You Can't Count on Facebook to be Your Company's Website
Facebook has been in the news a lot over the past year.
First, there were privacy issues, which led to a loss of trust for a lot of users. They’re currently under criminal investigation. And just yesterday, the whole platform was on the fritz. So, what if your business doesn’t have a website, and you’re relying on Facebook to serve that role?
Sure, Facebook is a free way to post pictures, make announcements, and grow a following. But, given all that’s been going on, should you count on it always being around and people continuing to use it? We all remember MySpace.
I am a firm believer in every small business having a website that they control.
You don’t have control over what happens to these various platforms, but you do have a say in what happens to your website and how it appears to the world.
If you’re still not sold on why you should have more than just Facebook, here are some things to consider:
If Facebook goes away for whatever reason, so do your followers. Where will they find you then? If you don’t have a website, they won’t know how to reach you. Especially if you’re an online business, they won’t be able to continue to make purchases.
Not everyone uses Facebook. It’s hard to imagine, I know. But, for example, I have a friend who is a pediatrician that doesn’t use Facebook because she doesn’t want parents friending her. Many teachers don’t use it for the same reasons. My husband isn’t on it because of the nature of his work. A lot of people avoid social media, and just plain don’t like it. You don’t want to alienate potential customers.
You have no say in SEO for Facebook. You’re highly unlikely to appear on the first page of Google if your business is only on Facebook. However, if you have a website of your own, you can take measures to improve your SEO and make it there.
You have little control over the appearance of your page. Your Facebook page looks just like everyone other businesses’ pages. When you’re one of several businesses similar to yours in your area, how does that help you stand out? I can currently point to at least 5 home bakers in my area that, based on their photos, do fantastic work. But, their all on Facebook with no website, similar reviews, so how do you choose?
The information you can provide is limited. Facebook is not meant to be an all-encompassing website that gives your potential customers all the details they need to make a decision to work with you. There’s no organized way to put pictures on a menu with prices, for example. People can’t place a custom order request through Facebook, or see your availability calendar.
And - since this is just my opinion, I’m leaving it off the list - it looks unprofessional.
There’s nothing wrong with having Facebook as a supplement to your website, using it as a marketing tool. But, if that’s all you’re using for your web presence, it makes your business look cheap, like you’re not really taking your business seriously.
Let’s consider those home bakers that I mentioned. If I was ordering a cake for my son’s birthday, and I saw some bakeries on Facebook, I’d also want to see their website. If they didn't have a website, my assumption would be that this “bakery” is more of a hobby, and I’d probably keep looking.
There is a lot of competition out there, and you need to stand out in any way you can.
If you’re putting the work into creating the best product possible, then you need to have a platform that shows off what you’re capable of. You want potential customers to feel confident that you can give them what they need, and be able to easily move forward in working with you.
So, what can a website offer that Facebook can’t?
The ability to attract potential customers using SEO - You can create a blog on your website that builds SEO using keywords and generates traffic. You can optimize your images and content so that they take advantage of keywords for SEO. Squarespace even has specific areas of the website that allows for descriptions that directly affect your SEO! All of this will help customers find your business.
Unlimited ways to organize and present information - Your website can have pages dedicated to specific parts of your business. If you want your about page to have your picture and tell the whole backstory of how your business came to be, you’re not limited to a certain number of words and format. You can create a compelling page using different fonts and colors, adding images throughout. You can be creative and tell the whole story of your business without restrictions.
Calls-to-action on every page - Facebook does have a “book now” or “contact” or “shop” button near the cover photo, but like everything else, it’s blue. You want to have a call-to-action on every page of your website that stands out and encourages potential customers to work with you. Your website gives you the ability to customize the look, and add additional text. For example, a bakery can have a blurb that says, “need a custom cake for your next party?” and a “book now” button in a contrasting color. The options are unlimited.
The ability to create a brand identity - Your whole site can be designed around your logo and color palette. It is important that customers are able to easily identify your brand, and the design of your website helps you create that identity. This will then spill over to your social media, from your cover photo on Facebook, to your pins on Pinterest. But, it all starts with, and ties back to, your website.
Create a following of people that really like your business - Think about how easy it is to click the “Like” button on Facebook. Then, think about how many pages your followers “like” and how much information they’re seeing from other businesses in their feed. Now, envision growing an email list of people who really want to read what you share. You’ll have an audience you can speak directly to about what’s going on in your business, including updates, sales, new products, you name it. This can only be done if you have a custom website.
I totally understand the desire to keep costs to a minimum when you’re running a business, but sometimes the benefits of making that additional investment outweigh the expense.
Really consider if you’re doing your business justice by sticking with nothing but a Facebook page. Is it time to show your customers you mean business and get a real website?
If you’re thinking the time is now, and you’d like a website that is both beautiful and easy to manage, contact me!
I’d love to talk with you about all the ways your business can benefit from a custom Squarespace website. Simply click on the link below, and book a time. We’ll chat soon :)