Early in 2011, the commercial director of Facebook in the U.K. predicted that, soon, we will no longer need our own websites. His rationale? Facebook will be so integrated into the web that businesses, even major companies with a huge web presence, will abandon their own website in favor of the social.
Social media is more ingrained in our lives than ever, and I’ll be the first to admit I often look to the content on a brand’s social media profiles before I do their website, mainly because social media is easier to update. Enhanced functions like shop are now fully integrated with Facebook and Instagram, allowing for a good amount of interaction and conversions without leaving the platform. Include the in-app browser that keeps you on the platform even when clicking a link and it’s true, Facebook can function much like a website.
You can see with these features their hope, and their plan, is to eventually create a platform that will keep users contained within its walls, complete with branded stores where users can purchase goods and where content is organized around our social connections.
We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet and I’m not convinced we will get there any time soon. Here’s why I recommend keeping your website, or investing in one if you don’t have one yet.
We Have Control Issues
I don’t know about you, but I’m uncomfortable putting my entire online presence business in the hands of a third party like Facebook or Twitter, one over which I have no control. Think about how often these platforms have changed their features, terms of service, and user experience. Every time that happens, users have the “where’s my stuff” reaction when logging in to find the page rearranged and functions changed. I’ve had people contact me in genuine distress, not able to find the photos, status updates, or pages they depend on for keeping in touch with friends and brands. Do you want your website subject to the whims of Facebook’s developers?
Thieves and Scammers
Also, your page can be deleted or stolen if a page admin is tricked by a phishing scheme (read about that here) or if a disgruntled employee decides to do damage on the way out of the door. I’ve spent hours helping clients get their pages back in this situation, and I would hate to think of the consequences for them if their entire online presence was confined to these platforms.
Your page can also be wrongly flagged by Facebook’s bots, mistaking your fully compliant posts or ads with posts that violate their policies. I’ve had this happen multiple times as they roll out code to force compliance with anti-discrimination lawsuits and disinformation campaigns. It can sure throw a scare into you when you see that your page may be deleted due to “violations” you haven’t committed.
We Have Trust Issues
Due to the many trust issues around these platforms in the news lately, there are lots of users out there who may be uncomfortable entering payment or lead capture information directly into a social media platform. Many will, don’t get me wrong, but it is good to have a website where they can complete these actions as well.
Are you ready to give up your business website? If not, I can help build you an easy to maintain website and connect your social profiles, or create them for you!
Let’s get started. Contact me today.
7 thoughts on “Yes! You Still Need a Website”
We were talking about using Facebook in my company’s social media campaign. For our purposes, I was firmly against it. It could just be me, but I don’t see the return on investment in advertising on the same site that hosts Farmville. Maybe FB could have a corporate version, separate from the minions, but I would still agree with you. I would want total control over my website.
Thanks for your comments Tony. I’d like to delve a little deeper as to why you aren’t interested in pursuing Facebook as part of your social media strategy. Facebook can be an excellent tool for customer engagement, brand awareness, company culture etc, but it depends on your goals for the page and your overall marketing strategy. What is driving your social media efforts overall? What do you hope to accomplish? If I can help answer any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I work for the Section on Statistical Genetics within the Biostatistics Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Currently, we are trying to increase the number of applications we receive for pre- and post-doctoral positions within the section, focusing on those candidates with an interest or background in biometrics, biostatistics, or epidemiology. So far, we’ve been using other schools’ like department websites to place help wanted ads, for lack of a better term. My suggestion was Twitter to market our positions. The constraint is time (budget is nil, and scope is up to us, but someone who is already very busy is going to have to manage our Twitter presence fulltime). As for Facebook, I don’t think it will hit our very niche target market.
Yes, Facebook and Twitter marketing do take time to develop, and time to maintain. Facebook was developed originally for college students, and it still has that vibe to it. Twitter is a little easier to build up a following, but doesn’t always have as much interaction. You might also consider using LinkedIn for your purposes. They allow ad placement targeted to groups, and targeted to particular professions. Just a thought.
No, I’ll will use training wheels for a while ………then consider giving up my site!
Totally agree Sue! Plus let’s not forget not everyone is on Facebook – he he. Love your blig and your entries keep it up! Sherri
Sue, I can’t imagine anybody with an adequate level of concern for their business putting the fate of their website in Facebook or any social media site. I think Facebook is a great marketing tool, but it has limitations and as you pointed out, they can change their format any time and your site is merely along for the ride.
But mostly, consider the value of having your company’s name as a URL that lets people easily find your site, and then consider the number of site visitors you’d lose if they had to figure out that Facebook.com goes in the URL somewhere. I just can’t picture too many companies letting that happen.