When Facebook started being leveraged by businesses, it was a powerful tool for building an audience. Many businesses were able to build substantial followings using nothing but Facebook.
Unfortunately, those days are long past. Here are the ways Facebook works against us, and why it makes sense to double down on your own website.
Lord, save us from algorithms. Every time Mark Zuckerberg and company decide to change up the algorithms to better reflect what the Facebook community wants, small business owners get screwed. Ostensibly, the changes are at the request of the Facebook community, but I think we all know it’s so that Facebook can make more money by forcing businesses to invest in ads or boosting posts in order to be seen. As a Facebook user, I appreciate the idea that my feed won’t be filled up with ads that have little to no relevance to me. As a business owner hoping to build my audience, I’m frustrated that all the hard work I’ve been putting in on Facebook is basically for naught.
There are, of course, tricks to help you leverage your business in the face of these new algorithms. Focusing on Facebook lives and video content and posting more frequently in Facebook groups are the best ways to get your name, face, and business in front of Facebook users. But the likelihood of being seen is still low.
A quick search reveals that there are 80 Facebook profiles that show up when searching my name. And while that may not seem like a lot of competition, if the person seeking you out knows only your name and nothing else — what you look like, where you live — and you’re not the first result? That gets tricky! What is the likelihood that they’ll keep seeking you out? Not much.
But, if your website’s domain is also your name, your chances of being seen goes up exponentially. Who’s got two thumbs, 80 name twins, and owns the URLs? This chick.
Have you noticed that Facebook is not a big fan of external links in your posts? It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to your website, your Etsy store, or someone else’s, any link that could take a user off of Facebook results in that post’s getting an even lower percentage of views. Your website, on the other hand, actually benefits from using outgoing links. It improves your SEO by “proving” to search engines that your site is legitimate. The more links to and from your website, the more your reputation solidifies. And in digital business, a solid reputation is weapon number one.
More than the basics
You can get basic information from a business’s Facebook page: address, phone number, hours of operation, etc. And, sure, visitors can learn a little more in-depth info about your business from your Facebook page, if they take the time to look. But your website is the absolute best place for a potential or existing customer to learn about you and your business. Every customer question that could possibly need answering should be answered on your website. Your website is the forum you really use to tell your story and showcase what it is you do and, more importantly, what you can do.
To me, a business with only a Facebook page and no other visible web presence (not including other social media) is really missing something. No matter where I discover a business, my first act is to go and check out their website. It’s where I know I can find the most information and the most pertinent information.
Realistically speaking, Facebook is still a powerful tool for businesses, if you know how to work with the constantly changing algorithms and are willing to put in the work to leverage it to build your audience. Because it is work. It requires effort to truly build an audience on Facebook, now more than ever before. But a website is a tool that works for you, all the time, even if you’re not actively putting time into it. When you’re ready for this 24/7 audience-building powerhouse, you know where to find me.