Facebook and a website are two completely different entities. They both provide value to a company, but each has a different role. Together, they support what the other is doing, but separately, the website has the most value and we’ll explain why in a moment. Facebook is not a substitute for a website, and a website does not operate in the same way as Facebook.
Our team here at Sweet Tea Communications specializes in self-hosted, WordPress websites. One reason we love producing these types of sites is because it allows our clients to own their content. Self-hosted websites give business owners the power to include whatever content and pictures they need to showcase their business, without the constraints of a required layout or following terms and conditions that change on a regular basis.
Any business with a Facebook page is required to follow Facebook’s rules and conditions for posting and advertising. If a visitor to a business page thinks something is inappropriate it can be reported to Facebook. This could lead to the platform temporarily shutting down the business page. Businesses that use Facebook for their website are then left without a way to communicate with customers.
Over the past few years, Facebook has learned that users prefer seeing posts from friends instead of businesses and advertisements. This means, business pages are not being pushed into newsfeeds as often as they were a few years ago. Facebook wants the user to seek out a business’s post instead of pushing those posts into the user’s newsfeed. Think about how many businesses and organizations you follow on Facebook and how little you see their messages. Facebook controls how messages are posted and who can see them, which limits audience reach.
A good website instantly adds credibility to a business. More than 80 percent of shoppers do online research before making a purchase, which includes visiting the company’s website. Customers visit websites to view other purchasing options, learn more about the company, review return policies, pricing, sales, menus, etc. All of this information cannot fit on a Facebook page. If a business only has a Facebook page, chances are its missing customers because of information that cannot be easily found within the page. Consumers are not going to search through photos for an updated menu or spring sale pricing.
Not everyone is on Facebook. Younger consumers are not on Facebook. Nearly half of millennials don’t have a Facebook page. However, a majority of consumers have access to the internet and can search for a company or visit a website. By not having a website, a business is essentially cutting out a large segment of potential sales.
A business Facebook page is an excellent way to communicate with current and new customers, but it can also get out of hand sometimes. If a consumer chooses to leave negative comments, a review, or act inappropriate on a business’ page, then the page administrators are responsible for performing damage control. It’s easy for one comment to hijack a post; we’ve all seen Facebook posts where followers get into disagreements. Business owners should have a plan in place to manage negative or off-topic comments.
A website can be the online hub for any size business. It offers customers a place to browse, research and contact the company. Facebook can support what’s happening on the website by featuring specific products or services, driving people to a certain page and celebrating employees or milestones. Facebook gives customers a look at a brand’s personality. But, the website is a business’s online store or billboard. It’s the home base for information that cannot always be found through a social platform.