Can a Facebook Page replace a Website?

There’s no getting away from it.  Social Media, like Facebook, are a great way for interacting with your customers, and there are some major advantages to setting one up:

1.  Its free
Here’s a biggie!  A facebook page is completely free to set up.

2. Its User Friendly
You don’t need any crazy tech skills – just fill in a couple forms and your facebook page is ready to go.

3.  You probably already know how to manage it
If you already have a personal facebook account on the go, you’ll pick up how to manage your business page very easily, as the styling is all similar.

4.  Clever advertising opportunities
If you’re willing to spend a bit of cash, Facebook offer some very advanced targeting advertising opportunities – allowing you to specify your target market and get your ads in front of them (and only them)

Sounds great, right?  Facebook is a brilliant tool.  However, there’s a few key features that means no, a facebook page cannot completely replace a website:

1.  People who follow you on Facebook already know you
Okay, let’s say you want to set up a page, but you’re not ready to spend on any paid Facebook advertising to grow it.  Think about it – anyone who “likes” or follows your page, already knows about you.  This means they are likely already an existing customer.  Depending on your industry, it may be unlikely you will get repeat custom from these people.  Consider this; a Facebook page allows you to keep your existing customers engaged, a website allows you to capture new customers.

2.  Every Page Looks The Same
While a website can fully represent and promote your brand, a facebook profile can only be customised a small amount, and ultimately looks nearly identical to all other pages – including your competitors.

You also have no control over how information is displayed and structured – this means frequently asked information by your customers can be difficult to find.  With a website, you can make this information clear and consistent.

3.  It looks amateurish
Unfortunately, the fact that Facebook is fast and free to set up, also gives it a drawback.  It looks amateurish.  The general public knows facebook is a free platform and a lack of an attached website may give the impression there’s little been invested in your business.

4.  You don’t own it
As it’s a facebook page, facebook controls the content.  Break any of their rules (Even accidentally), and you could find your page edited, hidden or even removed all together.    A website on the other hand, is yours for good.

5.  Lack of Functionality (especially for selling online)
Facebook uses a very strict “one size fits all” approach, but unfortunately this size doesn’t fit all businesses. This is especially true for ecommerce.  Its extremely difficult to successfully sell from facebook without a website – in fact, the best way to sell online via facebook is currently to link your website to your facebook account!  

There’s no getting away from it, Facebook is a brilliant tool for interacting with your customers.  However, these are mainly people that already know you.  With a restricted ability to appear in search results on their own, and difficulty in ensuring relevant content is easy for customers to find, a Facebook page will struggle to generate new business for you without further investment.  Not to mention, you’re excluding people who don’t have an account, or aren’t active on facebook. 

Your website will help drum up new business and form a central point of information that is accessible to all – all while giving you a professional edge.  Your Facebook can then complement this, keeping customers engaged, boosting loyalty, and generating repeat custom where possible.  Websites and Facebook work in great harmony together, but one should not try and replace the other. 

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