If you’re using Facebook instead of a website, think again! There are many reasons you shouldn’t do this. Facebook should be an accoutrement, not a replacement.
Not everyone uses or even wants to use Facebook, believe it or not. You don’t want to exclude potential customers. It also doesn’t display as much information as a website. I always search for a website before a Facebook page. A website can tell a potential customer a lot about your business within seconds. That first impression can make or break you.
I want to easily find what I’m looking for which is typically their location, hours and photos. If I’m still interested, then I’ll want to read more about who they are. If they’re selling something online I want to know about any specials that are going on. This will then lead me to look at more of their offerings. It could turn me into a potential customer. I want to enjoy the experience of the visit.
You may be saying, “You could find most of that information on their Facebook page!” The problem I have with Facebook is that it’s basically all the same format. It doesn’t show off your individualism. Sure, you can have your logo and photos (which are typically very bad and uploaded from a phone). Some companies may integrate a “shop” into Facebook, but it usually leads you back to their website.
When I’m on a site, I will click on their Facebook icon once I’m done looking at the site. I may scroll through a page or two but I typically don’t stay on it for long. If the website was not particularly good, I won’t even bother with the Facebook page. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not anti-Facebook. I believe any business that has a website should also have a Facebook page. There’s no reason you shouldn’t. It’s free, it’s a great advertising tool and billions of people do use it!
I find it odd if a company on Facebook does NOT have a website. Most of the reasons I hear are that they can’t afford one or think they don’t need it. While I can understand that the local bakery is operating on tight margins and everyone in town knows who they are anyway, there are free options like a blog that could take the place of a website. In my opinion, it’s better than nothing. A domain name doesn’t cost much to own, which can be attached to your free blog for a small fee each year. One of my clients happens to be a bakery located in Nelson, New Zealand and I’ve found that his website gets an extraordinary amount of hits each month.
I’d like to know that the merchant takes their business seriously enough to invest in a real site. It can impart trust in a way that Facebook can’t. Purchasing and maintaining a website is one of those necessary evils that should be factored into your marketing budget.
Free blogs, however, don’t allow you to sell items from them. For the bakery, it probably wouldn’t matter much as they rely on walk in customers. So don’t discount a website too quickly because you think it’s not affordable. Blogs are pretty easy to set up and if you need help, the consultant’s fee wouldn’t be nearly as much as a website.
If you’re one of the many small businesses that only operates using Facebook, get in touch and lets discuss wowing your customers with a great first impression. Take a look at some of the other services Warm Reptile Designs offers and how professional looking graphics stand out more than an unprofessional photo on Facebook!
If gaining and keeping customers is your goal, don’t dismiss the power of a website. Consider it part of your investment and you’ll be pleasantly surprised in due time.