Facebook is an easy way to create a digital presence for your small business. Creating a page is free, easy and can potentially reach a huge audience. There are no design issues to worry about and the standardised layout of pages means potential customers don’t have to hunt for contact information and opening hours. But can it replace a website? I would argue that it can’t for the following reasons:
You don’t own your Facebook page
Because Facebook owns your Facebook page, they can make changes to designs, layouts and policies as they see fit and potentially without warning. This could come as a nasty surprise and have a negative impact on your brand.
You can’t fully control the content on your Facebook page
While you can control portions of what appears on your Facebook page, you can’t control all of it. You may find adverts that you don’t want to be associated with appear on your page. You may even find that your competition advertises on your page!
You could be perceived as less professional than your competitors
Customers may perceive a business that has a hastily put together Facebook page as less professional than a business that has an effective, well presented website. It is likely they will expect a business’s online presence to be a reflection of the business as a whole and the work that they do.
Your content is unlikely to rank well in Google
Search engines (like Google) give more importance to websites than Facebook pages, so you are unlikely to rank as well as a competitor who has their own website. And because you have limited control over your Facebook page there’s not much you can do to improve your ranking.
So, what’s the answer?
In my opinion the best approach is to have your own website (which is central to your business and you have full control of) and a Facebook page which you can use to drive traffic to your website.