More and more businesses are getting Facebook pages. This is a great trend. Facebook is designed for everyone and their gran to use, and so it’s quick to learn and generally pretty easy to learn.
But it’s not the whole web, and shouldn’t be. Facebook funds its vast infrastructure of servers and ever-developing programming by a highly sophisticated system of advertising. Facebook is making lots of money off showing adverts against your content.
And so, Facebook can do some things that your website may not be able to do so well. It’s beautifully networked and set up to allow interesting content to be shared, and if you want to upload photos direct from your camera, say, and have Facebook resize them and make them into web-ready versions, then the cost of running programs and computers to do that work barely makes a dent in their huge ad revenues – whereas the costs of doing that on a stand-alone website are not completely invisible: someone has to pay for the hosting service and if that’s not ads, it’s the website owner.
But if you want to find out about a business or organisation, a Facebook page is often not the easiest place to look. Profile information is limited in quantity and format. Posts on the wall are sorted in order of time, rather than in order of priority, and often assume you already know something about the poster. Messages may not be reliable. And of course, the page is part of the Facebook interface, so it’s busy and full of distractions and adverts and notifications.
Your own website has the unique advantage that there’s nothing on there apart from what you want to communicate to your visitors. Your choice, your message: no distractions, nothing to get between you and your customer. With the help of free tools such as Google Analytics, you can get a clearer vision of what content most interests your customers, and experiment with moving things around to get better results.
So do you need a Facebook page AND a website? Maybe you do. Facebook isn’t right for every business, and for some very small businesses, a website may be more than they need. But for most businesses, the two should be working together, rather than being viewed as a ‘one or the other’ option. Both will need time and effort to develop and both have loads of potential to benefit your organisation.