As many of you know, I have been in the web design/marketing business for a long time. In that time I have seen lots of fads come and go. Remember Excite, Looksmart, Orkut and MySpace? I do. And the latest – Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook as a social media tool is amazing, and it has lots of useful applications, but lately I’m seeing more and more pure Facebook businesses and it has me scratching my head. As a social media tool, and part of your marketing arsenal, Facebook is great – but to run a business solely from it. Not so much.
Let me back track, a number of years ago I used to follow Google index updates religiously. Websites and businesses lived and died by these updates. In fact loosing your rankings put many businesses out of business. The savvy operators pretty quickly cottoned on that to rely on a third party, who you have no control over, to get customers and make money wasn’t smart. So they diversified. Also known as not putting all your eggs in one basket. I see the situation with Facebook exactly the same way.
Facebook started as a social media application that enabled people to connect and have a conversation. Over time, as usually happens online, people found ways to advertise their business and make money from it. In itself that’s fine. but remember, Facebook is a business too and so far don’t seem to have made much of a ROI. I have no doubt that at some stage they will put into place some sort of advertising fee structure and rules for commercial pages. In fact I’d bet my house on it. If Facebook is your sole means of advertising your wares where does that leave you?
Not convinced? Recently I heard of a business who managed to build over 2500 “Likers” to their Facebook page. Unfortunately they did something to annoy Facebook and their page was deactivated. All that effort and hard work. Gone. And as they had no commercial arrangement there was no one to complain too.
The point of this being – don’t rely on Facebook to build your business. Use it to engage and communicate with your customers but use it as a supplement to your website. Your website is owned by you. You control it, and you decide what can and can’t be done on it. And that can’t be taken away from you.