Business’ Shift In Focus From Websites To Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages vs. Websites This is a guestpost by Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack

Companies are pushing their Facebook Pages like never before. No matter where you look – from online advertising and marketing to television and print ads, billboards, and even business cards – you’ll see “Find us on Facebook” or that iconic lower-case “f”. With Facebook’s 800 million users, it only makes sense for companies to place their products or services where they have the opportunity for so much exposure. And with sharing, commenting, and Liking, Facebook gives companies the power to reach more people than they ever could have with a traditional website. Since Facebook is getting so much love, what’s happening to traditional websites?

Less Attention From Companies

Increased emphasis on Facebook Pages means less emphasis on traditional websites. It’s trend that’s still on an upward swing as more and more companies realize the advantages of a strong social media presence.

Ford was one of the earliest companies to promote their Facebook Page. In advertisements, both online and in traditional media, they directed customers to checkout Ford on Facebook, not on Ford.com. At the time, it was an unheard of practice. Fast forward several years and most major companies have established their own Facebook presence and reaped the benefits. As the remaining companies play catch-up, there will be even more emphasis placed on Facebook Pages, and less on websites.

Users Are Looking For Social Interaction

People love being able to make online tasks that would otherwise be solitary, social. That’s why so many people are visiting businesses on Facebook, instead of at their old URLs. A snowboarder looking for new bindings can browse different manufacturer’s websites, but his options are pretty limited. He can look at the specs, choose a model, and make a purchase. But on Facebook, he can get opinions from his friends on the model he’s chosen. Their good or bad reviews of the product help him make an informed purchase. If there’s a problem with shipping or a defect in the product, the snowboard company’s Page is his access point to a company representative, and the first step toward getting the problem rectified. His process of purchasing a snowboard went from being simple and solitary to thorough and social.

Facebook Social Interaction

Facebook And Website Synergy

Facebook Pages and traditional websites are being designed to better compliment each other. Each platform has it’s distinct strengths – there’s interaction on Facebook, and robust functionality on websites. Bigger companies have the convenience of hiring both community managers and web designers who are especially adept at recognizing the strengths of Facebook and websites, capitalizing on them the both. They design the two platforms to work together to give their users the content they expect on the platform they’re visiting. The resulting Facebook Page is engaging and social with an available company representative, while the website is highly functional with straightforward operation. The Facebook Page contains links to the website, and the website links visitors to the Facebook Page.

Websites Forced Into Social Media

In some cases, companies try to recreate their websites on Facebook. There’s heavy emphasis on static content, lots of information, and straightforward action, but since that’s not the content Facebook users are after, these pages largely go ignored. Meanwhile, the traditional website is reduced to a placeholder with nothing more than a couple links to the Facebook Page.

Facebook Pages Have Replaced Traditional Websites For Many Small Operations

For family businesses and artists and musicians, it’s easier – and cheaper – to focus their online efforts solely on Facebook. Custom tab applications are a great way for small business owners and artists to design tabs with a professional look and feel at a fraction of the cost of professional design services. Facebook – and a custom tab app – actually has a way of bridging the gap between the presence of big-budget corporations and local shops, putting businesses big and small side-by-side in the same arena.

Websites Remain King Of Functionality

Facebook has cornered the social media market, but websites are more useful for functions outside of social media ideology, and they’re still the platform used for performing straightforward tasks. Furthermore, there are websites like WebMD.com that could never be replicated on Facebook. There is so much information, so much functionality, and it’s such a big name, that WebMD.com will continue to be the online resource for health and wellness related content.

The Future Role Of Websites

Websites will always have a place, but they’ll continue to get less attention as businesses figure out more ways to bring their content to the people, which means we’ll continue to see traffic being directed en mass to the social networking giant at the expense of traditional websites.

This is a guestpost by Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack, an easy-to-use Facebook platform-based application that gives businesses the power to create custom tabs for Facebook pages with content ranging from contests and promotions to products and videos.

Photo Credit: Goiaba

  • I have definitely seen this shift. It’s been interesting to watch the change. It used to be all about websites and forums, but now people are heading to a company’s Facebook in order to ask questions, leave feedback, etc. 

    While there may be a shift, websites aren’t going anywhere. 😉 Facebook just makes it a bit easier to connect with companies than their website. 

  • Facebook is a much safer interface for people (who knows if a viewer will get hit with pop ups, spammed, tracked etc)

    Facebook page is as simple or simpler than Tumblr/Posterous for blogging and you can connect. Also don’t have to worry about search results putting you at the bottom. Just have to watch those privacy controls!

  • Businesses should NEVER forget that they OWN their website content, whereas on Facebook, or other platforms for that matter, they do not. Who knows what new policy Facebook may come out with tomorrow?

  • Ben Keen

    For someone (or a small company) with a limited budget, Facebook does make it easier to have some sort of online presence.  Sure, the turn “ownership” of the site might rest with Facebook but it is still a powerful tool for those without any website management experience or a limited budget.  I think the other reason you are seeing more and more companies promote their Facebook page or their own is that Facebook supplies a lot of free advertising.  Let’s not forget, every time someone “Likes” a page all their friends see it and might check it out and like it and so on and so on.  Where are if you have a company site as a Favorite stored in your browser no one else sees that unless you share it.

