Abandoning a web page for Facebook

I noticed about a year ago that there were an increasing number of businesses appearing on Facebook. Not as advertisements but as users. I certainly never thought the trend of companies starting a Facebook would become so popular, but it did. Today, there are thousands of businesses sharing pictures, blog posts and business updates with Facebook users. Personally, I have several of my favorite restaurants and stores as friends on Facebook. Not only do I have all my friends and family in one place but now I have my favorite places to eat and shop. When I sign on to Facebook I get updates about my favorite people and about sales. In today’s busy world everything seems to be about convenience; so what is more convenient then having everyone and everything you like in one place?

In the blog, The Steve Rubel Lifestream, Steve Rubel discusses the possibility of a company using Facebook as their main web page in the post The Next Great Media Company Won’t Have a Web Site. Rubel suggests that someday, the next great media company might not have a web site at all, only a Facebook page. Rather than spending time and money on creating a complex web site that compelling enough to attract consumers, why don’t companies use Facebook as their main hub?

Facebook is easy to use and could create a community for consumers. Facebook could offer an informational web page as well as a place for consumers to interact with each other. Lets not forget about the convenience of having everything in one place. Getting news feeds through Facebook saves a lot of time, but couldn’t making Facebook the only way to get information and communicate with a company be risky?

How long will Facebook be around? Is every person in a company’s target audience on Facebook or ever going to be on Facebook? Trends are constantly changing and social media is still evolving. There is no guarantee Facebook will be as big as it is now in 10 years. Even if Facebook is around in 10 years, that doesn’t mean every person will have a Facebook account. Using Facebook limits the number of people a company can reach to Facebook users only.

Regardless of the status of the evolving social media world having a web page that everyone will be able to access is in the best interest of every company. I’m still an advocate for companies utilizing Facebook and other social media, but I don’t think abandoning a web page is in the future for any companies. Facebook is simple to use but limits the information a company can share and stifles the creativity of a company to the generic Facebook layout. Web pages allow for much more creativity and originality.

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12 Responses to Abandoning a web page for Facebook

  1. kinoshita says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. Businesses should utilize Facebook, but shouldn’t make it their only source. There is no way to know if Facebook will continue to have the same influence, power and membership that it currently has. Believe it or not there is still a large number of people who don’t have a Facebook account and never will. If people were to google or search for the company and it took them to the Facebook page where they had to signup, the would be customers might say forget it.

    We are in an age when it’s almost unheard of to have just one outlet because there are twenty readily available and easily accessible. Seems like the reason businesses would adopt the Facebook only page is because the they are trying to save money and make it easier for themselves to manage one site. Businesses need to keep in mind people are only going to be as involved as they want to be. It won’t do any good to try to force feed them.

  2. glindsay says:

    I think Facebook is a great part of a whole, but would hesitate to ever recommend that a company relies fully on their profile as their website.

    I agree with Kim that a FB profile page could be used in dire circumstances as a way to save money, but I just can’t see the page being used for much more than a way to directly connect with stakeholders. I’ve always viewed FB profiles and blogs as the “launchpad” for businesses that link their stakeholders to other relevant sites for more in-depth or more appropriate information (such as the company website, twitter, flickr, youtube). However, being that the Facebook audience IS so limited, I think in most circumstances it would be tough for an organization to rely solely on the use of a profile page.

  3. sdoyle says:

    I completely agree with your last paragraph, linking the two is great but relying solely on Facebook does limit the users you can reach and creativity of the page. Perhaps for very small companies or one that are just getting started Facebook only would be a good start but there’s so much you miss out on that a website can offer that Facebook can’t. While you can specialize the boxes on the top to sort of function like a website it isn’t the same. Not that I want it to become like Myspace but the Facebook format is really dull. Personally I’m fine with that for Facebook but that is where I would expect a website for a company to shine is in the design of their logo, the different things they have on their website, some of the art that is displayed on the pages, all really makes a website pop and Facebook can’t facilitate that. Facebook is a great tool but should not be the only tool company’s use.

  4. wwillis says:

    I actually think that relying so heavily on a Facebook page as a company’s main profile is a bad idea. Look at how quickly social media sites come in and out of fashion. We have no idea where Facebook will be in a year or two. If something were to happen, all that time and energy devoted to making the perfect page would all be lost. I personally feel that a Facebook page should be more of a compliment to an actual company’s site, providing similar information, but perhaps using Facebook’s tools to expand on their ideas.

  5. astrazzara says:

    Good topic, Britney. I never thought before about companies just maintaining a social media account and getting rid of its homepage. There are start-up companies that cannot afford to create a homepage or do not have the skill-set needed to complete it, but Facebook is free. It is free in monetary means but is time-consuming. While I do not think companies should delete its homepage, Facebook is an excellent starting point. Who knows where technology will be in 10 years from now? Our kids may one day question what Facebook even was.

  6. ecain says:

    I definitely agree that any company not using Facebook is missing out. Facebook is a free way to reach million of users, most of who spend hours a day refreshing their pages looking for new information on their news feeds to keep them occupied. However I feel that Facebook lacks many interactive features that a web page could provide. For example, it would be quite difficult for a restaurant to provide nutritional information, or for a clothing store to display its merchandise inventory. Using Facebook however could be a good way to provide exclusive Facebook discounts or coupons for the friends or fans. You also bring up a valid point about the question of where Facebook will be in 10 years. I remember when I was in high school everyone had MySpace and almost no one I knew had Facebook, and now it is the complete opposite. Overall I would have to say that completely abandoning the traditional web page for Facebook pages is something that would more than likely never work.

