I get this question a lot: “Why do I need a website when I can get a Facebook page for free?”
It’s a question that makes a lot of sense. Facebook pages:
- are free to set up.
- give you quick access to an engaged audience.
- an easy place to publish content – especially for beginners to digital marketing.
Every day, 937 million people login to Facebook to scroll through their newsfeed, share links, and interact with friends.
What could your business do with access to 937 million contacts? Even if you reach .1% of those people, you’re still putting your business in front of thousands of people. As a business owner, it seems like a no-brainer. You don’t spend a dime, reach thousands of people and you only get stuck doing a fraction of the work to promote your business.
Sounds pretty good, right? Maybe even a little too good?
Let’s defy surface level logic for a little bit and dig a little deeper into the differences.
Websites vs. Facebook Pages
If you thought the 937 million people on Facebook each day was an impressive stat, wait until you hear this:
There are 40,000 Google searches every second of every day. That’s 3.5 billion (with a B) searches on just one search engine every day.
A Facebook page pales in comparison to the reach you can achieve by ranking your website high on search engines.
But wait! It gets even better.
Until now, I’ve only talked about people in herds. But what can those people really do for your business? How can you turn eyeballs into cold, hard, sweet, delicious smelling cash?
You have to get your business in front of the right people.
In the digital world, this is known as optimization. It’s probably one of the trickiest, hardest, most frustratingly difficult parts of online marketing because Google, Facebook, and other platforms are constantly changing their algorithms.
Here’s the big difference between Google and Facebook.
Google changes their algorithm to push down low quality websites that aren’t offering what their customer (the searcher) wants to see.
Facebook is changing their algorithm to focus on showing more posts from friends – not businesses or pages.
Facebook started as a social network for college students to connect. Then, it expanded to letting friends connect. The expansions continued and soon they allowed businesses to create free pages. Now, they’re going back to their roots and giving their customers (the millions of people who login every day) what they want – more cat gifs, food porn, sunset pictures, and bragging rights.
They’re putting their foot down on business pages.
Too many businesses believe that having a Facebook page to promote their products, services, goods, and whatever else they’re selling is a right. It’s not.
In January, the changes to the Facebook algorithm started “punishing” page owners by hiding overly promotional content. By posting too often and/or wording your posts to sound like an infomercial, you risk having your posts hid by Facebook.
What’s not seen as overly promotional is anything valuable – links to your website and blog included (as long as you word it in the right way).
Facebook has the control. They can hide anything they want. They don’t have to show your content just because you have a page. They don’t have to show your stuff to your fans and followers. Their only job is to keep the millions of people logging on every day happy and coming back. Why? Because that’s what drives revenues from advertisers desperate to get seen.
Facebook Shouldn’t Be Your Only Online Marketing Strategy
There is a place for social media marketing. You just have to use it for the right purpose. That’s what Facebook is trying to get you to do.
Mari Smith (a Facebook marketing guru) said this in the beginning of the year when Facebook was making their algorithm updates:
“Bottom line, most pages can no longer rely on organic reach to gain solid business results on Facebook. you need to have a consistent content strategy so at least you have SEO benefits from your Page as well as current posts when fans/visitors come to your page + integrate other channels + use Facebook to drive traffic to your website and build your email list via ads (which is extremely effective with the right targeting, a compelling landing page and ofer, and solid sales funnel.)”
Facebook ads are highly effective when used in the right way.
Many businesses use Facebook ads to drive likes. The question then becomes, “what happens next?” What do you do with those likes? How do you turn those fans and followers into profits if your posts aren’t getting seen?
Those likes don’t mean a whole heck of a lot if nothing you post is getting seen.
As Mari (and numerous other marketing experts) point out, the best and most effective way to use Facebook is to use it to feed into a bigger, more effective marketing strategy.
This is Why Websites Win Every Time
Your website is the digital hub for your business. It’s the place where you have the most power to gather lead information, target your marketing campaigns, and build profits.
Still not convinced? Consider this:
What would happen if Facebook decided you were breaking their rules? You’d lose your page and everything you worked so hard to build. Google won’t take away your domain name. If they think you’re using “black hat” SEO tricks, they might push you down on the search results, but you’ll always have the opportunity to climb back up again. Facebook doesn’t have to give you that opportunity.
How much information do you really have about your Facebook contacts? Do you know how to reach them via email or phone? No. You don’t get any personal information other than a name and a link to their personal profile. There’s not a whole lot you can do with that information, which means you have to rely on Facebook showing your marketing messages. With a website, you own your contacts. You can build your email list, grow your database, and sleep better at night knowing that no matter what happens to your website you have those contacts in your back pocket.
How targeted are your marketing messages on Facebook? Sure you can target a group of people with sponsored posts (those cost money), but how well can you target overall campaigns on Facebook? It’s tricky. A lot trickier than setting up landing pages for specific audiences, campaigns, and goals. On your website, you have way more power to attract new leads and make money off the people who show interest in what you have to offer.
Websites. Win. Every. Time.
Everyone – every business and person is clambering to claim their little corner of the cyber universe…
… are you investing your time, content and marketing budget in the right place?