We come across a lot of small businesses that rely on Facebook to spread their message. Many have no website at all, and many that do neglect it for the sake of social media.
Facebook (and here we’re using the term to mean social media in general) is a wonderful tool for all the reasons we’re familiar with: keeping in touch, broadcasting business news and views, developing an Internet presence quickly at no cost and with little effort. But doing business still calls for a website, for a number of reasons.
Your Website: a Place to Call Home
Your website is your brand’s home base and the source of your vision and your values. It’s unique and made to look the way you want it. It’s the place to share evergreen information, elaborate on your services, talk about yourself in a manner that builds credibility, and express your opinions in a measured way. On Facebook there’s too much going on and too many distractions for in-depth reputation-building. And you’re using the same design and colours as everyone else! Use social media for what it’s worth: to spread your news, create excitement, and encourage interest. Use your website, where you control the messaging, to assert your point of difference.
A database built on website enquiry or sign-up is much more valuable than a bunch of ‘likes’. Your website is the hub around which you build your on-line presence. Use Facebook as a conduit to your site, where you can capture email addresses and in turn make the direct approach, or communicate using email newsletters. You can start the process of building a database using Facebook, but you can’t stop there and expect results.
Getting Serious about Being Heard
What about the new entrant to your market who’s not heard of you, making a general internet search for your services? Do you want to chat with your in-group on Facebook, or would you like to expand your market? If the latter, a good website optimised for searching online is where you’ll make the biggest impression. It’s a big ask: there are over 2 trillion Google searches every day. A well-constructed website at least gives you a place in your specialised field.
If you rely on Facebook alone for your on-line marketing, you’re up against fierce competition to be heard. Use Facebook for what it’s good at: providing a platform that draws attention then redirects it to your website, where you can analyse your readers’ motives and behaviour, apply your strategies and tactics, and do the deal.
In short, enjoy and respect Facebook for what it is. Just make sure there’s a well-designed and written website in your on-line armoury. It’s a key component of your business, whatever you do.