Creating a Facebook business page is free and provides you with access to a massive user base (at least on the face of it) but is that enough if you want your business to be taken seriously ?
The short answer is no – a Facebook business page is simply no substitute for having your own website for your business. It’s an extension, it’s another social media stream … that is all.
Use Facebook for what it is – don’t try to make it what it isn’t
Just because it’s free and almost everybody is on it does not mean you can get away without having a website. If you are serious about your business you simply must have your own website AND be proactive online. It is not an either or proposition. Facebook is simply not a free alternative to having your own domain and website – it is only an additional (almost free) channel for increasing business and traffic to your website … Let me explain why –
You will never own Facebook (or any other social media platform)
Everything you do on social media is on their platform – so everything you “build” on social media is potentially on quicksand and potentially without a foundation – so the aim is to benefit from channelling the brand recognition, traffic and customers to your own real estate … to your own website which you can control and develop how you want to.
Facebook like all forms of social media should be viewed as a path, a channel or a stream for broadcasting things that you have either already put onto your own website or as a way of funnelling traffic through a conversion process or towards parts of your own website.
Facebook is perfect as a small part of getting your messages out, your marketing, your branding because they have literally billions of users on their site. Using paid ads or gaining organic likes and shares you can tap into their asset, but ultimately they control who sees your message and that has become a narrow ever decreasing window if you don’t pay for ads and exposure.
A facebook business page is not a one stop solution to running your business online and should not be your only presence on the internet … you absolutely must still have your own website.
Remember Facebook is not really free at all
It’s easy to forget there really isn’t such a thing as a free lunch – social media sites including facebook are not really free at all … they provide their platform monetarily free to the users but the real value to facebook is the data gained from all the users and the revenue that can be generated from being able to bombard everyone with endless targeted ads – that is their business plan and you are just a number in their data to help target ads ever more effectively.
A business that depends purely on social media does not have true standing
Time & time again I’ve seen small businesses trying to start on the cheap with a free facebook business page / twitter / instagram / wordpress or blogspot account – ploughing time into posts and “their” page because it’s quick, easy and free – only to realise they have built a mirage on quicksand, what value they have created cannot be easily transferred. They realise they should have built their social media as an addition to the firm foundation of having their own website.
This is because they have fundamentally confused the purpose of social media – it is for outreach and brand building and not as a stand-in for your own website and branded domain.
Facebook is Facebook – Facebook is not the internet
While facebook has become a big part of the internet it is not the internet, it’s not google, it’s not search and it is not your domain. Getting a facebook business page might gain you some business (with decreasing visibility for unpaid for posts) but it will do very little to improve your visibility and ranking in search results generally … and that is why you need your own website.
You must own your brand and own your space
Facebook or Website – it’s not an either or question – you need BOTH
In conclusion, deciding between a Facebook business page (or social media in general) and a proper website is a flawed question – they are fundamentally different things.
You really need to utilise both your own website and all the key social media streams including a Facebook business page.
Most importantly make sure that you at least claim your business / brand name across the key social channels … Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tripadvisor etc
Even if you don’t do anything with them straight away – again it is part of protecting your brand and protecting your online presence either individually or as a company.
A website is a must have, it’s not a option for sometime down the road if things go well on facebook … your website should be the main focus of your efforts and the where you direct your social media towards.
If you ignore this advice and go for the “free” option – while you are sitting back with a facebook page for your business what if someone registers the domain name for your “brand” name ?
For the sake of saving £30 a year for a domain and hosting your whole business and brand is sunk … not having your brand domain and then building a website is a false economy.