When building a business from scratch a business owner has a lot of decisions to make. One of the most basic is in regards to a website. Does the business need a website, or will a Facebook business page alone suffice? There are instances where a Facebook page might be all one needs, but generally speaking a website is useful and necessary. Let’s dive into some of the pros and cons of both having a website and exclusively using Facebook to market a business.
Pros of using Facebook as your primary online presence (No Website)
Let’s say you are a local food truck in the Raleigh, NC area and you are just getting started. You have thousands of dollars worth of expenses from equipment to licensing to supplies. There simply isn’t enough budget to spend thousands of dollars on a professional website. Additionally, you don’t have the expertise yourself to build something on WIX or Squarespace, but you have used Facebook before and you know they offer something called “business pages”. Facebook can offer a free solution that allows you to post your basic business info and communicate with an audience.
2. Ease of Use
Facebook makes it pretty easy to setup and maintain a Facebook business page. If you have a personal profile you can easily build and link up a business page in a matter of an hour or two. It’s also pretty simple to post to the page, though getting support and answers to questions can be difficult.
3. It might be all you need
If all you need to do online is tell folks where you’ll be, your hours and maybe display your menu, then a Facebook business page could be sufficient. With a business page you can communicate with potential customers, post messages and images, and even post your hours and menu. You will have a limited audience at first but if you ask your family, friends, and new customers to like your page then over time your footprint can grow. If you work with local festivals and companies to take advantage of built in crowds, and are not looking to grow your own organic audience online then you might not even need a website.
Cons of not having a website
1. Affordable – But at a price
If you don’t have a website and simply rely on your Facebook business page as your primary presence online, you are completely at the whim and mercy of Facebook. What happens when Facebook decides to get rid of business pages? All of your equity is now gone. Facebook has been known to mark business pages as spam, so you need to be careful if you plan on putting all of your eggs in one basket. Also, just because a Facebook user “likes” your page does not mean it is guaranteed that they will see all of your content. Users can unsubscribe from receiving your posts while still liking your page, so it’s difficult to determine who actually sees your content.
2. Maybe it’s too easy…
With a Facebook business page, you have no knowledge of a few important metrics:
- How long did someone spend on my page?
- What message leads to the most conversions?
- How did users get to the business page?
With a website and connected analytics program you will be able to determine where users come from in terms of referral source, what actions they take, and you can even start to test different layouts and variables such as button placement, call-to-action (CTA) and more. Even scarier, Facebook could decide one day that they don’t like you anymore and remove your page entirely, leaving you with nothing. Ultimately if you want to own your own real estate online then Facebook should not be your only presence. Building a website might be harder and more expensive, but it could very well be what you actually need.
3. Is Facebook REALLY all you need?
When you create a Facebook Business page, you do not own the code that generates that page. You cannot decide where to place your logo, you don’t get to control the way folks view your image gallery, and you don’t determine the user experience of the page. If you paid an agency to make a great video explaining what you do, and Facebook doesn’t let you place it at the top of your page then you might miss out out on conversions. If you sell products and want to sell them online, Facebook offers some semblance of ecommerce (marketplace) but nothing like a real online store with shipping classes, tax attributes, shopping carts, etc.
Ultimately it comes down to your actual business needs when determining if you need a website or simply a Facebook page. Sometimes Facebook isn’t the right website to have a page on if you are forgoing a website. If you are an attorney it would make a lot more sense to set up and optimize your AVVO page than your Facebook page. The same goes if you are a pressure washing business. You might want to set up your Angie’s List or Home Advisor page before worrying about posting a funny meme on Facebook. So think about your goals and that will help you determine what you need.
Of course it can sometimes be best to turn to experts, and we at WRAL Digital Solutions would love to help. Contact us today at (919) 744-3138 if you are in the Triangle and (910) 632-2163 in the Wilmington area.