In today’s current competitive market, businesses need to stand out and be noticed, in order to retain existing customers and to attract new customers. Social media has emerged as a burgeoning area for marketing and promotion of businesses; in part because it allows for broad exposure, increased frequency of visibility, and the ability to capitalise on interactivity and social engagement, often at little or no expense. However, having a Facebook page to promote your business is not enough; your business NEEDS to have its own website to maximise the effectiveness of advertising, outreach, and promotion.
Why do I need a website?
While there is a certain ease associated with maintaining a Facebook page for your business, one notable liability of relying solely on social media for advertising and promotion is that Facebook pages do not allow for providing extensive product and service information, conveyed quickly and clearly to potential customers. Without organised, searchable, detailed, accurate, and clear information about the products your business offers, potential customers may be enticed to look elsewhere for the items or services they seek. A website allows for this type of product information dissemination, in a manner that is easy to navigate, simple to use, comprehensive and designed specifically to meet your needs to engage and inform your consumer base. Savvy consumers have a desire for a breadth and depth of product information that is not easily provided or conveyed via social media, but is particularly well suited for communication via a website.
Advantages of having a website over a Facebook page
Another advantage to maintaining a website for your business relates specifically to dollars and cents or pounds and pennys for some customers, being able to quickly and easily find the cost or cost estimate for the goods or services they wish to acquire is an important variable in their purchasing decision making. While Facebook may be a convenient mechanism for providing information about specials or deals that are available, in general, webpages are a more effective means for providing the public with pricing and cost information.
Social media also holds businesses hostage to the click. That is, social media relies on the whims and responsiveness of individuals in passing on information and keeping it in the public eye, for example, reposting, making a comment, or liking a service, product, or organisation. Conversely, a webpage is available for consumers to access and review on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis. This enables your business to have consistent and constant exposure. Webpages can include reviews and accounts of satisfied customers, lending further support for advocacy and integrity of your organisation. In fact, in a world saturated with likes, it becomes difficult to stand out from the background noise of social promotion, especially if your business lacks the web presence a website offers.
Branding and promoting your business identity
Another reason why having a Facebook page to promote your business is not enough, and why your business needs to have its own website relates to strength of branding. Specifically, because of the basic and utilitarian nature of the Facebook layout, businesses have limited options for customising and displaying logos, tag lines, or colour schemes that help with the branding and development of business identity. Even with custom features on Facebook pages, businesses are able to convey their uniqueness in a finite number of ways. This need can be optimally addressed via a custom website for your business that reflects your identity and establishes and enhances your presence. Complicating the issue further is that, unlike a proprietary business website, Facebook essentially retains ownership and control of your on-site presence, and can make revisions and alterations to Facebook pages without the user’s knowledge or permission. Webpages allow for control of the content that is displayed, and for businesses to individually manage changes and alterations.
Your web presence is not complete with only a Facebook page
Your web presence is not complete with only a Facebook page; businesses benefit from creating and maintaining webpages for several additional reasons. Foremost, Facebook does not allow for online ordering or purchasing; it is a great method of interacting with customers and sharing basic information and updates, but does not allow customers to engage in an actual transaction. A business website can be customised to accept a wide range of forms of payment, and to provide for instantaneous sales, any time of day, any day of week. Further, depending on your target sales demograph(s), some members of your client or customer base may not be Facebook or social media users, yet be regular Internet users more comfortable with traditional webpages.
It is true that a vast number of individuals are Facebook users, but it is also true that a substantial number are not and without a website for your business, Facebook limits your visibility to the entire spectrum of potential customers. While social media, such as Facebook, has a legitimate role to play in business marketing, promotion, and advocacy, the ephemeral nature of social media also points to the need for a comprehensive, well-constructed, and user-friendly website replete with the information and resources consumers need and desire. Facebook can help trigger and direct potential customers to your website, but it is your business website that will ultimately prove the more viable, long-term, and cost-effective resource.