Organic rather than generated content remains vital to maintaining an online presence. It used to be that having an active Facebook business page with rich organic content was enough to reach most of your customers, particularly if you targeted a niche that was located primarily on Facebook. But that’s no longer the case. Social media and online marketing evolves with each passing year, and businesses have to keep up or their marketing will become obsolete.
Higher Competition in the News Feed
Facebook reports that the reach of organic content is actually declining. Posts on Facebook have increased significantly. Even high quality organic content won’t get the attention it deserves because there are so many other posts competing for viewers’ attention. On Facebook, general priority is based on the time the article is published rather than the perceived quality and value to the customer. Here generated content, even if it is almost nonsensical, may be seen more prominently than a well written article until it gets marked as spam. But generated content aside, most Facebook users keep their newsfeeds stocked with updates from friends and family members. That’s what you’re competing against, and most of the time, baby pictures and vacation updates will trump your beautifully crafted article.
Key Demographics Are Leaving Facebook
No matter how good your content on Facebook is, it doesn’t matter much if your customers aren’t on Facebook. The Times reports that more than 11 million young people have abandoned Facebook and have no intention of returning. They’ve turned to other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Facebook used to be the golden ticket to Millennials and younger generations, but now that demographic is changing. And if you target the younger age groups, your content will return significantly less on your investment.
If you aren’t sure whether your demographic frequents Facebook any more, you might want to poll your current customers. Ask them where they spend their time online, or ask them directly if they still use Facebook.
Customers Expect a Website
Another reason that your Facebook page won’t be enough is because most customers expect a business to have a website. According to Business Insider, it’s a sign of professionalism. Websites offer more customized content and a closer look at the company’s brand and personality. It’s not that Facebook is worthless or that customers don’t appreciate a well developed Facebook page, but websites are seen as more credible.
The time and financial investment in a website varies based on your business’s needs. Even if you can’t do everything you want right away, you should at least get a simple professional site set up as a place holder. Prime domain names, particularly those with a .com, are becoming increasingly hard to find as competition heats up.
Websites Permit More Effective Branding and Control
Branding is one of the most important things you can do for your business, and a website allows you to do just that. You can go through advisories and blog posts written by reputed companies like Shopify and you can use domain suggestion tools to pick out an effective name just as you can hire a designer to help you put together a professional site.
What’s important is that from the domain name to the templates you use to the products you sell, you have opportunities to demonstrate your brand and your quality. Even though Facebook has banners and slight options for customizations, these features pale in comparison to the myriad of tools available in web design.
You can also put together a more effective package and control the quality of the content. Blog posts help you rank higher in online searches, and you can even address common problems or issues that your customers might face. Facebook typically controls content by ranking it by time posted, but with a website, you can categorize content as you desire and change it with ease. Plus you maintain full control over all of your content and do not have to allow Facebook or a third party to use it as they see fit. Facebook, on the other hand, does retain the right to use whatever content is posted on your wall or page.
Facebook has grown significantly over the years. What started out as a connecting point for college students has become one of the frontrunners of social media. Having an effective presence on Facebook used to be a great way to connect directly to customers, and for some businesses it was enough. But that is no longer the case.
Key demographics are already leaving Facebook for other social media sites. Even though many remain, the problem remains that most content faces higher competition from news feed activities.
More importantly though, your customers expect you to have a website if you are a professional business, and you will retain greater control of your brand and your content if you build your own website. It will take some time and a little investment to get a website set up, but it is well worth it in the long run.
(Author: Billy Norris, Marketer)