“Do you rely solely on Facebook for your small business?”
If you do, I understand why you may be. Genuinely.
Without a doubt, the main reason I am told that small business owners do not have a website is because they feel that it is too costly and that investment is out of their control. A Facebook page is free and easy to update.
Everyone uses Facebook. That’s an exaggeration, of course, not everyone uses Facebook (I even know of friends who do not) but almost 2 billion people worldwide are *active users.
Even if you personally do not have a Facebook account, or use it regularly, there’s a good chance that you look at a partner/relative/friends account.
Common sense would say that all businesses need to have a Facebook page.
Yes, they do.
But they also need a website plus other social media.
And in my opinion, the best way to have a business website is for it to be under the business’ ownership.
This means that:
- The business registers their own domain name (rather than a developer/designer being the registree on your behalf)
- The business has web and e-mail hosting set-up under their name and that payment is made from the business to the hosting company directly
- That either the business design their own website, or that a designer is paid to get the site to launch stage but that the site is under the ownership of the business at all times
- Moving forward, the business has responsibility for the maintenance and updating of the site – this does not mean they have to do it themselves, and if they choose not to then they pay for a developers time as required
Above is how I work with customers.
Relying solely on Facebook for your business may seem the easiest option. After all, we all know how to use Facebook and keeping your page updated is simple to do. But simple isn’t always the most successful.
When you own your website – you own it. When you have a Facebook page – Facebook owns it. You do something they do not agree with and you could be shut down. Years of brand equity gone.
Then what do you do?
How many of your followers see your Facebook posts? Have you looked at your reach and worked out as a % how many people actually see it? I’m a successful UK blogger, and in 2012 my reach went from almost 100% to less than 20% overnight – some days it’s less. If you directly ask followers to share and like then Facebook picks this up and you are penalised. It’s a little like an ever decreasing circle – your reach drops, so fewer people like and share your content and potentially your reach decreases further.
Facebook want you to advertise with them – it’s as simple as that. Understandably so – they are a business too.
And that can work – it’s a strategy that needs testing for each individual business to see if it does. However, to rely on Facebook advertising alone is not advised.
If you are prepared to invest in your business by using Facebook advertising, and you do not have a website yet, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about getting one?
A website that has a blog within it. This is where you put the content that you would update Facebook with – and it’s as simple as doing just that once you have done it a few times. This content can even automatically link and update Facebook and other social media for you.
What are the business benefits of blogging (rather than relying on updating Facebook?)
Forbes lists the top ten benefits:
- Increases (organic/non-paid) search engine traffic
- Humanises your brand
- Supports your social media
- Builds authority in your industry
- Increases conversion rates
- Helps generate inbound links
- Helps you rank for long-tail search queries
- Increases leads
- Facilitates valuable discussion
- Allows you to achieve ‘freshness’
This is their summary:
Blogging on your company’s website is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. By providing your own unique thoughts and insights, you naturally grow your search traffic, customer trust and ultimately, sales. To some extent, blogging also levels the playing field with big brands, giving small businesses the unprecedented opportunity to compete with big businesses with big budgets.
Instead of investing time compiling lengthy and stand-alone Facebook posts, or paying for advertising, that time (and money) could be spent creating engaging and potentially highly-searchable content within a website you own. The value that you build with time effort and patience will bring its rewards.
You know where I am if you’d like to find out more – I offer no-obligation informal advice on the best steps for your business to get online and build brand equity while acquiring new customers and business.