Organizations of all types and sizes need an online presence to be found. But is a Facebook page all you need?
Going with Facebook exclusively may seem like a good idea – after all, your audience is probably quite familiar with this platform, and there are over 2.4 billion monthly active users on Facebook. Plus, it’s easy to post content and see instant viewer feedback – and it’s free. So, do you really even need a website of your own?
With Facebook, you are required to use their layout and design elements. Aside from being able to add a header image and logo, Facebook doesn’t provide much opportunity for customization unless you have a strong technical background. Even so, your Facebook page will look pretty similar to all the other pages on this platform, lacking in sophistication, inspiration and motivation – things that could set you apart if customization features were not so limited or difficult to implement.
Facebook uses a complex algorithm that controls how and when your posts are displayed, and to whom. But your posts are competing with many other posts on your viewers’ news feed. A person who ‘likes’ or comments on your posts frequently is more engaged and will see your posts more often than someone who merely follows your page to keep up with the latest news. To ensure your posts are seen by more people, you would have to pay to sponsor your content.
Another limitation of Facebook is that your posts are arranged in one long stack, requiring users to scroll until they find the item of interest. As you continue to add new posts, your older ones slide to the bottom, making it difficult for anyone interested in content you posted a few weeks ago to find it. When people cannot easily find the information they’re looking for, even with a search tool, they tend to disengage.
Proof of Legitimacy
Over the years, people have been conditioned to go to organizations’ websites to find out what they are all about. In fact, most of us have become accustomed to think of websites as proof of legitimacy. Today, businesses and other organizations without websites are not likely to be taken seriously.
Unlike Facebook, websites are highly customizable. A website has the added benefit of providing more opportunities to organize and display information. The use of menus helps people find exactly what they want on your website. Whether you want to share information through text, images, audio, video, slideshow or all of these, websites allow you to do it your way – and without the risk of Facebook closing down your account because someone complained. With a website you have complete control of your information and how it is presented.
Through Google Analytics, you can capture a wealth of information about how visitors engage with your site. Where you attract visitors from, how long they stay, and what links they click are among the dozens of metrics that can provide insight into what is working for you, and what can be improved.
The question is not whether Facebook or a website is best. The focus should be on how to leverage both to increase awareness and boost the visibility of your brand. That means using both platforms in ways that complement each other.
Use Facebook to drive traffic to your website. Not only can you share more information, you can further engage visitors with other posts on your website, calls to action, special offers, contests, polls, support forums, online purchasing, and subscriptions. This gives you the ability to continually engage with visitors going forward.
Facebook is a great way to pique interest and feed traffic to your website, without feeling you have to make a choice between one platform, or the other. You can exploit the benefits of both for maximum advantage.
Nathan Muller is the author of 29 technical books and over 3,000 articles that have appeared in 75 publications worldwide. He also writes articles, blogs and social media content for tech companies and their executives.