Recently, I was looking for moving companies in Nairobi on Facebook; and I couldn’t fail to notice Bustani Movers.
They had four Facebook pages for each of their branches across the country, and on checking each of the pages – it was obvious that they had a very engaged audience. So, I wanted to know more about them and immediately went to the ‘About Us’ section of their Facebook Pages, to get their website – I couldn’t find any.
I went further and performed a search on Google, to find their website.
….and no website showed up.
Just like Bustani Movers, many businesses have it nice and flowing with their Facebook Page, and may not immediately feel the need of a website. That is not correct though, they should also have a website in place – and here are the main reasons why.
Social media sites are typically designed to allow humans to connect and network, whereas, personal business websites are typically designed to profile a business, personal brand or product.
When you have a website, you have complete ownership over it.
You get to decide what to put on your website, how you want it displayed, what your terms of service are and the type of interactions you want to have with your customers. On Facebook and other social media platforms, you’re essentially leasing space on their platform. You’re constrained by their layout, their terms of service and their features in how you represent your business.
What happens when these social media platforms drop in popularity or go out of business, like what happened with MySpace?
When you’ve built your own website, no one can take it away from you.
Despite having many users, not everyone is on Facebook.
Currently, Facebook has around 8 million active users in Kenya – while more than 20 million Kenyans regularly access the internet. By relying on Facebook alone, you will be missing out on a big part of your target audience, especially if Facebook is not popular among your target audience.
When your business is still small, you may not appreciate the importance of data and analysis of them. But as you scale, it becomes apparent.
Your website analytics can tell you a wealth of information about your customers, the pages they visit, how long they spend, what page they go to next on your site, where they’re located, the kind of content that they resonate with, and so much more.
Facebook shows you how many people like your page or your post, among other primary metrics – but you cannot use them out of Facebook.
Ultimately, it’s hard to recommend a Facebook page as a straight replacement for a company website. It’s simply too limited and proprietary to establish the trust and credibility inferred by a dedicated website; and despite search engines, like Google, prominently displaying Facebook pages in their listings, a standalone website has far more scope for performing strongly in the search engine results.
That, however, doesn’t mean that your Facebook page is worthless. Having a presence on the world’s most popular social media site still provides a significant source of social media traffic and activity.