Social media is a boon to small businesses, but are those platforms full-on substitutions for a company website? Short answer: no. Long answer: read on!

but i have a facebook page!

I couldn’t find a more current number, but in late 2016, Facebook had some 60 million business pages. And that makes complete sense, when you remember that setting up a Facebook business page is fast and free and gives you access to a bunch of people.

But let’s think a little harder about that access.

You can spend twenty minutes setting up your page, but it’s not doing anything if no one likes it. So your first hurdle is in getting some action on that page, easily accomplished by offering some kind of value to your potential customers and clients. The catch is keeping these people interested. When people who like your page stop engaging with your content and stop checking you out, Facebook will assume the obvious and quit serving up your posts on those people’s news feeds. And out of sight, out of mind isn’t just a catchy saying if you know what I mean.

The default move is then to start promoting by boosting your content, where you pay a certain amount to appear on the pages of people who once liked your page or to get in front of a new audience entirely. In other words – you start paying for visibility. Hmmm.

And then there’s the issue of brand control.

Sure, you can slap your logo into the profile picture space and use an on-brand cover photo. But you just don’t have the kind of brand control on a Facebook (or Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) page that you do on your own website. On a website, you’re in control of everything, from the design to the voice to the flow. You can influence the path that a visitor takes through useful links and thoughtful site layouts. You can provide all kinds of valuable content that will keep people interested – with none of the Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest competition, when distractions are everywhere and attention spans are limited.

Oh, and let’s not forget the value of search-engine optimization.

Yes, Facebook pages can be found through search engines, but you don’t have the benefit of SEO in quite the same way. Effective business blogging is the key to a small business’ online visibility, and even the wittiest status update can’t begin to compare.

the bottom line? You need it all

No, a Facebook page and other social media accounts for your business shouldn’t be a substitute to a legitimate and high-performing company website. But yes, social media is generally a good move, if only for the inbound links. You can use these accounts as platforms for sharing all that awesome blog content and as extra avenues for driving traffic to your site.

If that sounds like a lot of work, feel free to set up a time to pick my brain. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.