Since it first appeared on the internet in 2006, Facebook has grown exponentially and now counts more than 2bn people among its members. The social media platform is seen by many people as the only place on the internet worth using. However, times are changing, and Facebook’s core audience is changing with it.
So, how do you choose between the two? Well, first we need to make a list of pros and cons of each platform for a small business.
Pros and Cons
Ownership – If you have a website, you own your site and all decisions to be made on that site are to be made by you. You have complete control over what does and does not appear on the site and the site’s design. If you have a Facebook page, you have very little control, and that control can be taken away either purposefully or by accident. There are many cases of businesses being suspended on Facebook because of an administration mistake.
Reach – there are billions of people on Facebook, so it must be easier to get to them than through a website. Well, it’s been easier. Recently Facebook changed their feed, and this is making life a lot harder for small businesses. Colin Spurling at digital marketing company, Union Strategy Victoria, said that business are having to spend a lot more money in ads to make the same return in interest that they were getting only a few months ago. They are also having to work a lot harder within Facebook by connecting with other local businesses, creating Facebook groups, hosting events and being less ‘salesy’. So really, there isn’t much difference now between marketing on Facebook to marketing your own website.
Design – On Facebook you can change the header and your profile picture – and that’s about it when it comes to applying your brand. On your own website you can apply your brand in any way you like to make sure that your audience knows who you are and remembers you.
Staff Updates – Well, Facebook has the edge on this. Most people have a Facebook account, and most people know how to update their page with new posts, photos and videos. While your own custom site can be programmed to make it easy for you to update the data, you will need to be shown how to do this – at least in the early days.
Revenue – some websites use ads to create an income stream, and maybe that’s an option you would like to consider. Facebook puts ads on your Facebook page, but they get the revenue from those ads, not you.
Google Search – one of the major factors of whether or not to have a Facebook page or a website is whether or not you can be found on a Google Search. Type in a company’s name, and there’s every chance that company’s website will be on page one of Google Search results. It’s also probable that the company’s Facebook page will also be on page one. But most people don’t search like that. Type ‘Garden Maintenance’ into the Google Search bar, and garden maintenance websites of local businesses will populate the first page – Facebook will generally be missing in action.
The Best of All Worlds
So, there are good reasons for having a Facebook page, and good reasons for having a website. But why stop there? You could also have the best of both worlds and create a website that is also a social media hub. It can include a Facebook feed, Instagram feed and maybe even a Twitter feed. In this way, the posts that you add to Facebook can be added to your own website automatically, so keeping your website fresh.
An example of doing it right is West Coast BJJ, a website in a day project. The owner wanted a website to show static information and to provide basic branded details such as lesson times, location, etc. However, he didn’t want to have to update the website with the same details that he’s adding to his Facebook page. To remove the duplication of effort, a Facebook feed plugin was installed that took the information from Facebook and added it to his site automatically with his own branding.
You can’t get better than that.