A business’s website is its primary point of contact with its audience. Social media profiles can be a useful tool to interact with your audience, but they should not be your primary point of contact. Social media is good for engaging with your audience and having a back and forth with them, as well as promoting your business more broadly. But your social media presence should augment your website rather than replace it altogether. A website has certain key advantages that a social media profile simply cannot replicate.
Small businesses today are constantly told that they need a Facebook profile to remain competitive. While having a Facebook page for your business is definitely a good idea; it should not replace a proper website entirely.
Why websites matter
Consumers that are looking for a specific product or service will often turn to search engines as their first actionable step. The number of people that search on social media for products rather than a search engine like Google is very low. While a Google search can direct people to your social media pages, it is much more effective to have them sent to a website. If your goal is to convert a user into a paying customer, then this is much easier to do on your own website than it is via a social media profile.
The other key function of a website is to provide information about your business. Again, while a social media page can be used to give updates to your loyal customers, your own website is far better suited to provide general information.
The biggest advantage a website has over a social media profile is that you have complete and total control over every aspect of it. Being able to decide your own aesthetic is obviously helpful when you are creating a website, but far more important than this is the ability to add any tools and features you desire.
For example, if your business sells customised products, then you can add a feature to your website that enables customers to preview products before they order them. You can advertise your products and your Facebook profile, but you won’t be able to add custom features that can boost conversion.
Facebook’s control of your profile doesn’t just apply to the design and layout, but also the content. Facebook has the final say over what content is allowed to be showcased on your profile. If the moderators don’t like what you are posting and decide they would rather not have it on their platform, then there is little that you can do to prevent its removal.
There are plenty of examples of small businesses that were seriously impacted by updates to Facebook algorithms and content policies. In the case of the algorithms, an unexpected update can suddenly make a business profile far less visible than it was before, requiring the business to completely rethink its online strategy.
However, it is Facebook’s ever-changing content policies that present the real challenge. For some businesses, there is very little chance of any of their content falling afoul of Facebook guidelines. But there are other businesses, businesses that sell adult toys, for example, whose content may regularly skirt around the edges of what Facebook finds acceptable. Even a minor change to their policies could spell disaster for such businesses.
Another disadvantage of relying on Facebook is that it is not your own kingdom. In other words, you have to share Facebook with other users, and some of those users might be working against you. Whether they are competitors or just trolls, there is nothing to stop them from astroturfing your pages with bad reviews, or just posting outright lies and slander about your business on your profile.
Pay to play
One of the biggest challenges for small businesses that want to use Facebook to promote themselves is when they have to contend with much larger competitors. Obviously, a website is also going to be competing with other websites, but the situation on Facebook is very different. There is an almost pay-to-play attitude from the social media giant. Those with money to spend can bury the competitors with relative ease.
All things considered, if you want to set up a single point of contact between you and your most important clients, then a single-page website is arguably a better idea than a Facebook profile. Maintaining a social media presence is still a good idea, as this is an important channel for reaching new customers and engaging with your existing audience. Especially, when it’s so easy to manage even multiple accounts with the help of proxies. More about it you can find at Smartproxy.
However, a full-blown website is still worth investing in. Some small businesses have tried to replace their websites with social media profiles, but the results are mixed to say the least. Use your Facebook profile to augment your website, not replace it.