Over the past few weeks, I worked on developing a web contest. The client had asked for something that would drive visitor returns and would address some specific prospects he was trying to sell as advertisers.
We built the pages, incorporating the ads submitted by the advertisers who had bought in to the contest. I called the local ad manager and asked for the links, where each ad needed to point. When I got it back, I called again and said that I needed the actual website URLs, not the advertisers’ Facebook pages.
“Those where I put Facebook addresses don’t have websites. They just use Facebook.”
I had heard of this but no one I’ve been doing work for exists with Facebook as their door to the world. So all of you who have companies or businesses relying on Facebook, stop it! I can’t be more clear than that. Just stop it.
The Internet does provide a door to your business. It’s a great one. It’s one that should
- Be welcoming to prospects
- Tell visitors what you do or what you make
- Allow you to offer multiple screens of information, promotion and user feedback
Bottom line is that you want to invite people in, show them around, tell them what you do and show them how you and your products can help them. Your business is unique so you want to have the freedom and flexibility to tell your story your way.
Facebook isn’t the place for that.
- You’re stuffed into their format. The layout is the same for everyone, you have little control of placement on or design of a page
- You have no real branding – Facebook is their brand. Proof? “Your” URL will end in facebook.com.
- Load times can be unforgiveable on Facebook
- Feedback is great but it shouldn’t be the focal point of your site. Hateful consumers can post some pretty nasty comments. I’m a proponent of entertaining those comments and dealing with them on line but to put them front and center defeats the purpose of your site.
- Adding a back room for sales is difficult. Yet just about any web developer has an ecommerce bolt-on that would work with a website.
- You are at their mercy regarding actual content
- Linking to other pages or other sites is almost as difficult as the sales bolt-on. What if you have 5 products. You want to develop pages or arenas around each product where people can link from your home/front page to whichever one they want to find out more about. Not gonna happen in Facebook.
- Visitors will be distracted by Facebook items including the “People Also Like” where competitors’ messages can appear. C’mon! If that doesn’t convince you, what will? Maybe the text ad that runs right below that promoting competitive stores?
So you have the opportunity to stand at your virtual front door and greet prospects as they approach. You can decide what you’re wearing, what’s in the window, what offers might be posted, and where the shopper can go once he or she has entered. And you want to turn that over to a third party? One who could not care less about your business?
The Internet does provide a door to your business. Facebook ain’t it.