A phenomenon I want to address today is the idea of businesses that don’t create or get a website and instead just use a Facebook page. (I see this a lot with restaurants, but other businesses as well.) A Facebook page is not the same as having a website. Sometimes they even buy a domain name for their business and redirect it to their Facebook page. But this is a mistake, so let me explain why.
First, why might someone use Facebook as their business website?
Because it’s easy and free.
People already understand and use Facebook, so creating a Facebook page is easy to manage, they are already familiar with the tools, and they can easily write updates. It doesn’t require additional software to learn. Lots of people are already logged into Facebook a lot of the time, or else they can grab their phone and make posts and changes on the fly without learning a new skill or software.
The other reason is because it’s free and getting a website is not in most cases. At the very least you will need a domain name, if not web hosting and someone to build that website for you.
You don’t have a Facebook page.
Facebook has a page with your name on it.
There’s a difference.
Ten reasons why using Facebook as your business website is a bad idea
- You don’t own it. Facebook owns it. And they can change it however they want whenever they want. They can remove it if they want. They can make it hard to see in search results. You don’t control it, you just manage it.
- You eliminate non-Facebook users. It’s hard to imagine, but not everyone uses Facebook. (And there are for sure days I want to quit it.) Facebook has over two billion users, but there are still people who don’t use it, particularly in younger and older demographics.
- You will have to pay for ads for your posts to get seen. Facebook is in the business of making money. We call this the Fremium model. It seems free… but in order to get seen, you have to pay. Say you add a post to your page. Only a fraction of the people who follow you will actually see that. This is by design, because Facebook wants you to pay for that traffic.
- Your SEO options are limited at best. I talk to folks about SEO all the time. I’ve done a few webinars on SEO. And the truth is, you can optimize your Facebook page to an extent, but you aren’t going to be able to target specific keywords. If you are a dentist and someone in your town is searching for “dentures” your Facebook page isn’t going to make the list. And even if your page makes it into the search results, you are only going to get ONE listing. If you have a website with ten pages, that’s ten opportunities to be found in the search results.
- Functionality is limited. When your website is only a Facebook page, there are limited options for functionality. You can use Facebook Messenger to chat with your patrons. Or post updates. Or they can click on your phone number. But that’s pretty much it.
- There’s no sales funnel. On a website, we create a strategy to drive your customers into action using content and calls-to-action. Unless you are running ads on Facebook, which again will only be seen by Facebook users, you have no sales funnel.
- There’s no place to put content. Yes, you can write an about us section, and you can add status updates and upload photos, but you can’t really write in-depth content that’s going to draw in your users and get found in the search engines.
- You can’t brand the page. It’s always going to look like Facebook. You can add a cover image and upload a profile image, but that’s it for branding.
- The archival options are limited to say the least. With a website, you can make pages and posts, saved them, organize, and make them searchable. A Facebook page has limited options for saving your content and NO options for exporting your content. If you want to find photos or posts a year or more later, it’s really hard for you to find, let alone your customers.
- Analytics are lacking. When you have a website, you can install analytics trackers so you know who is visiting your page and where they are coming from. The analytics options in Facebook are limited and don’t give enough data to optimize for better outcomes.
A Facebook business page should complement your website, not BE your website.
What do I mean by that? Well, a lot of people use Facebook. And they may pull up your business page to grab your address, look at your hours, see your menu or click through to your website. They will use that as a starting point.
However, it is unlikely that your Facebook page is a place where people will start their business journey with you. They will look for you online, research your website, and then possibly follow you on Facebook if they’ve had successful transactions with you, if they want to see your updates and photos, or if they like what you do.
Let me give you an example. I work with a number of pool companies and contractors. For businesses have a longer sales funnel, usually because they are more expensive to purchase (like getting a new pool or a new house or a remodel) it takes a lot of “touches” before a sale is made. A potential client is going to look for you online. Then they may go to your Facebook page for more information. Your Facebook page is a great place to post status updates on other projects or builds, showing finished photos of homes or pools, etc.
But notice that those customers rarely *start* at Facebook unless someone else commented, liked, or shared your post.
In the reverse scenario, someone may have already been interested in what you offer and then someone they knew liked, shared, or commented on your Facebook page and that interaction showed up on their feed. Then they click through to see the post. From there, they would likely click through to your website to find out more.
In all of these situations, whether they start at Facebook or end at Facebook, Facebook is not the sales funnel, it’s just a step along the way. What you post on Facebook complements the content and photos you have on your professional website.
What this also means, though, is that if you do have a Facebook business page, you need to post to it regularly. My last example had someone coming to your page because they saw an interaction from one of their friends. To get that interaction, you have to post. Share photos, status updates, and ask questions that people can answer in order to get that engagement. With no engagement, your Facebook page won’t grow and you won’t get additional views or followers.
A few tips for more engagement on your business Facebook page
- Post things that are interesting. Interesting photos, thoughts, status updates.
- Keep your posts short. People don’t come to Facebook to read novellas.
- Ask questions. Ask people what they like, what they want, about new trends, or their favorite things. People love to talk about themselves. Give them opportunities to do that.
- Respond to your engagements. If someone comments or asks a question, respond to it. Every time.
- Join a trending topic. What are people talking about right now? Do you have a take on it?
- Give stuff away. People love free stuff.
A Facebook page is an extension of your brand, not your business website. A website is an investment in your business and will pay off.
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