Facebook. It’s the largest social network for users in North America, right? It’s boasts 190 milliion users, some of them in your own neck of the woods. So you’ve got to have a presence there. But that does not and should not negate the need for a professional website.
Why? Consider that Facebook has evolved beyond its original mission — a place to catch up with family, reconnect with long-lost friends, and your old coworkers. The platform is now more akin to a media company. According to an article in Motley Fool, a whopping 98% of Facebook’s most recent quarterly revenue came from advertising. The company self-reports a dazzling 7,000,000+ active paid advertisers. In other words, Facebook, for businesses, has become pay to play.
And, yet, some businesses are eschewing their own websites and relying on Facebook to serve as their web presence. Bad idea.
Regardless of what Facebook’s lengthy terms and conditions say (and if you’re dedicated enough to read them through, bravo to you), content that lives on Facebook (and also Instagram by Facebook) will never be wholly your own. Someone else controls the power switch. Someone else controls the algorithm determining who will — and won’t — see your content. Even if you don’t know an algorithm from Adam, just think about the Instagram outage that had influencers and advertisers in meltdown mode on Thanksgiving 2019.
This is not to say paid ads on Facebook or Instagram aren’t an effective tool for marketing your business. According to a case study by Facebook, advertiser Bombas, the socks you’ve inevitably seen while scrolling through your newsfeed, increased 2018 Q4 holiday sales by an impressive 69%. Keep in mind, however, that this was a strategic digital campaign, not a one-off advertisement.
And businesses should absolutely have a Facebook business page that they update regularly as it remains a discovery tool, particularly for those who want, for example, to quickly find information while on the platform, be it the address of your bank or what happy hour specials your restaurant is offering on a given day. And if you’re willing to spend, it can be a helpful content distribution channel.
But, your business still needs a website. The reasons are myriad.
First, you want your business to be everywhere — and that includes the good old www. A professionally crafted website will include metadata to improve your SEO (search engine optimization). Good SEO means that when someone Googles “55 and over condos in Smithown,” your site (if it does, in fact, promote 55 and over condos in Smithtown) will surface (assuming your backend developer has done their job).
Next, your business isn’t a hobby; it’s a business. You want to come across as buttoned up, professional. A website makes you look legit (and I’ll assume that you are for these purposes). Potential clients and customers want to see the full scope of your product, they want to learn about your team, and they want to get more familiar with your brand beyond a few sentences in a post or a paragraph in your “About” Facebook section.
And with content marketing becoming a valuable SEO tool, you want to regularly create SEO-friendly content on that site, perhaps within a blog/news section, that you and you alone own to help improve discovery. If Facebook limits who sees your posts (and they do), your clever content remains under their control. Further, if you are committed to keeping your content marketing efforts fresh, even when doing Facebook posts, you’ll need to send people somewhere — like your own website.
Finally, with Facebook nearing its second decade in existence, despite its power, it is hardly the only game in town. Yes, they own Instagram, whose users skew younger than its namesake business, but consider the meteoric rise of TikTok and its adoption by a decidedly more youthful audience. The platform has, according to AdAge, 800 million active users in 2019. Yes, Facebook has 2.5 billion users. But TikTok is trickling up and down, with moms and dads, well, mom’ing and dad’ing out on the app so it’s a fair bet to say it will probably continue to grow. In other words, networks wax and wane. Sure you’ll want to have a presence on the platforms that suit your business strategy, but a well-maintained website is a constant in an ever-changing online world.