The majority of businesses these days start on Facebook or other social media platforms. It's also hard to deny the ease and benefits of using social media for business. It’s normal for you to wonder why you would even need a website in the first place. But, should you think of Facebook vs. Website as a battle, or should you think of it as an alliance?
It’s okay to start on Facebook as a small business to test the waters. But once you’re serious about it, relying only on using Facebook isn’t the best idea. If your business is only based on Facebook, then you do not own any of it. Facebook owns your page. Anytime Facebook goes down, so does your business. It’s risky to rely on a third party.
There are also plenty more risks associated with only relying on social media to run your business. So, should you let go of social media completely and only focus on developing your website? Well, that’s not the answer either. In this day and age, proper online marketing can make or break a business. Keep reading to find out more on website vs facebook page.
What Are The Risks Of Only Using Facebook For Business?
It’s very risky to rely solely on a third-party website or app to grow your business. If you look at large, successful brands, you will notice that all of them have a website and a proper online presence. You can’t own your Facebook page, so you have to be liable to Facebook. Also, there are security issues if Facebook goes down, which happens frequently.
That might feel like I’m trying to scare you off from opening a Facebook business page. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of benefits to having one. All I’m saying is that relying solely on Facebook to sell whatever it is you sell, is not the smartest idea. Let’s dive deeper into each of the risks and you’ll see why.
You Have to be Dependent on Facebook
We have come to use Facebook so much in our daily lives, that we often overlook the fact that Facebook itself is a huge business, and they have their motives and profits in mind. When you are using another business to build your own, there is always going to be a catch.
You can never truly own a Facebook page. It’s just a page that Facebook owns with your business’s name on it. It is sort of similar to leasing space on their website. You have to abide by their rules and regulations and you can only run your business according to Facebook’s terms.
This dependence is the riskiest when Facebook goes down. Plenty of business owners had trouble replying to clients and conducting their business when Facebook had a massive server outage in October 2021. These outages are much more common than you’d think, even if it’s not always this huge.
And since Facebook also owns Instagram, Messenger, and even WhatsApp they suffer these shortages too. It becomes next to impossible to communicate with your clients. If you had other means set up along with your Facebook page, you wouldn’t have to worry so much.
Decline In Popularity
There’s also the matter of popularity. Do you hear about Myspace often? No, right? That’s because it's completely irrelevant now. Social media apps often rise in popularity and might die down again as a newer, better app surfaces. So who’s to say Facebook won’t face a downfall as well?
It is already happening. Stats show that Facebook is declining in popularity, especially with younger generations. People are starting to move away to newer, cooler social media platforms. So relying only on Facebook means your business might die away, as the popularity fades.
Little To No Customization
All Facebook business pages look the same. Sure, you can change the header and logo and shine with your content, but the theme and layout are pretty much the same for all pages. There’s no way to customize your store or your service and make it stand out.
Think of your own experience as a customer on Facebook. You probably buy things or avail of services from ads that pop up in your feed. If you go to their page and scroll, you’ll find that it’s often very uncomfortable to scroll or look through products on a page. There are conflicting tags, prices, and information, and it’s not very easy to navigate.
Now think of a website you’ve visited to buy the same product. You’ve most likely had a lot of room to look around and check out different products and check reviews before you can buy something. Things are much easier to navigate with different sections and headers and proper captions and information on each item.
There’s no way to customize or bring the same ease and aesthetics to a Facebook page, even if you wanted to. While you might get a wider audience on Facebook, most of these people would find it much more appealing to browse through a website if redirected there. Think of your own experiences and you’ll see why.
Organic Reach is Non-Existent
Again, think of your own experiences when buying something on Facebook. More often than not, it’s from an ad. Unless you’re paying Facebook to put out ads, your reach is going to be very poor.
This is a result of content overload. Check out this cool live statistics website for the internet, and you’ll be overwhelmed by just how much content is put out on the internet every second. Due to the sheer number of businesses and their posts on Facebook, in most cases, you are going to be drowned out.
There is simply way too much content being posted every day for users to consume. So if you want your business to be seen, you'll need to pay Facebook to advertise your content. Organic reach is just a myth now, and it’s very hard to get by on it, especially if you are a business. Even big brands have a hard time getting good reach on Facebook.
The competition is way too high, and only those who pay Facebook can get ahead. And it’s even more complicated than that. Even if you put out ads, again, due to the sheer number of ads that go out, you might still get drowned out. So relying solely on Facebook to reach your target audience is extremely risky.
Lack Of Organization And A Proper Database
If you’ve ever been to a scary place that is an inbox of a business page, especially after running ads you would know what an absolute nightmare it is. When you’re putting out ads on Facebook, a lot of users click on them. You would think that’s a good thing right?
Not entirely. More than half the people who will text on your page aren’t potential customers. They aren’t going to avail of your services or buy your products. They’re just interested in something or here to ask about prices.
While sure, this is great for brand awareness and gaining popularity, what this does is it floods your inbox. As a result of replying to hundreds of messages every day, you’re going to get less efficient at replying to customers who are going to buy your products.
And since you have to keep all clients happy, you have to spend a lot of time replying to and interacting with people who simply aren’t interested in your services. Slow replies and improper customer service often drive away customers.
