Why Facebook is not enough
Some SMBs choose to build their entire online presence based on a Facebook Business page alone, but this is most likely hurting their online presence efforts. Social media and especially Facebook (the largest social network worldwide), can be a valuable channel for engaging with customers. However, many SMBs will miss out on business opportunities because they rely on social network as their main online channel.
Below you will find arguments for why the better choice is to build a strong professional website as the foundation for SMBs’ online presence and use Facebook as complementary channel to boost their online marketing efforts and business results.
Lack of ownership
With a Facebook Business page, SMBs do not own their website and do not have 100% control over their page and their content. Facebook can control the page, and has the authority to control the social reach of content, and thereby indirectly the engagement with your customers
Facebook can issue updates without any forewarning. As they have in the past, Facebook can change the layout and structure of the business page without notice leaving the Facebook Business page looking incomplete and unprofessional. They can also change the newsfeed algorithm which can negatively affect who actually sees business’ updates and posts. This can be stressful for business owners that need to spend time on other tasks for their business
Social reach and engagement on Facebook is driven by paid posts and ads. Businesses are now asked to “boost” their Facebook updates to reach the majority of their followers. This means that businesses that rely on free, organic traffic will lose out to competitors that are willing to pay. Furthermore, anyone can advertise on Facebook meaning that ads of competitors can be shown on Facebook distracting customers from the main messaging of the SMBs Business Page
Lack of credibility
Anyone can build a Facebook Business page, so only having a Facebook page does not provide much online credibility for SMBs. A website in addition to a Facebook Page makes a business appear more established. Therefore, it is important to have an official website to support and verify the online presence of the small businesses, as well as establish credibility and build the trust of customers
High performing SEO is vital for potential customers to find small businesses online. However, Google does not index Facebook pages very well. This means if a business is only on Facebook, then it is probably more difficult to find online, but if the business has both a website and a Facebook page, the SEO is strengthened as website pages that are shared on or visited from social media can reap higher rankings
Building a Business page on Facebook provides limited design options and business owners are forced to use standardized business templates that may not reflect the brand of their business
While a SMB’s brand is visible on the Facebook Business page, so is the Facebook brand. The SMBs brand may therefore not be prioritized, and will always be secondary to the Facebook brand
While Facebook is the world’s largest social network platform, 50% of Internet users are not on Facebook. Therefore it is important to have an online presence where all Internet users feel welcome, and do not need to login to a social network to view SMB information
While Facebook can give indications and insight into major customer trends, it is unable to pinpoint and track the activity of individuals. This means business owners are unable to target specific user activities based on Facebook reporting
Statistics including response rate, number of likes and overall company rating are publicly visible. This may hurt SMBs that are unable to compete with bigger companies on audience, customer service and branding
Benefits of a professional website
While Facebook Business pages have many benefits, a website helps small businesses establish a professional online presence that displays their brand the best way possible.
People expect established businesses to have a website, and owning a professional website and domain shows a form of investment and thereby ensures legitimacy and builds trust in the business
SMBs can design their website to reflect their brand and showcase their company story without distractions from secondary brands
SMBs can structure their website the way that best suits their business model. The website structure can be built according to their preferred call-to-actions
A standalone websites enables better organic SEO, as individual pages of content can be added in order to helps customers find your products and services.
Reporting via Google Analytics
SMBs can track website visitors through Google Analytics and get insight into more detailed statistics, such as what visitors click on and where they are coming from
SMBs don’t need to worry about unexpected updates leaving their website looking incomplete. With a website, SMBs can make changes at their own pace or work with their service provider to ensure that their content meets the latest online standards before making any updates