someone is searching for your business name, and you don't have a web site, they doubtless will find your Facebook page, but, don't you want people looking for your type of service (not knowing your name) to find you?
Users finding your Facebook page may well not want to join Facebook or log in, just to see your page.
Any hurdle or extra step you ask users to make blunts your effectiveness. How effective do you think regular web sites would be if users had to sign up or log in, just to view it. Users can be on your competitor's web site in less time than it takes them to log in to see your FB page, particularly if they are only an occasional user. And there are some people it just plain annoys. Have you ever heard anyone complain that 'so and so' has a web site?
Because Facebook is 'casual' it can be hard to establish a polished or professional appearance there.
Some businesses thrive in casual atmospheres, but many need to project a certain level of professionalism. Would it make you queezy if your surgeon only had a Facebook page. How about the US Army or ABC News? There are some clients, rightly or wrongly, that will judge your business by how professional your web site is. Do you care to risk losing those sales?
Facebook can make it hard to keep control of your message.
Because it's so easy for people to 'say their mind' on Facebook, it can be hard to limit negative comments. Everyone has bad days or impossible customers. Not everyone will appreciate your humor, the style of fashions you offer, your restaurant's menu, your pricing, your location, the nearby parking, your staff, your shipping policies, your hours of operation or your product line-up, etc., etc. It's very difficult to control your message on Facebook.
Facebook's growth is slowing.
In users, revenue, almost everything (except mobile ad revenue) it appears to be moderating. Facebook is not a necessity. People tend to use it heavily at first, then life goes on.
Having your own web site furthers your brand, not Facebook's.
Every time you mention their name you are helping them to build their brand. Is that really what you want to invest your time and energy doing?
I am not
advocating you avoid a Facebook presence. I am strongly
recommending that you give your first priority to a tradtional business web page, then determine what to do with Facebook later.
About the Author
George C. Jobel does business coaching, web development and SEO consulting and has been helping clients develop successful online & multimedia marketing since 1995. The author of numerous articles, George taught web development and marketing classes for over a dozen years. You can reach him at his
web site, or 603.491.4340.