by Jeanine Vecchiarelli return to JayVee Media Link LLC
On the heels of all the new features afforded business pages by Facebook’s new Timeline layout, I am frequently asked, “Should I just forego my website altogether and conduct all my business through Facebook?” My answer is an immediate, resounding NO!
Before I go any further, I want to affirm that it is not my intention to attack the platform. As far as business pages go, I think the Timeline format brings lots of good possibilities for marketing our goods and services. But there are several reasons why my answer is both instantaneous and negative. Ultimately, each one of them comes back to the issue of control.
My first reason is exemplified by the very rollout of the new platform. It seems that Facebook is ALWAYS changing things around, adding new features that we need to learn to incorporate, dropping features we have relied on heavily, and altering the appearance/layout. While some occasional, more minor changes are healthy, consistency is the key for prospective/current clients. More radical change is unsettling for us as page owners; think how our clients must feel! Alas, we can’t control what Facebook chooses to do with its platform.
My second rationale for advising against dropping one’s website in favor of a Facebook page involves both control and ownership. The Facebook honchos set the rules and regulations for users of their platform. In the past there has been some wiggle room regarding these terms of service. But as Facebook comes closer to its public offering, the powers that be have doubled down. This is an issue that goes beyond our not being free to present our companies and market our goods/services the way we would like to do. Worse, even the most minor perceived violation of terms of service can and has resulted in unannounced profile shut downs. And as anyone who has ever made an effort can attest, there is no means to contact, let alone appeal your case to, the platform administrators. Think of the catastrophe that would result if you lost all your business information, fans, notifications, blog posts, etc. What a completely devastating nightmare! Now think of that happening to a merchant who gave up his/her website and relied strictly on Facebook for business. With our own websites, we are the masters of our information. And, we are free to set up and market as we choose.
My third reason again addresses ownership in the sense of how our messages are controlled by the frequent changes in Facebook’s algorithms. The most recent modifications heavily incentivize the use of the platform’s paid ads. Where it used to be that simply having our pages “liked” was enough to allow our business posts to be seen in the news feeds of those people who clicked our “like” buttons, there is no guarantee of that happening anymore. Because of the algorithm alterations, as well as the increased volume of “liked” pages, the best way to guarantee that our messages show up in those news feeds now is to purchase Facebook ads that point to the information on our pages. As Adam Justice wrote in his blog post The Truth About Facebook Advertising, “Facebook themselves don’t want brands to get immeasurable value from fan pages. If you could reach all interested users with a status update, there is really no reason to buy Facebook ads other than to generate new likes…the trend is to make brand pages less effective to elicit further advertisement…” Hence again, Facebook has ultimate say over how our messages are distributed, and how far their reach will extend.
In light of the explanations I offer here, it is always my suggestion to keep our websites. Facebook business pages are very valuable tools in our social media marketing toolboxes. They are an integral part of our social media campaigns. That is the way they should be viewed and utilized.
What are your feelings regarding keeping our websites vs. giving them up and relying on our Facebook business pages to take their place? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!