With over 1.5 billion users worldwide, and 156.5 million in the United States alone, there’s no denying that Facebook has become a behemoth of potential customers for your small business. By creating a Facebook page for your small business, you’re building the potential to reach its gigantic user base and convert them to clients. It makes perfect sense – it’s free, and through it you can list some basic information about your business, get in front of customers, and even interact with them on a daily basis.
Facebook is clearly an extremely valuable marketing tool and an awesome way to engage with your clients. But if your business has an active Facebook presence and no website, you’re making a mistake.
Why You Need a Website
People still Google businesses all the time.
There are two big points here: First, when people use Facebook, it’s to make connections with friends and family and to have conversations, not to make a purchase or choose a restaurant for dinner. People use search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing for that, and when they enter their search terms, you want your website to pop up. First impressions are everything, and your website can control what people see first.
With a website, you can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to grow your clientele, or reach a higher quality clientele – clients who are looking to make a purchasing decision when they hit the search button on Google. You have a lot more control over who you appeal to and when with a search engine optimized website.
Second, not everyone uses Facebook regularly, even if many people have accounts. If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on every potential client who does not use social media on a daily basis, but who probably does use the Internet.
A website provides your clients with a first impression of your business.
If you have a well-designed site, your visitors will feel more confident in your professionalism and credibility. Anyone can make a Facebook page, but a polished website legitimizes your business.
A quick warning, though: While a user-friendly and professionally designed site says “We take our business and our customers seriously,” a poorly designed site your web design hobbyist cousin built might say “We don’t know what we’re doing, and we don’t care much if you can’t find what you’re looking for.”
Sometimes a poorly designed site is worse than no site at all. Spending a little money up front will save you a hit to your reputation (and your wallet when you find you need to redesign your site with a more professional look or functional structure).
You own your website.
With your own website, you not only can keep a database with all your client information, but you have full control over the content that is prioritized on the site. Prominently post your prices, locations, policies, testimonials or services, and have full control of how users get there. Facebook is great for quick updates and conversations, but a website lets you present detailed information, write blog posts, and even sell products.
The takeaway here is that while having a Facebook page is a great use of marketing time, it is best used in addition to a website, not instead. Your best bet for keeping clients engaged and finding new ones is to use your website and Facebook together – increase your online visibility by having your Facebook feed integrated into your site, and point Facebook visitors to your website.