The very fact that you have an interest in this article may suggest that you already have your company’s page on Facebook. Such a page has its advantages. However, you may have also realized that it is not very efficient when it comes to getting new customers; it is not capable of all the things a professional website can give you. Nowadays, 50% of the entries on Facebook come from the mobile channel, while 74% of mobile users use regular search engines to find information about your business via their mobile devices.
It was several years ago now that Google announced that we had passed the tipping point whereby the number of Mobile searches had taken over that of Desktop searches, stating…
You need to take a hard look at the numbers. Is your business growing thanks to this page? Are your actual outcome, sales and generated leads really based on this Facebook profile? Businesses who have tried to run their business page on Facebook, just like you, have discovered what they really need and why it is better to invest $20 a month for having a professional website.
There are 7 billion people in the world and about 2.4 billion use the Internet. 1.1 billion of these users are using Facebook monthly. The fact that Facebook is a huge social network, next to Google, is not the issue. Your friends and competitors have a Facebook profile. Some people even create an account for their favorite pets! But that does not mean everybody is logged into Facebook. After some simple mathematics, you can see that about 60% of the Internet users do not use this website.
So what about the large number of people who perform their research via mobile search engines? Even if they find you, they need to log in or register in order just to contact your business. Let’s say they do log in, anyone who uses Facebook would expect to visit your page to get the link to your website or find the latest news on your business. That is what they expect from a business page and the people who don’t use Facebook are not going to register just to get to your page. Why would they, when they are able to get to your competitor’s web page by clicking the link on their search where they do not have to log in to Facebook? They are more likely to do that, especially when they are just an occasional user.
On one hand, when you rely on a Facebook page as your main means of communication with potential customers, you alienate yourself from many potential customers and leads. A responsive (mobile) website, on the other hand, is a reliable tool which everybody can view and everybody is more likely to use.
Another misleading aspect of Facebook’s “business prospects” is the actual number of people that really see your posts when you have already gained a considerable group of fans. As a result of changes in the Facebook algorithm, most of your reach is on the decline. A study reported that organic reach has declined to 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in the past. In other words, if you don’t pay Facebook to boost your content through advertising, you can expect an average of six people to see your content for every 100 fans you have.
In order to get some people to Like your Facebook page, you need to promote it. So, remember, WHEN you get your website up and running, you can set up the Facebook social plugin on your site. You will see the gain will be rather small. The more you pay the more fans you will get – as simple as that.
But, as some people have already experienced by themselves, the successful growth of the audience and potential customers will not be that satisfying. Why? Because you will notice that only a small percent of all the people who liked your page actually see and read your posts. Now, Facebook provides another solution of “promoting” your posts, so that they will reach a wider audience but you must pay two times to get one action done. Instead of a customer database, Facebook provides you a stream of people in which you must, then, fish for actual customers. So if you are not boosting your content through advertising you can again expect an average of six people to see your content for every 100 fans you have.
Anyone with a website will rely on search engines to help potential customers find them. When you are relying on people finding your Facebook page, think about how they might search. Let us use an example. Starbucks has a Facebook page – that is certain – but now try to enter “Starbucks” in the search engine. Ok, now try “best coffee New York”. What you have probably noticed is that in the case of the second search there have been no Facebook-related results. So, if someone is looking for your business by the name they will easily find your Facebook page. However, you cannot expect that all the potential customers will type the exact name of your business. Think about how you search the web. Your search usually starts with broader terms or a question. “Best bistros in London” and then you may try several variations. How many times have you started your search with a specific business name? So the potential customers who do not know your company but search for certain type of products or service, type some broad definitions e.g. “best Thai restaurant London” or “plumber Chicago”. In most cases, your Facebook page will not turn up in the results. It is a real disadvantage if your goal is to find new customers and leads.
Even if they do manage to find your Facebook page with the search engine, it is still a small percent of the overall number of results. Your Facebook profile is only one page while having a website gives you several pages with dedicated keywords and content. You have the home page that performs the role of your landing page, but also your subpages serve as the source for search engine results i.e. the subpage on your products, the subpage with the contact information. This can increase the number of results that show up in a search. This gives you multiple ways for people to find and enter your site. When you rely on a Facebook page, the potential customers may not find you at all when they search for your type of business.
Nowadays, a business lacking a company website is perceived unbusinesslike. Let’s be honest, people will not refer to you as a professional company if you neglect the best online advertisement tool – your website. A secure online presence will definitely improve your Corporate Image. With a professional site, you have Branding, a way to set yourself apart from your competitors. You can make your website reflect who you are, what you want them to see and how you want them to see you. When people visit your site, they see what you want them to see. Your company is unique. Let your website show your individuality and your style. You are in control. With Facebook, you get a profile page and some galleries. Use Facebook to keep your customers up-to-date on events, sales, news on your website, not as a substitute for a website. Most important - you get your own domain - how professional is that?
You have no influence on the Policy of Facebook and the changes it undergoes. You cannot upload anything you want – not all types of pictures will be accepted by Facebook and not all of the image formats are available. Policies and technical requirements of Facebook are constantly being changed so you have to always be up to date and it costs you money as well. You do not get your own domain, you have no control over your design or identity.
Summing up then, having a Facebook business page is a good start, but you cannot rely on it as your main form of communication with the customers. Your goal is to attract more potential customers directly from the search engine. You need to be aware that most users and their local searches are becoming more and more significant. Use Facebook as ONE way to reach your customers and keep them informed. Think of your website as your connection to your potential customers. Reach out with your website and pull them in. Once they find your site, show them what you can do for them, then keep them informed both on your site and your Facebook page.
It all starts with a website.