Facebook is all around us, and ever since Facebook pages have been redesigned to look more like Facebook profiles, they have been gaining a lot of attention from small organizations and big companies alike. I’ve been giving it some thought and for 80-90% of websites out there, it makes sense to make their Facebook Page the primary mode of communication and elivery of whatever value they have to offer.
I came across a great blog post titled “The Facebook Page is the New Website” and the author outlines 4 reasons to back up the claim:
1. Facebook has the numbers and loyalty
2. Searches WITHIN Facebook continue to grow
3. Facebook isn’t just for young people anymore
4. People use Facebook to organize
——-I’ll add 2 reasons – SEO & EASE OF USE.
5. SEO - Search Engine Optimization is great for fan pages. These pages get very high ranking on Google searches, which means you spend less time having to worry about optimizing your website. By the way, here’s a list of Facebook Fan Page SEO strategies to optimize your fan page for Google searches.
6. EASE OF USE – Here’s the big one in my eyes. The new web is about giving everyone a voice, not just those that work at the big PR firms. Anyone with a laptop can wield enormous power that a decade ago would have been unthinkable. Same goes for websites vs. fan pages. Very few people actually know how to develop a website, and its a big cash outlay to pay for development. And once you have the site how you want it, it will often go dead since you don’t want to pay for little upgrades here and there. I know many sites that haven’t been updated in over 3 years because of this.
What a Facebook Page allows you to do is 1)easily setup an online presence for free that 2)looks professional and 3) you can easily update whenever you want. Now I know, most of the fan pages out there may not seem top of the line professional. True, you are never going to have fan pages that look like professionaly developed websites. However for those that just need an online presence to give information and have conversations, fan pages are it. Plus, you can always do something like what BMW of Minnetonka did, this is a great example of a fan page, and they integrated some cool functionality pieces for inventory.
The key to making the fan page your own is the static fbml application, which you add to your fan page. What this does is allow you to add as many custom tabs as you’d like, where you have a blank canvas to place any html code you’d like. This gives you the flexibility that normally fan pages don’t provide.
It’s quite plausible that as Facebook becomes more and more pervasive throughout the world, many businesses will start making their fan page a substitute to any kind of external website, not a complement to the site. And if they still want a professional e-mail and web presence, then simply buy the domain, and have it forward to your Facebook Page.
Now this is certainly not appropriate for every business. Many will need to have a separate website if their functionality is delivered through their site, however if you are using the site as an advertising, sales, informational tool, I urge you to think ahead of the curve and make your fan page a key aspect of your business, and maybe the only website you’ll ever need.