Facebook can be very appealing to small businesses as a website replacement and I often get asked, ‘Do I need a website when I already have a busy Facebook page?’.
I can see the appeal with Facebook as it’s easy to use, it’s free, interactive for you and your customer, you can see the stats on the surface and 67% of people in Ireland have a Facebook page (Source: Ipsos MRBI’s, Social Networking Tracker for October 2016).
However, by solely relying on Facebook you can be damaging your brand and affecting your chances at earning revenue for your company. You can become lost in the noise and miss out on the customers that really want to buy from you.
I’ve outlined four reasons your company needs to have a website below, maybe I’ll change your mind?
1) A Central Hub
If you are doing well and your posts are being seen you still have diluted content broken into little snippets, these snippets can simply become lost in time. For you customer to find out more or something specific about your company’s offerings, they need to scroll and scroll and scroll. Where as your website serves as a collection of all your information. It gathers together things like your contact details, location, what you do, services, products, staff members and your blog. It gives your customers an organised location to find out more about you and what you offer. Here they can answer some of the questions they may have, such as the dimensions of a product, do you have a delivery service or do you also sell extended warranty. It gives your company credibility and in turn, confidence in your brand.
2) Visibility On Search Engines
Something that you may not take into consideration either, is your visibility. If you’re on Facebook and the cards are in your favour, your brand name may be searchable on the likes of Google. For example lets say you’re a company that sells wellington boots and your company name is ‘Wellie Days’. If someone has heard about your brand and searched Google for ‘Wellie Days’, they might get a result on the first page on Google for your Facebook page. However, lets imagine that your customer is looking for ‘Navy Hunter Wellies in Ireland’ they are much more likely to end up on the websites of all your competitors and not find you as Search Engines do not index Facebook content the same way as it does websites.
3) Something to Share
Having a website with content and specifically a blog gives you content to share with your audience that is of value. Many brands make the mistake of thinking that followers want to see offers, sales and products. This is not the case, according to Social Sprout 57% of followers will unfollow a brand because it displays too many offers. Social media is social and while the customer is interested in what you have to offer, they are more interested in relevant information, they are interested in having a dialogue with you. So you need your website to have a blog where you share information that is of interest to your customers, if you’re a dry cleaners, give tips on removing stains and doing repairs, a mechanic might give tips on car cleaning, maintenance or NCT prep and a retailer of books might give reviews, best places to read and book shelving ideas.
4) Facebook only shows what they think a user wants to see.
Facebook uses a very complicated algorithm to predict what the user would find most relevant to them. They use indicators such as time spent viewing a post, subjects of interest and what they like or share. They also take into account if users are repeatedly liking or ignoring a brand’s posts, the less a user likes posts from a brand the less it shows in their news feed and it can even disappear altogether. All this coupled with snapshots of concerts, holiday photos, videos of kittens, gifs and other brands amazing content, means you are fighting to be seen on Facebook even with the people who want to see your posts. Yes, users can choose to add your page to a list of ones that they want to see in their newsfeed first, however what is the likelihood that they will pick you?
It is understandable that Facebook is free and easy however, you must have a website to back it up. You need to be seen on Search Engines by your potential customers – those who are looking for what you are offering. By relying on ‘Likes’, ‘Follows’, News Feeds and battling against Facebook’s complicated and increasingly revenue centred algorithm, you are at risk of losing out on customers simply because your not visible and searchable on the likes of Google and Bing.