About a week ago I got an email from a potential client. The client touched on several topics that have been coming up so much recently that I’d already started planning several blog posts about them. The subject of this post is based on the following question:
“What are the benefits of a web page vs a facebook business page?”
There are a lot of people (and perhaps you are one of them) that don’t understand why you’d need a website if you already have a Facebook page.
Business Website vs. Facebook Business Page
When it comes to comparing a Facebook business page and a small business website, there are two main aspects that separate them. The first is customization/user experience. With Facebook, you’re limited to a point due to the fact that everything the end user sees has to be presented through the Facebook platform whereas a personal website can be custom made from the ground up to meet the needs and identity of the business. However, the user experience on Facebook can be enhanced and customized using Facebook custom tabs. Tabs can be used to embed websites, blogs, apps, games, sweepstakes, email capture forms etc. within the page owners Facebook page. While the more advanced functionality of Facebook tabs is still a bit out of the reach of individuals without programming skills, there are companies that offer services that make it easier and more user friendly to customize their business pages. Below are two services that may be of interest:
- http://www.shortstack.com/ (this one is mostly for creating apps and promotions)
The second and most important difference between a Facebook business page and a small business website is ownership. Facebook can at any time without any warning and/or reason erase your business page. It’s a free service and therefore Facebook has no obligation to you. What would you do if you’d spent a ton of time and money promoting your Facebook page and then at the end of the day, Facebook shut you down? With a website however, you own the domain name and if your web host shut down your website for whatever reason, you can call their support line to get it resolved.
So what can you do to prevent a complete fallout if you’re using Facebook as your marketing platform? I would suggest utilizing an email list in conjunction with your Facebook efforts. So for example, you could have a custom tab on your Facebook page with a sign up form that users can use to sign up to your mailing list. You could then periodically post a message asking your fans to click on the tab and sign up to the mailing list if they haven’t already. Additionally, you could run weekly/monthly promotions in which you give a prize of some sort to one lucky subscriber on your list and use this as encouragement to sign up to your list. Now if your Facebook page goes down, you still have your mailing list of contacts and you’ll still be able to reach out to them. A really great mailing list service that I highly recommend is http://mailchimp.com They have a free service that you can use if you have less than 2,000 subscribers.
Personally, I don’t think you should just have either a Facebook page or a website, I think you should have both and use them together as a part of your marketing plan. I’ve been very successful using what I called the four pronged marketing approach which uses the following:
- Small business website
- Facebook/Social Media
- Mailing list
The four pronged approach is a subject I’ll have to get into in more detail in another article. For now it’s suffice to say that while Facebook is an undeniably powerful marketing tool for small businesses, you should have a plan in place to utilize it properly and avoid any fallout should you lose your account.