There’s no denying the popularity of Facebook – and by now we all know that it’s important for businesses too. In fact, there are more than 13 million local business pages on Facebook, which accumulate 150 million visitors daily. But I am surprised at the number of small businesses which seem to think a Facebook page is all they need.
Because creating a Facebook page is free, it’s often one of the first tasks for those starting up. Too often, small business owners don’t realise that a Facebook page alone is not enough to market themselves. The truth is that after liking your page, only 2% of your Facebook fans will actually return to it.
This may not worry you if you’re more interested in building your fan base so you can get your content into fans’ news feeds. But unfortunately, no matter how many fans you have, you won’t reach them all with your posts. Content and offers from your Facebook page actually only reach a small percentage of your fans organically (reported to be around 16%).
Facebook encourages you to promote your posts, pushing them higher up in your fans’ news feeds. The prices are low and this may seem worthwhile, but for the cost of just one sponsored post you could build your own small business website, with features which make it vastly superior to a Facebook page.
A Facebook page can work well as a supplement to your small business website, but is not adequate on its own. A Facebook page lacks features which are present on a website (e.g. Booking, Online Ordering, Image Portfolios, Google Friendly & Local SEO tools, etc.), it looks far less professional, and your content is unlikely to be seen.
At bOnline, a large number of our small business customers rank on page 1 of Google search results for a monthly cost of £8.95. Local SEO works for small businesses with local coverage and relevant content. It may not be free, but it will drive far more traffic than a standalone Facebook business page.
Of course, I’m not saying you should abandon social media. It’s an important part of an online marketing strategy for a small business, but it’s a strategy which should revolve around a website. I recommend using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to share interesting content and offers, with the intention of pushing customers to your website. After all, when potential customers conduct a web search for your product or service, they’ll be looking for a website if they are to take your business seriously.