  • Mail

    I thinks that’s an aspect that has been ignored. Remember that local online newspaper/news website that migrated al of it’s activities to their Facebook page, while terminating their website? It was revolutionary back then, but on the longer term certainly not without the risk of having to start from scratch when something happens, like policy changes, Facebook being blown out of the water bij G+ and turning in to the next MySpace, or an escalation/scandal of privacy issues that will destroy FB.

  • While agree that it is beneficial for companies to promote of Facebook, I always remind my clients that they dont own the rights to their content on Facebook.  Facebook can change at any moment and they need to have a website in addition to their facebook presence.

  • Your content on Facebook alone becomes Facebooks’ asset. What happens to your business when another shiny new network takes the reins? Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is the true leveller for small business marketing and the simplest way to build a strong following, but there are cleverer ways to leverage it.

    Build your asset on your own domain and syndicate it out to Facebook using an RSS feed and Facebook notes app. This way you get the best of both worlds. You’re building your asset and lending your content to facebook. 

  • tj

    the typos are hurting your credibility big time.

  • tj

    i.e. its vs. it’s, compliment vs. complement 

  • Interesting ideas, Jim. I think over time Facebook will open up to be more customiseable for brands in terms of being able to sell their products (that dreadful old word ‘f-commerce’!)

    I think Facebook provides excellent opportunities particularly to local companies who would struggle to maintain and invest in a good website that engages with customers. 

  • Like many have said in the previous comments, this is a dangerous trend to build your online presence only on Facebook.

    If you can’t afford your own website, perhaps you should reconsider going into business.  Only having a Facebook page and not your own website decreases your credibility.

  • Anonymous

    Very good point, Ric. Businesses do have to bend to the rules of Facebook. But Facebook also has the audience that websites don’t. Like Ben Keen said, the free advertising to that captive audience will keep drawing businesses.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, Marcus. Because of the audience on Facebook, I think it only makes sense for small, local mom-and-pop shops to invest both time and money in a strong Facebook presence.

  • Anonymous

    Great points, Chris!

  • Anonymous

    rdfb

  • thanks Jim – nice job on the article; does it worry you if more and more online business, advertising, purchases etc head toward Facebook?

  • Facebook pages and websites both have their own advantages, so at the end of the day, it’s really a good idea for businesses to have (and maintain) both.  People have raised some great points in the comments for this article with regard to some advantages of Facebook pages (e.g. the built in advertising when someone Likes your page) as well as some advantages of websites (e.g. ownership of content).  Another factor to consider is that Facebook is huge and there are many internet users who love it and use it frequently, but there are also internet users who have not yet joined Facebook or who have left Facebook.  Facebook pages will cater to people who like Facebook, while websites allow companies to reach out to other internet users as well.

  • Yes Facebook has revolutionized way web works. People are now buying a domain and redirecting it to their Facebook page. This has helped in getting more likes on their Facebook page and has also helped in maintaining their online reputation. Also brands tend to integartae their whole service on Facebook and this has made management of single page much better. And this helps in improving ROI for business.

  • Yes Facebook has revolutionized way web works. People are now buying a domain and redirecting it to their Facebook page. This has helped in getting more likes on their Facebook page and has also helped in maintaining their online reputation. Also brands tend to integartae their whole service on Facebook and this has made management of single page much better. And this helps in improving ROI for business.

  • With the arrival of so many apps that help people to create stunning Facebook landing pages, the pages outrank the original websites themselves. Almost everyone has ditched the default boring FB page looks and have embraced the pro looks. Most people have dumped their whole blogs in single tabs. Way to go!

  • I agree with Kelly…although YOU might own a trademark and brand, the content on your Facebook page is still within the walls of Facebook…also, if really using Facebook pages to market, most businesses must use the “talking about” and “viral” metrics as one of the ways to measure how well they are doing. Increasing Edgerank is a big deal and businesses are also going to benefit from using Facebook Ads…at least use “Page Post Story” and “Like Stories” at a minimum, to keep the posts/stories in front of current fans AND friends of fans… I’ve seen anywhere from a 18-350% lift in impressions and conversions, just by running these type of ads.

  • Great blog post by the way…not sure why the comments posted me twice though! 🙂

  • its really an effective approach to make a facebook page related to the business coz it will only direct the traffic related to the needs 

  • Companies are pushing their Facebook Pages like never before. No matter
    where you look – from online advertising and marketing to television and
    print ads, billboards, and even business cards

  • Increased emphasis on Facebook Pages means less emphasis on
    traditional websites. It’s trend that’s still on an upward swing as more
    and more companies realize the advantages of a strong social media
    presence.
     

  • It’s trend that’s still on an upward swing as more and more companies realize the advantages of a strong social media presence.

  • Since Facebook is getting so much love, what’s happening to traditional websites?

  • Increased emphasis on Facebook Pages means less emphasis on
    traditional websites. It’s trend that’s still on an upward swing as more
    and more companies realize the advantages of a strong social media
    presence.

  • MyhaelaS

    The change should be longer than I imagined if I forward my ideas to my brain.
    http://racebook.co