Recently I had a client mention to me that they had no interest in developing their own website for their company. The reasoning behind this was that they have a Facebook Official Page and that, in their mind, served their purpose. After all, it’s got their logo/branding on it, they interact daily with their customers, and the biggest reason; it’s cheap.
Though I understand all of those points (and trust me – they are valid), when you weigh out the pros and cons, it just doesn’t add up.
Here are a few things to consider.
On Facebook, you’re playing in someone else’s playground with someone else’s rules. In the past year or two, we’ve seen a serious crackdown at Facebook with regard to business pages. Your cover photo can’t reference your website address or give any contact information, it must include minimal (20% of the space) content or copy and contests or promotions are harshly regulated.
Though you have the ability to interact on a personal level with your customer base, Facebook can, at any time, decide not to play nicely with you. Recently Kirk Cameron discovered this when his new film was banned by the social media mogul. For hours on end people were unable to post anything in their status updates about the film, the website or even just the name! Facebook put a serious halt to those marketing efforts. (It’s my suspicion that someone – or perhaps a group of people – turned in Cameron’s film for being spam. An automatic system will shut down whatever is being linked to or talked about until Facebook has the chance to go through their records and do their own research.) Now to be honest, it ended up working to the film’s favor. Cameron put his own post out on his own page about it and thanks to the power of grass roots marketing, his fanbase reacted. Not only that, they reacted strongly. Facebook was not only inundated with complaints and concerns about it (and subsequently put the film back into circulation on its pages) but the news media took OFF with the information! Outlets went crazy at the idea that a social media company as huge as Facebook would take action against a film in this manner.
There was a happy ending for Cameron’s story – including a mountain of publicity, but unless your fans or clients are as rabidly passionate as his are, yours will likely not have a similar ending. Without a mass outcry like what he was able to get, Facebook could take weeks, months, or years to sort through your page and decide whether your company is worthy or not. It would be easy to see this happening to a business and have them waiting weeks or even months for investigations to be completed.
Facebook is a highly effective and valuable resource when included as a part of a larger marketing plan. So many companies are now using it that without a Facebook page or presence, your business isn’t looked upon as legitimate or real. It’s important to keep all of this in mind when figuring out where and how Facebook fits into your plan.
It’s definitely important to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites as part of your plan, but don’t rely on any of them as your sole or whole presence online. If so, you’re handing over branding and marketing of your company to a corporation that doesn’t know or care who you are or what you do.