“Why would my company need a website when I can just use my Facebook page?” This, surprisingly is a commonly asked question when I meet business owners. As the conversation with business owners who think this way progresses, I’ll start to hear other related points, such as the following:
- It is easier to manage my Facebook page than a website.
- I know nothing about web design, but I know how to use Facebook.
- I don’t need to deal with another party for my Facebook page.
- Facebook is free!
Sure, sure. These points may indeed be true, but that does not mean it is the right strategy to have only a Facebook page!
Think about it: When you receive a business card (personal or corporate), do you look for a website address or do you look for a Facebook link? When speaking to business associates, does your website or Facebook page sound like a professional point of contact?
Below, I have listed and explained the differences in administration and use cases for a corporate website and a Facebook page.
Design – Look & Feel
One of the biggest things that people talk about is the aesthetics of your point of contact with your online customers. Is it pleasing to the eye? Is it attractive enough for your visitors to keep reading? Is it interactive enough for your visitors to engage with you? These points all boil down to user Interface / user experience, better known as UI / UX.
The difference between a website and a Facebook page here is the control of said UI / UX. When building and maintaining your website, you have full control over the colours, the fonts, the size of elements, and the layout.
The same cannot be said for your Facebook page. Sure, you can add your logo and a pretty cover photo to your Facebook page, but that’s about it. Your Facebook page will still look like almost every other Facebook page there is, and worse, you’re completely at the mercy of Facebook updates. This means that when Facebook decides to change the way pages look, which they have and will, the look of your page will change as well.
The ease of updating information online is probably one of the biggest driving factors to why many business owners prefer to just use Facebook. Facebook definitely has a leg up on corporate websites in this aspect, as almost everyone knows how to post on Facebook.
As for a website, staff needs to be savvy in programming, or trained to use a CMS if there is one installed.
‘Push’ & ‘Pull’ Effect
Facebook makes use of the push effect by publishing your posts to your followers’ newsfeeds. With a high number of followers and with the aid of paid Facebook ads, it has the ability to reach thousands of pairs of eyes as soon as your post is published. This is further ‘pushed’ when Facebook users share and repost your content.
Your website makes use of the pull effect, where considerable effort has to be expanded to get users to come onto your site. Some may argue that your website can use RSS feeds to push content as well, but that also means that you are expecting your users to have a RSS reader to receive your content – let’s face it, that’s not the most likely.
Both mediums face some form of noise at different stages. On Facebook, there is way too much information noise on every user’s newsfeed. This means that your Facebook post, when competing for attention against posts by the user’s friends and family, and other Facebook pages, may get lost in the sea of posts easily.
On the other hand, there are similar challenges in getting your web address to users to entice them to visit your website. There is competition for attention and digital real estate on social media platforms, search engines, and every other form of marketing.
Consistency in Image and Branding
Honest VS Controlled
Moderation of content dictates how transparent your content is. As the vast majority of content on your website is created and updated by you and your staff, your website reflects very little on public sentiments or user reaction to your content.
However, due to the nature of Facebook being a social media, people get access to several details about your content. The number of likes and shares of a post, the type of reaction to a post, the comments on a post, and reviews on your product / service are just some of the details that are shown. Even though you have some level of moderation ability on user reaction, it is still a more honest side of your identity.
Still having that headache deciding between a website and a Facebook page? Let me make it clear to you. Stop choosing, because you need both!
A successful strategy is generally a good mixture of the push-pull strategy. Make use of your Facebook page to push light-hearted content to engage with your followers, while your website provides the no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point information that users are looking for. For example, a cafe may make use of its Facebook page to promote a new dish being added to the menu. With pretty photos of the dish, users may get interested and may want to find out more about the cafe’s ambience, location, and the full menu. That’s when the website is able to provide these information, together with its branding message.
When users Google your company, both your website and your Facebook page are likely to appear at the top of the search results. Guess what, it’s likely that the users will visit both.
Lastly, your website and Facebook page should work hand in hand and direct traffic both ways. Your Facebook page can direct traffic to targeted pages of your site, and your website can direct traffic to your Facebook page to generate more followers and hopefully more interaction with your customers.