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Can A Website Be Replaced?

March 11, 2010

Facebook has gained popularity with many companies, and is starting to give advertisers more options, so the question arises- is it worth leaving the website behind?

It depends on what you’re using it for.

Facebook has gained extreme popularity with recruitment sites. For example, career sites looking for recent graduates see Facebook as a way to engage with them.

Coke states that their Facebook has a better presence than even their website, so they have moved some campaigns straight to Facebook. They would rather build a community then create a home page for each campaign they come out with. Coke’s Interactive Marketing Manager states:

We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform.”

Even the San Francisco government site has started switching to Facebook. They’ve come to realize that it’s easier to reach their demographic on Facebook, and that they can have more conversations that way.  They’ve moved all their services available on their website right to their Facebook, including paying parking tickets. However, their home page is still far from disappearing, and still offers additional information not found elsewhere.

Facebook is great for capturing a specific audience, but it really depends on the brand and what they’re trying to achieve.

Some Pros to Having a Facebook Page:

  • Over 400 million active users
  • Free to host and share
  • Can use the Facebook platform to build a site
  • Can create events, contests and surveys
  • Can contact all users straight through Facebook

Major Con:

NEVER HAVE FULL CONTROL OF YOUR CONTENT.

Should a Facebook page replace a website? No, but it should certainly be integrated.

Users still assume when they type in a website URL they will find the page for the brand they are looking for. Even when websites aren’t used to host most of the brand content they should still be used as a landing page. Coke’s Interactive Marketing Manager establishes this as well:

“In some cases some of our campaigns won’t need a coke.com-hosted site. In most cases these will still exist as it’s the most obvious destination for a consumer, but it might only be a page linking to YouTube encouraging people to join the community there.”

Users have stated that they don’t want to have to search Facebook, then Twitter, then YouTube to find out brand information- they want to go to a homepage and get linked to the rest. While the website should still be the go to place, Facebook should be the compliment. Brands shouldn’t stop their either, they should utilize any other media they can too.

The best way to win a customer through social media is to engage them in any way possible, so why limit engagement to just a Facebook page?  Or for that matter, just a website? With so many social media tools available, brands are better off integrating multiple services and networks, then relying on just one.

Marina Shapiro

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 5:03 pm

    You make a great point here, Marina, about the control over content that a business has to scrafice when moving it over to Facebook. Who knows when FB will change the format and rules for business Fan Pages? A developer could face big problems when building a custom page on FB if they decide to make big interface changes.

    But the pros definitely pull many companies to Facebook anyways, since having a website – even one with community features – doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, like you say, websites seem to be just the landing page that links you off to various other social sites. Some rumors suggest that Facebook will soon be changing the way other websites look…so the future of websites is cloudy🙂

  2. March 29, 2010 12:55 pm

    Hi Marina, I agree that Facebook should be a strong compliment to a website. We have a YouTube and Flickr account for media, but I see value in the media also being represented in Facebook. I agree that Facebook or any other social network shouldn’t replace a brand’s website. If a social technology disappears or is failing or a new technology takes the world by storm, you should be able to swap out a particular social network spoke and replace it.

    As a side note, I have seen more brands promoting their Facebook page rather than their main website. An example is Tropicana. There is a commercial in Canada for Tropicana, the end drives people to facebook.com/tropicana.

    It definitely is easier to go where the people are and then direct them back to your website.

    Great post.

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