The BIG Fight – Facebook vs. Your Own Website: What Did She Choose?

It has been two years and the struggle has been on, and this morning we met up with our client and she opened the meeting with ‘I agree with you guys, we need to focus on our website.’

As our hearts sang hallelujah she added the icing to the cake, ‘And yes we need to re-focus on our Search rankings.’

Whew!

In the 24 months that preceded the social media rage had got our nerves racking. Headlines that said ‘Do you need a website when you have Facebook’, had got completely sold out to this client. And as much as we saw the perils of this, we failed at convincing her.

So how did we finally make the pitch? We focused on some facts:

  • People are on Facebook to Socialize, they get to know the updates of friends, family, acquaintances.
  • They ‘like’ brands that give them good content and these may be brands they probably already like offline too.
  • They engage with the brand too, by sharing, posting comments and it is true that your brand’s facebook page helps tremendously in conveying brand benefits, building brand recall and even loyalty.
  • What’s more is that when friends and peers are liking and sharing content and info from your brand they become great influencers.

But equally and more so:

  • People use the Google search bar when trying to seek any information or entertainment.
  • This search leads them to various links where they can get more information.
  • When making a choice people are likely to check 2-3 of these links:
    • Your company or brand website
    • A compare website – which may be a forum or blog that talks about others too in your category
    • Probably your facebook page too to see how the conversations are around your brand and what is the tonality like.
    • Your potential customer then visits your website expecting to get much more information than they did anywhere else. Your entire range, contact information, product related info, for instance. They want to see what other value adds you have for them. A club membership? Special offers? Store locators? Feedback form?
    • These users know that Facebook is like a large department store in which you have your exclusive counter, but they expect that you will have your own corporate hub too.
    • Failure to have your own website, or presentation of a poorly update one can actually result in them wondering if you are so big after all. Your credibility, worthiness, after sales, all can come to question.

Critical Add Ons: Information Sharing & Information Capture

Before posting this blog we shared it with our team heads and they point out other significant and strategic issues that should help you make your choice. Our IT-Head, Sanil Pradhan, points out: “Visitor detail capturing which is possible on a website by creating forms is not allowed on Facebook.” Indeed, let us add that at east 50 per cent of our business leads come from the form created on the bcwebwise.com website. We are still to get a single lead via our social media presence. Adds Varun Joshua, our creative director: “Facebook is structured/ designed to enhance conversation between people with limited options to communicate a brand message through visuals, experience, interaction – which a website does. It’s restrictive in that sense.”

Moral of the story:

  • YES to Facebook – it is a reach and branding medium, you need it the audience is there.
  • MUST to Website – It is a marketing and branding medium, a domain that your audience is going to visit when they are most likely to make a brand choice.

Most Imp: How did we convey the above to our client?

Not over one meeting (though we must confess we tried). We looked up blogs of top influencers in this space, people who really knew how digital works and who write well (like Pam Moore, Jeff Bullas) and shared some of their postings — so thank you to them

While we did this, we also prayed to the almighty forces to please help the client see the light. So yes, to tell you the truth, we don’t know if it was these posts, or someone from the top up who also thought like us that did the influencing, or it was our prayers. But something did give in.

So to all clients and peers

If you are a client sitting on the fence we hope that this post helps you make your decision. And if you are another agency like us, hope this helps you convert your client.

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Visit us on http://www.bcwebwise.com
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12 thoughts on “The BIG Fight – Facebook vs. Your Own Website: What Did She Choose?

  1. this is a Good argument, but as marketing guy, We want our clients to make a Website, and, we give addon features, like F-connect, F-share, Facebook Apps…
    But, the Website, is a Must, if you are building a Brand!
    that is where, your creativity and Personality can be showcased, a Facebook page is Just a Page… nothing more, it can help you drive PR, not sales!

    • Agree, and what we are saying essentially is that you definitely need both, the website and facebook, and other social media avenues all have their individual roles to play. Facebook has a great reach, a good place to tap your audience. The website has a different role to play totally.

      • Thanks for replying. I completely understand… however, this comparisons can be less meaningful because everything has its own limitation. Even the most powerful website in the world has limitations. And the limitations for Facebook don’t exist on the website where brand’s can break apart content into multiple, easy-to-use pieces in the way that promotes the brand.

        Facebook isn’t just a checkbox feature, nor is it a magic bullet. The brand websites will always compete with other websites for viewers, but on Facebook you’re competing within the same space. To stand out the brand have to have an active presence that offers interesting, sharable information & an on-going conversation. Also, design-wise, it doesn’t give lot of room to play. But, that’s not bad at all when brands want to behave as humans and want to talk to their audience everyday and where they hangout. Cheers!

  2. website is necessary… it’s important than Fb. Fb is good to drive customers/fans to website. FB should be used as a medium to get more n more no. of visitors by sharing often updates about product/services. Social networks users are used to read 140 characters. But at a certain point, they look for more info n FB fails there sometimes. These users try to get needed info through search engines n land up to any non-official site (blog/forum), with less content, which is not reliable some times. so here a Brand requires an Official website. Official website with correct and upto the mark info helps in getting confidence about Brand.

    Some users dont find FB/social media usable and a brand cant modify FB till a certain level. So again Website is the BEST medium to talk with the customer in their point of view, in their way through more usable manners. Client as a person loves to be on FB and never hv any complaints about it’s 10pt size font, but when it comes to their own website, they look for point 14 font. This kind of usability, which client cant do with FB. 😀 Jokes apart… but that’s true and quite usable.

    if you have too many content spread all over the social media, your website will work as central point where user will find all the data at one stop. On a webpage, u can fetch content from fb, blogs n rest sites. Through this webpage, user will get all the content in a browser window and he need not to open or login into rest sites.

    Website is necessary n Social media should be used at a support.

  3. You never knw, faceboook can become passe just like Orkut gained its fame, but Website can be upgraded time and again. Website is a Permanent Home whereas Social Networking is like Vacation home 😉

    We need a MUST website and SMO to addon.

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