Why do I need a website when I can have a Facebook page for free?

It’s a question I get asked all the time!

1.Rented land versus owned land

This is an important point to understand. When you have a Facebook page for your business, you are renting space from Facebook. But it’s important to be clear that the traffic on Facebook is owned by Facebook. The followers you have on Facebook belong to Facebook. They let you build your following there, but at any moment they can take it all away.

Facebook changes their algorithm constantly. What is a Facebook algorithm? It’s a formula that determines what will show up in a user’s feed. 10 years ago when every business wasn’t on Facebook, you had a good chance of having your posts show up in your followers feeds. Now there are 80 million small and medium sized business pages on Facebook (23% increase year on year).

While more page likes theoretically mean a bigger audience and increased reach, Facebook has a big problem, saturation. It has forced the social media giant to make major changes to their algorithm in the past few years which means that business pages are growing much more slowly, and posts are only being seen by a tiny portion of the people who like the page.

The average Facebook business page grows in page likes by just 0.15% each month.

Of your page’s likes, you can expect to reach only 6.4% of them with any one organic post. (Organic post is any post which isn’t a paid or boosted post). In fact, organic reach has been declining for Facebook business pages since 2014, making it harder and harder for brands to be seen on this platform without spending money. (Source: Hootsuite Facebook Statistics)

How long will Facebook remain the king of social media? Recently it was announced that Facebook has dropped to the world’s third most-visited website behind Google and now Youtube. In saying that, there are still over 2 billion users on Facebook, so don’t go ditching them just yet. Facebook is still an important part of any marketing strategy, we just caution you on making it 100% of your strategy.

2. A central landing place which simplifies your marketing efforts

So if Facebook owns the traffic on your Facebook page, how can you start to create your own digital presence and drive your own traffic?
With your own website.

By using your own website as a hub for content (like this blog), you can create a marketing funnel which collects your traffic from social media (Facebook, LinkedIn etc), email database link clicks and search engine link clicks, and delivers them to one place, where your users are are just one or two clicks away from conversion (finding out more, signing up, getting in touch or making a purchase).

When people tell me they are overwhelmed by how much they need to do to maintain their social media marketing, it is because they haven’t nailed this yet. They are trying to create for all platforms, rather than creating for their website and driving this out via all platforms.

3. Be seen by the right people

Did you know 81% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them, 60% begin by using a search engine to find the products they want, and 61% will read product reviews before making any purchase. (Source: Minewhat.com)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) doesn’t happen overnight, but it is an ongoing process to improve your ranking on search engines so that people see you. Google also has algorithms which determine what shows up in search results, and these algorithms are constantly changing. By working with your website developer to enhance your website for SEO and target the key words and phrases that you would like to rank better for, you can be seen by the right people, improve traffic flow to your website, and increase conversion via your website.

A Facebook business page will give you very limited search engine results. A website will also enable you to access search insights, analytics, and Google Ads tools for future marketing tactics.

4. Professionalism

The final reason you still need a website, even though you have a Facebook page, comes down to crafting an exceptional experience for your customers.

Experiential marketing is a huge buzzword in 2018 and 2019, but it refers to the experience you deliver for your customers at every touchpoint (in store service, answering the phone, social media posts, online presence) which should be of a high standard, consistent with your overall brand personality, and tailored as much as possible for each individual customer. Your own website gives you the opportunity to create an incredible first impression and customise the user journey to showcase what your business has to offer.

From my early marketing days working in radio, it was said that you have just 5 seconds to capture someone’s attention with a radio commercial. This is even more relevant today (although perhaps only 2 seconds) across all media. Your website needs to set the tone for who you are, what you stand for and what you have to offer your prospective customers, and it needs to do it fast. As most people take in information visually, the imagery, logo and short chunks of text that sit ‘above the fold’ of your homepage (positioned in the upper half and visible without scrolling down the page) is what people will use to decide whether your business is professional, modern, up-to-date, secure, creative, trustworthy etc. It will also determine whether they scroll or click further.

Not only does your Facebook business page give you limited opportunity to design the best user experience, it’s important to consider what ‘only having a Facebook page’ says about your business to prospective customers?

There are some types of businesses who can get away with just having a Facebook page. This includes low cost, minimal risk products and services which are are located smack bang in front of their customers. For example, an ice cream shop. A Facebook page enables them to visually showcase their products and entice new customers, but these customers do not need to go online and research which flavour they might like before ordering. Having a Google My Business page and great Facebook reviews are most important for this business.

For lean startups, Facebook can be a good way to begin to build your brand, test your concept, establish a presence in the market and create a following. But at some point, you will need to start thinking about a stronger online presence that can house your content, improve delivery of your key messages and drive your objectives.

I hope this has been helpful. With more great blogs in the pipeline about the social media trends for 2019, search engine optimisation and creating content for your website and social pages, stay tuned to www.embarketing.com.au and our social pages.

Thanks for reading!

-Cristy (Creative Director)