  7. bihrig says:

    Kim,
    I agree. I have found myself discouraged before when I have to sign-up for something or take a survey before I can get the information I want. It is in the best interest of a company to make it as easy as possible to access all the information their company has to offer.

    Greg,
    It would certainly be difficult for a company to completely rely on a Facebook profile page. As Kim said not everyone has a Facebook or even wants one. If a stakeholder can’t access a companies webpage without signing-up it could cause tension between stakeholders and the company.

    Samantha,
    That is what I was thinking. A web page gives a company an opportunity to shine and express their creativity. Facebook does not allow anyone to create an identity everything is very generic. All we know is what is written and words. There are no visuals unless you want to scan through a generic photo album.

    Whitney,
    Couldn’t agree more. Facebook should be a compliment to an actual company site that everyone can access without a membership. Facebook may not be around in 10 years or every 3 years. Who is to say something bigger and better won’t take its place? Where did Myspace go? 5 years ago that was the biggest social media site and now it hiding in the shadow of Facebook and Twitter.

    Ashley,
    Until I read Steve Rubel’s post about companies relying solely on Facebook, I never even considered it an option. Have a company Facebook might be a good idea but eliminating a traditional web site is risky. While Facebook is free, I think it would end up costing a company more in the end if they don’t establish themselves on the web.

    Elizabeth,
    Facebook defiantly limits the interactive features a company can provide. A website would allow for a company to create an identity and provide extensive information for people visiting the site. Facebook only could provide the basics. That is why I believe it is good to have a Facebook but not rely completely on something that may not be around in 5-10 years from now.

  8. sferrer says:

    I completely agree with your viewpoint. The organization’s situation ultimately determines whether an official Web site and/or Facebook is suitable. For companies that are budget conscious or starting out, Facebook is a great social media platform to promote their business with no cost. When these companies finally have the finances, they should run their own Web pages.

    Companies that do have the expenses should invest in operating an official Web site and also maintain a Facebook fan page. Facebook allows companies to directly communicate with a target audience/Facebook users but limits communication among other audiences.

    A company’s Web site is also reputable. An eye pleasing Web site is a selling point. Company Web sites that present likable Web design with easy navigation and appealing images and graphics, will earn more respect and Web site traffic from their audiences.

  9. n_applegate says:

    I agree that companies abandoning a web page completely and utilizing only Facebook is not a good idea. I personally do not like that businesses have become so reliant on Facebook and neglect the actual webpage. I see Facebook as a minor step in social media platform for businesses. As soon as the business begins gaining audience awareness through Facebook the next step is to develop a professional website.

    The target audience that the business is trying to reach also plays a huge factor in whether utilizing Facebook as the main source of communication and a social media platform is a good idea. If the business is targeting young adults (preferably college students) then Facebook would be a perfect way for people to learn more about your company. If you are targeting an older audience then using Facebook as appose to a website is probably not the best audience. I say this because I look at people like my parents who are still learning the technological advances and have not fully grasped the concept of social media.

  10. bihrig says:

    Stephanie,
    Yes, Facebook is great for a start-up company with limited funds, as long as they plan to get a working web site in the near future. Maintaining a Facebook fan base would be beneficial to most companies for band identity. I also completely agree that a company web page is more reputable then a Facebook page. A web page allows a company to create an identity for themselves by using design, graphics and more intricate detail Facebook can’t provide.

    Nicole,
    Companies defiantly should not rely on Facebook. I should be used as an additional way to reach target audiences. Facebook is an excellent way to target college students and get them interested in what you have to say or sell but Facebook is not as popular among people in there 40’s and up. Also, don’t forget Facebook might fade out in 5 years like Myspace did.

  11. ncano says:

    I have to agree with some of the comments up there, with not relying on Facebook. I think I am more likely to Google search a company before checking on Facebook for them. Facebook also limits you with what information you can put on a page. It’s tough to get around because they just have “hours,” “web site” etc., simple things that someone can fill in and that don’t really show what the company is all about. It’s a great tool to reach out to the younger generation or keep taps on your favorite businesses, but at the end of the day, it’s important to have that formal web site.

    I look at PR firms and their web sites are more than likely straight to the point with clients, portfolios etc. These are things that I would be looking for if I was applying for a job there. It’s hard to get that same information on a Facebook fan page. It’s also hard to link a menu on a Facebook page for a restaurant as well. Again I think web sites are able to inform the public more than a Facebook page. However, a Facebook page allows some type of informal interaction with their audiences as well. I would build the web site first and then figure out Facebook later for a company.

  12. bihrig says:

    Natalie,
    I Google search everything first. Sometimes Facebook pops up but a website would be the best way to guarantee a search result. I agree companies should have both a webpage and Facebook. While Facebook limits the information, Facebook allows for user to interact with each other through blogs and “wall posts.” Over all I think it has been concluded that relying on just a Facebook page would be too risky for an business.

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