Facebook has become the darling of the marketing world – and for good reason. It is a platform that gives companies the opportunity to network with a much larger group than would ever be possible in person. It has been likened to the biggest cocktail party in the world where everyone can connect as if in the same room. In this analogy, it becomes clear that being at a cocktail party is not about non-stop advertising messages, but more about “small talk” and having real-time conversations. Some companies have joined Facebook and don’t get that. They are often the people who complain that Facebook doesn’t work – or that Facebook is dead!
Successful Facebook pages are the ones that entertain viewers with funny photos, invite questions and then answer them. Complaints or suggestions are fielded by company representatives. Interesting and informative information is shared – whether from blog posts written by company owners or articles from others. The suggested percentage of Facebook space that should be taken up with outright advertising is 10%. Companies that follow those rules do very well on Facebook.
However, while many people love to hang out on Facebook, when they get serious about needing a product or service, they seek further information. Today, more than ever, people want to learn more, do further research and get more facts before deciding which company will get their hard-earned money. If Facebook and other social sites are the online parties or networking events, websites are the online sales offices. Websites can provide the sales messages that “close the deal.” Just as in the offline world, going to parties is cool, but the real work is done at the office.
Smart companies understand that marketing is not one thing or another thing – no matter how popular that one thing is. Each marketing channel has its strengths and weaknesses and companies need to carefully assess each marketing channel, and then use the most appropriate channels in the smartest way possible.
So if having a Facebook page without a Website is like wearing your shirt with no pants, having a Website without a Facebook page is like wearing your pants with no shirt. You can do it, but you probably shouldn’t.