Yet again, think of your own experience buying things. You’ve probably gotten annoyed at a page or two by their late replies or lack of coordination. Even though after the Facebook Pages Manager app was introduced, things are a little less messy, it’s still not optimum.
This also means that it’s very easy to lose clients in the "flooded" inbox. It’s extremely difficult to keep track of orders and note down who wants what and all their data. Most people do it manually or use an external website or app or even just an Excel sheet to keep track of this data.
There’s no automated, centralized database that keeps track of client data. On a website, things are much more organized, and people can enter their data. Everything gets neatly organized and entered into a database.
It’s very easy to navigate and you won't feel overwhelmed by it. You can also keep track of your history and get any receipts necessary in the case of returns or conflicts.
How Should Small Businesses Use Facebook?
With so many risks associated with Facebook, should you completely stop using it then? No, ideally, small business owners should use Facebook as a starting point, along with a website. It’s difficult to deny the ease and reach of the audience on Facebook, but you should use your Facebook business page to get customers and then redirect them to your website.
Set up a proper Facebook page for your business and use good visuals to set up a brand design and theme. Having a distinct feel to your brand so that customers remember you is a great way to keep customers.
You should run ads now and then. Without ads, it’ll be very difficult to garner an audience. Use your Facebook page as a first impression. Imagine it to be like a flyer you give out to customers to come to visit your store. The first impression is very important, so be intentional about your content and don’t just flood your customers with ads.
Whenever possible redirect customers to your website. Whether it be under posts or ads or even on the page contact info, the website URL should be clearly visible on your page. You have to make it as easy as possible for people to go to your website. Think of Facebook (or any other social media for instance) as a marketing tool for your business website.
This, however, does not mean that you should not allow your customers to buy from the Facebook app. Plenty of customers will find it bothersome if you "force" them to the website. If they do knock the page and wish to inquire of your services, give them the best customer service and take their orders and then suggest that you also have a website they can visit.
It's also more convenient to interact with your audience using Facebook since you can directly talk to them. Having top-notch customer service can help you a lot to get loyal customers. This is where you "humanize" the brand. Talk to your customers, thank them for their reviews, attend to their complaints, go live, interact, and have fun! Give your brand a personality!
How Should Small Businesses Use A Website?
You should use your website as your main store and treat it like you would a physical store or office. It’s where you build your brand image and tell your story. It should not only be aesthetically pleasing, organized, and easy to navigate, but it should also be informative. Keep a section for FAQs or questions that you might face a lot from your Facebook customers. Use it effectively.
Many business owners cannot help but wonder, do I need a website if I have a facebook page? Facebook and your website should go hand in hand. One should have links to the other and redirect to each other. Your website should also have links to all your social media accounts. It's the hub for all of your online presence.
You have full freedom to design your website and customize it to the brand's image. And you also have full freedom to analyze customer behavior. If you are losing customers, you can find out exactly where they are leaving the sites. You can tweak your website to make customers stay and keep coming back.
Have a blog, put out interesting content; there’s a lot more creative freedom. You get new customers through Facebook and you keep your customers using your website.
What’s great about also having a website, is that it’s easier for you as a business owner to use as well. When you’re taking orders from Facebook, you can use your website to enter and organize those clients’ data and store them in the database.
Can Having a Website Also Boost My Facebook Presence And Vice Versa?
Yes, but very little. It's difficult to increase your reach on your website without using social media at all. Generally, a lot of your early website traffic would come from Facebook or other social channels as your website builds up its online reputation. So your Facebook presence will greatly boost your website, but vice versa, it's much less common.
If you take Facebook out of the marketing equation, you will get most of your traffic from Google searches or from people using other websites or social media. Customers who visit your website first can click on your Facebook link or socials to find out more about your business. But it usually doesn't happen because your website pretty much contains everything they might need.
When your customers might have a query or if they want to talk to you, (provided you don’t have a website chat widget) they might go to your Facebook link and knock the page. Again, Facebook is great for communicating with your audience.
The other reason a person might look for or visit your Facebook page is to see if you are legit. It can often be harder to trust a website when you're in charge of everything. On Facebook, you see real customers posting reviews, and other potential customers can judge your business based on that.
If they see that you are present on social media and that there are real interactions and happy customers, they are more likely to trust you and make a purchase from your website. Since a website is much more polished, and a lot of businesses do post fake reviews, it can be difficult to trust a website without checking out other social networks.
But you are much more likely to get traffic from your Facebook page to your website than vice versa. With proper redirection, a lot of customers may visit your website and check out what you have to offer. And when they see that you have a website, it can also help to build their trust in you and make you seem more professional. It also shows that you've invested and put in the effort.
So you see, these two work best when they work together. A Facebook page will help boost your website traffic and a website will help people get to your Facebook page as well. They both have shortcomings, but one makes up for the other. This is why you should use them together to reap the benefits of both.
I’m not telling you to quit social media or denying its perks and benefits. But any good business should have a more permanent online presence that is much more stable and that you can own yourself.
That’s why it’s not so much a question of Facebook vs Website, but rather using the best parts of each of these together, to grow your business. All the best!