The internet is a constantly evolving entity, and the trends shift and change with each passing day. Yet one trend that is not going away is social media, and Web 2.0. There are currently over 500,000,000 active users on Facebook: more than the population of the United States and Russia combined. Only a few years ago, it was a fraction of that number. Combine that with the fact that signing up for a Facebook account and page is completely free, and you have an extremely potent and cost effective marketing tool on your hands. It should come as no surprise that numerous and major companies have taken advantage of Facebook to develop engaging experiences for customers. According to a survey of 3300 marketers done by Social Media Examiner, 85% use Facebook to market their companies. That means for both B2C and B2B companies, Facebook is undoubtedly a platform capable of reaching their target audiences. So much so, in fact, that a few companies have been asking themselves a question; If I have a Facebook page, why do I need a website at all?
Facebook has a lot going for it. Its free, easy to use, has built-in tools to connect to your customers, and comes with a huge potential customer base. For small startup companies, its an attractive option because it requires barely any investment, and has a potentially high ROI. But theres a reason I believe a website is completely essential to a brand experience. Customization. Customization is something Facebook inherently lacks, mainly because its locked into a standard interface. When youre selling a service, youre not just trying to sell your product, but also a comprehensive experience. A website is an undeniable part of that experience, and you can customize it in a way you simply cant your Facebook page.
And you should, because Facebook is primarily an engagement platform, not a selling platform. In fact, figures from the US Department of Commerce have indicated that sales on social media make up only 1% of total eCommerce. Not only that, a 2010 survey on Facebook users found that 73% of them were not will to purchase merchandise on the social networking site. With that in mind, its clearly a bad idea to focus all your sales efforts on a Facebook page. Well, some on-the-ground companies looking to expand online might ask, thats fine if we were planning to sell online, but what if were not? Theres an answer behind that too. Once again, it leads back into customization. When youre building a brand experience, its ultimately a bad idea to limit yourself in the way you express that experience. With a website, you can modify the number of pages you want, you can put as many promotions or information you want on them, and you can include live chat, links, videos, and documents. All of these things extremely restricted on Facebook, and by limiting them, you are limiting your brand.
In what ways have you used Facebook to further engage your customers?