If you are a small business and are being counseled by your web developer, your marketing or PR agency to ignore building a website and to put your initial web investment into building a Facebook page, you are getting the wrong advice.
Here are 5 solid reasons why you need your own website, owned and managed by your company:
1. Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter and all the rest are being stormed upon by marketers who use the draw of 500 million users as an excuse to convince their clients that there is potential for increasing brand awareness and pushing out content to these poor unsuspecting potential customers. What should be happening is that companies should be spending their time listening to the pitter patter on the sites and trying to understand what the customers want as opposed to trying to push more stuff out at them.
2. Let us agree that it is fairly simple to build a Facebook page, but remember that your website is the equivalent of the reception room in your company headquarters or the storefront of your retail business. Would you build a great billboard to bring clients to your uncompleted or your as yet not started storefront. Yes people will notice your Facebook page like they’ll notice the billboard and you’ll possibly get great online visibility. They’ll still want to visit your website to validate your existence and you’ll be non-existent.
3. Facebook does give you an opportunity to listen to your audience and understand what is driving them. Build your website first, then go on Facebook and learn to listen to what your potential customers are saying. This gives you another reason to further analyze and understand who your favorite customer is and you can then use this information not only to enhance your marketing message but in the process, you’ll also improve the look and feel of your existing website.
4. Facebook is cluttered with look-e-loos who are buying nothing. They are individuals who are simply socializing with their family members or peers. Don’t get carried away by the 500 million number of users. Quality and not quantity should be the driving force here. Of course you might get more traffic than you would on your web site, but how good is the traffic for generating immediate revenue.
5. To suggest that company websites will soon be inside Facebook is to suggest that you give the everyday operation of your business to someone you don’t know, you haven’t vetted and someone who has no accountability. How long do you think you’ll stay in business. Also, some of the biggest web companies have disappeared or faded into the woodwork. This can happen to Facebook. If Facebook craters or they decide to change their model, what will happen to your website. Don’t forget when Google changed their algorithm what happened to the page rank of thousands of websites and the negative impact it had on revenue generation for all those owners.
Build your website and make it the foundation or home base of your web thrust. Then use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of them as outposts to spread your reach outwards. A good read on this topic is Why Your Website is More Valuable Than Facebook