Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ten Reasons Why A Facebook Page Is Not A Replacement For A Professional Business Website

By Michael DeAngelis Jr

In a tough economy, business owners are faced with the challenge of marketing their products and services while facing major budget constraints. In order to purchase what you are selling, customers need to be able to find you. They need to differentiate between what you have to offer and competitive products. You have to avoid the commoditization trap and people who are shopping strictly on the basis of price (unless your goal is to be a low-price leader).

In the 21st Century, businesses cannot hope to be competitive and profitable without a strong online presence. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are quickly overtaking traditional desktop and laptop personal computers as the device of choice for customers who want instant and informative data prior to making purchases. If a business lacks a professional and fiercely competitive online presence, the level of missed opportunities cannot be overstated.

While the cost of certain forms of online marketing may seem prohibitive for some small business owners, their free alternatives only offer a solution on the surface. Here are ten reasons why putting together a Facebook page as your sole means of having an online marketing presence will not serve your best long-term goals for success.

1). Facebook isn't "free." You may have heard the adage "If you're not paying for it, you become the product." In exchange for providing the free tools to construct your Facebook page, you exchange a tremendous amount of personal data. Facebook collects data on you, as well as visitors to your page, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you. They also share this data with their partners, and no one knows with absolute certainty how this data will be used in the future.

2). If you are not a Marketing Professional, you cannot deliver a professional marketing message. Quite often the task of putting together a Facebook page or no-cost "template" Website falls to a friend or family member of the business owner. The reality behind this decision is that unless this individual has been trained in the skills and disciplines of professional marketing, the result will be seriously lacking in the elements needed to outdistance the competition. Marketing involves strategy and analysis. It involves understanding what people buy, why they buy, and why they do not. Websites and Facebook pages without a strong marketing foundation become what is referred to as a "Brochure Site," meaning they are subject to a quick glance and are often disposable in the minds of visitors. It has been proven many times that customers make a decision to purchase based on emotions, on a feeling created by their perception of how they will feel after owning the product or service and what it can do for them to make life easier or simply make them feel good. They will then justify their purchase intellectually. If you don't speak their language, you are not selling effectively. Marketing Professionals are keenly aware of positioning and unique value propositions. The customers you seek can purchase products or services from you, or they can purchase those same products or services from your competitors, and your success will be based solely on how effectively you convince them that they will experience the maximum benefits from your company's offerings.

3). Websites will last as long as the Internet, while alternatives can be here today and gone tomorrow. In 2008, MySpace enjoyed over 75 million unique visits per month. Three years later, it became no more than a footnote in cutting-edge Internet options. It was purchased in 2005 for $580 million and sold in 2011 for $35 million. The same Professional Marketing tactics that are used in promoting stand-alone, professionally built Websites are employed in the promotion of Social Media such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram and more. The public has been conditioned to accept nothing less than the latest and greatest, which means that it is extremely possible to be at the top today and at the bottom tomorrow.

4). If you have a Facebook page, Facebook is in charge. You are not. If you own a Website, Facebook can never change your policies, its functionality, or any other detail associated with it. If you have a Facebook page today, you are working with a toolset provided by the company's developers in exchange for the personal information you allow access to. Read the fine print. Facebook is under no obligation to permanently provide the current level of functionality. Changes to their underlying code which might be presented as an improvement or enhancement could very well be in conflict with the page you've built, and if that happens, you'll have no recourse other than to accept the new changes or look for an alternative solution.

5). Facebook "Likes" are no guarantee of return visitors. There are a number of studies with varying information on this subject, but it has been suggested that up to 90% of the visitors to a Facebook page will not return after clicking the "Like" button.

6). When a person visits your Facebook page, you do not have their undivided attention. Facebook works in two modes. If you go to your personal page, you will see only the items you have posted. If you go to the "Newsfeed" view, you will see posts from all of your "Facebook Friends" as well as every Facebook page you have "Liked." The "Newsfeed" scenario can easily become too chaotic and congested to allow any kind of impact for your business's content. To say that a business can get lost in the shuffle is a tragic understatement.

7). Once an item is posted on a Facebook page, it is constantly "pushed down." New content keeps pushing old further and further down into the page. The post made two days ago (which might be the one you most want visitors to see) might now be virtually invisible among the sheer volume of content that followed.

8). If you meet Facebook's definition of "Newsfeed Spam," your posts won't be seen by many in your target audience. Refer to item #4 above. If you are providing content for a Facebook page, Facebook is in charge 100% of the time, while you are not. Your content can be deemed as "Newsfeed Spam" in a number of ways. First, visitors have the option to click the "I don't want to see this" link on any post. Once they do, they are asked for a reason why they don;t want to see it. One of the options is that it is a Spam post. Think about this for a moment and then consider how easy it would be for one of your competitors to click this option frequently on your page. Second, many Facebook page content creators make the mistake of asking for a "Like," which is automatically viewed by Facebook as an attempt to deliver Spam to its visitors. The metrics behind a "Spam" verdict are too diverse, you won't be aware of most of them, and unless you are actively delving into the statistics behind your page visits, you'll never know how many posts are seen and how many are hidden by the powers-that-be at Facebook.

9). As Facebook becomes more aggressive about delivering "targeted advertising" to its visitors, individuals in the Programming community have become equally aggressive about blocking content visitors don't want to see. There are plug-ins that you can install in Facebook that will remove ads and stop sidebar content such as "Suggested Posts" and "Trending" from appearing at all.

10). It's a credibility thing. Imagine that you are at a business luncheon and the person next to you strikes up a conversation. At the end of the conversation you say "Could I have one of your business cards?" You sheepishly fish around for a moment and then timidly say "Looks like I'm all out." How do you view that person's professional stature? A business that takes the time and shows the care to work with a professional Web Designer and produce a top-notch site stands head and shoulders above one that simply has a Facebook page, especially if that page is not update regularly or does not offer consistently top-quality content.

No matter how far we've come in terms of technology, one age-old adage remains true: You get what you pay for.

Take the time and make the effort to position your business at the top, rather than watch it get lost in the shuffle. A Facebook page can add to your overall Marketing campaign, but avoid the mistake of it being your only effort in attracting online customers.

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