“You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky?…Well do you punk?”- Dirty Harry
I see it a lot these days. Businesses who are using a Facebook Page rather than their own website. I know it must seem like such a good choice, after all, we’ve all heard about the sheer numbers of people on social media sites right? So why not focus on a great Facebook page or active Instagram or Pinterest account? And by the way, those social media pages are free. So you’re saving money. Right?
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I know it’s tempting, particularly for small businesses. I can tell because as I said, I’m seeing lots of businesses doing it. Do yourself and your business a favor and resist temptation. Why? Let’s start with the following:
People abandon social media. Think MySpace. Think AOL. I know it seems improbable at the moment that Facebook would ever be considered obsolete, but trust me, it could happen. When people first used the Internet we had email addresses that ended with @compuserve.com. How many of those do you see these days?
Not everyone uses social media. I know the numbers are staggering, but trust me, there are plenty of people out there who could be your ideal customer or client who aren’t engaging in social media at all, not to mention those that may not engage in your chosen social media venue.
You give up control. The social media venue decides what info you can and can not share, how or if you can advertise and even what you can and can’t use for images. Facebook even decides which of your posts are seen by which of your followers (if any.) And Facebook can change the way it looks and what’s presented there whenever they want.
People searching for more information about your company won’t find YOU when they go Google it. Social media has a limited search visibility. Sure, someone searching for your business name specifically will probably find your Facebook page in the mix, but if they are simply searching for your product or service in your local area? Well, that’s hit or miss as far as whether or not your social media profile or page shows up. In fact, sometimes a competitor’s website will show up higher in search results than your social media page.
It’s not professional. You want people to take your business seriously, but there is an entire segment of the business world that will consider your lack of a dedicated website completely unprofessional. I don’t care how small your business is, professionalism is one of the keys to success.
It looks like everyone else’s. Aside from unique cover images and profile pictures, everyone’s social media profiles look the same. We’ve known for a long time that cookie cutter website templates didn’t make good impressions. The same goes for relying on the heavily template social media profile for your online presence.
You’re left without a hub in your marketing wheel. A good marketing strategy includes a hub where all the spokes of your marketing efforts lead back to. Social media profiles and posts are spokes, if you have no hub, you lack the support for your marketing efforts and risk it falling apart. In fact, your website is the most important piece in your marketing puzzle. Everything, from social media to email lists should connect to it. Without it, you’re like a high wire act performing without a net, knowing that a career ending fall could happen any time.