There is no doubt that a strong digital presence is vital for business in our world today. The differences of opinion arise when discussing how and where to maintain that digital presence and how much to spend on maintaining it. Options and opinions are legion, and each one is backed by sound reasoning. Moreover, everyone has their favorite digital medium.
A still-recurring question among business owners concerns utilizing either a website or a Facebook business page. Both options provide key benefits. The problem with this either-or view is that it confuses the issue of maintaining a comprehensive digital presence for your business. The question businesses should be asking is, “How does each piece of my digital repertoire add value to my overall marketing strategy?”
With this new question before us, let’s examine both Facebook business pages and websites to ascertain their place in your digital business arsenal.

Facebook Business Pages

Many people are already Facebook users for personal social media, so it’s natural to see a Facebook business page as an easier and more familiar option than a website or blog. The big hook with Facebook is their business pages are free. When looking at the ability to save time and money in your digital marketing, Facebook is an appealing option, especially for small businesses.
However, while there are some customizable features to a Facebook business page, the amount of branding and personalization allowed is severely limited. Although your logo and pictures are allowed, all is subordinated to the blue Facebook band and your content, offers, updates, and promotions are subject to the guidelines established by Facebook.
Proponents of Facebook business pages always highlight the 1.4 billion active monthly users and tout the access to a growing customer base. This is, of course, a basic tenet of business advertising: go where the people are. Conversely, those millions of people using Facebook does not translate into millions of people seeing your page and its content. Your followers will see what you post to Facebook, but not all of your followers will see all your posts on their newsfeed. There is still hard work ahead to gain an audience, so don’t be dazzled by large numbers.
When users think of mobile-friendly and up-to-date platforms, Facebook heads their lists. Since Facebook is a huge company with millions of users, you can count on regular updates and ongoing mobile optimization. Keeping up with evolving mobile requirements can cause serious headaches, so using Facebook allows the big-budget company to do the hard work for you. But, allowing a big company to handle the optimizing and updating for you means you also surrender control and some level of accessibility. When you depend solely on Facebook, you have little, if any, input on each new update or improvement.
Facebook may be the best tool for your online efforts, but you should understand what you give up in exchange for a popular and easy-to-use platform. If you’re a new company, it’s a great place to begin. For larger, more established businesses, you should use Facebook as part of your online strategy, but not the only online strategy.

Your Home on the Web

A website is the “front door to your online home.” Your business website is THE place to show who you really are as a brand. With your own site you get much more control over the first impression you give first-time clients. Owning and maintaining a business website shows professionalism and credibility. Facebook is free; but do you really want your first impression to be, “I’m the business that is too cheap to build a website?”
On your website, you have complete control of all your content, how it’s viewed, arranged and how you want to use it. It’s your own space. Tired of the look or design? Change it completely with a fresh theme and reorganize your site’s appearance with no loss of content. In addition, while there are great Facebook plugins for e-commerce, they are still limited. With your own website, e-commerce options are limitless.
Not only do you have more access, but those searching for you or the services or products you provide also enjoy greater access. Although search engines like Google do index Facebook pages, a website allows for tailored SEO settings that make your website easier to locate. Once again, a website presents a more professional look on search engines than Facebook pages. If you only have Facebook and your competitors have both, guess who will likely be chosen? And, what if your competitor’s ads show up on your Facebook business page?
Potential customers with limited resources to spend want to learn a little more about who you are and what you’re about. A dedicated website enables you to have complete control over your brand and how it is presented. It acts as your main hub on the web where potential customers can go for all the information they need to make sound purchasing decisions.

A Simple Analogy for Comparison

A telling analogy to illustrate the differences between Facebook business pages and websites is a Party vs. a Business. Facebook is like a busy party atmosphere. It’s great and it’s fun to hang out, but when you need to have a substantial conversation, it’s just not the place. In fact, even when looking directly at someone in the room, it’s almost impossible to make yourself heard.
Even when you engage someone in conversation at a party, a 30-second synopsis of your business is usually the best you can do. Anything more seems like a hungry salesman in attack mode. If interested, your listener may ask a question regarding what you’ve shared, but for a fuller explanation, you’ll both have to go outside to a quieter location. And let’s face it, parties are for fun, not business. At parties, you hand out business cards; at your place of business, you offer serious solutions.
Your website is your business location. It is your own place where people can drop by and chat one-on-one over a virtual cup of coffee without all the noise. The party was last night; today, we’re talking about their needs and your solutions. And since it is your space, you can put your best foot forward without competing for their attention, because you control everything they see. Party vs. business. Where would you choose to have a serious business conversation?

Add Another Spoke to Your Wheel

Let’s go back to my original question at the beginning of this post. “How does each piece of my digital repertoire add value to my overall marketing strategy?” When viewing Facebook business pages and websites through this lens, how and when each should be used becomes clear. Allow me another analogy: a bicycle wheel.
A wheel has an outer rim with numerous spokes that all connect to the hub, or center of the wheel. Your digital business strategy should resemble such a wheel. You have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, a LinkedIn Profile, an Instagram page, maybe even a Pinterest page. There are others as well, even mobile apps. They all point users to your digital hub where substantial information can be found and business is conducted. Your website is the hub where all the good stuff concerning your business is located.
As internet users float around the outer rim of your wheel, they interact with different spokes according to their personal preferences. More spokes leading to your hub means more opportunities for your business to be located and utilized by consumers. Let your Facebook business page be yet another spoke that leads potential customers to your hub.

About the Author: Donna Amos

I believe you can achieve anything you truly want to achieve. “It might sound trite, but time and time again, I’ve seen it happen with my clients. They overcome the fear of exposing themselves to the possibility of failure to creating profitable exciting businesses. My clients do great work, and sometimes it only takes someone else believing in them to give them the confidence to step out and take the chance.”