This is a topic I have been thinking about for a while and the recent article on BizReport prompted me to finally write this post.
As I was travelling this summer I started to see more and more business advertise their Facebook page instead of their domain name. It was not only big brands that were doing this, but smaller brands too.
So the BizReport article ask’s this question at the top of the post:
Are Facebook Pages killing websites? Does your company need a website? This question is being asked in boardrooms around the globe as figures and consumer behavior suggests websites are losing out to Facebook Pages.
According to Adage several big brands’ Facebook Pages are seeing more activity than their websites:
For example, Kraft Foods’ Oreo is the number 3 brand page on Facebook, with a fan base of over 10.1 million growing at a rate of 71,000 new fans each a day. Meanwhile, their branded website, NabiscoWorld.com, has seen U.S. traffic drop in the last year from 1.2 million in July, 2009, to just 321,000 in July this year.
Research by digital consultancy Beyond, found that almost a quarter (23%) of consumers would prefer to receive information from brands via Facebook, rather than a brand’s website (21%) or company blog (3%).”
“So is it time to turn off the web site?” asks Beyond’s MD EMEA Nick Rappolt. “I would say that for low involvement brands the answer is much more likely to be yes. However, for high involvement brands the answer is an unequivocal no. ”
I cannot disagree more with Nick Rappolt’s statement. Yes a Facebook page should be part of your online marketing plans. That is a given today.
But putting the online face of your company or brand to a third-party is asking for trouble. Besides the obvious that you can never get the same level of analytics you could from your own property, what about if Facebook changes the rules in the future. Or, what happens if Facebook suddenly falls out of favor, or disappears.
It could happen. The net is full of social networking sites that have all died. Compuserve, Prodigy, Orkut, Bebo and even MySpace to some extent. These are all social Networks that dominated their market for a while, before crashing and burning. If you had used one of them solely to create you online presence, all that time and effort you had put into it would have been nothing. If you had built a web site and used these sites as another marketing channel, then customers and prospects could still find you, even when these other channels died.
Bottom line: Don’t build your online presence solely on a third party platform. Build your online presence around a domain and use these other marketing channels to reach out and interact with people.