Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do You Really Need Your Own Website?

Last week, I posted something to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jah38; go ahead and send me a friend request) about Super Bowl ads that showed a company's Facebook page rather than a conventional .com page.  I missed a few, but brands such as Budweiser, Doritos, and Ritz fell into this category.  Why would a company do this?  Those pages are only accessible to the half-billion people with active Facebook accounts.  Here are some of my thoughts and things you need to consider before going down this path yourself.

1. You can bet they did their research!  They determined that members of their target markets were heavy Facebook users.  Don't go down this path unless it makes sense for you.

2. Facebook is a known format. Users know what they're getting from a Facebook page.  Sure, a company can hire web engineers to create new tabs for a business page, but the look and feel is somewhat standardized.  This makes it attractive to consumers.

3. Likes are golden.  With a click of a button, a user can choose to receive updates from these brands in the user's news feed.  Websites don't offer that.  Referring back to a post I wrote last week (Keeping the "Social" in Social Media), Facebook is a leading tool that can facilitate a relationship between a company or brand and the public.  It looks like these brands are moving toward relationships rather than simply telling people stuff.

4. Cost may be lower.  This isn't so important for a huge company that can afford to advertise during the Super Bowl, but it is for most business owners.  Having a basic Facebook page is "free" once you have a computer, internet connection, etc.  However, it takes time to manage the relationship with the public.  Be sure to build in that hidden cost as you think about this strategy.

So, do you need a website?  Probably!  Each of these brands still has a website.  Most small-scale farm and food businesses, however, can probably have a low frills website with some of the more engaging content on Facebook if that's where the customers are.

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