An option that many business owners are considering is putting their time and effort into developing a great Facebook page, instead of building a business or company website. The Facebook Page approach has several advantages over the business website, but it’s not for everyone, and in times when available marketing funds are tight, putting more effort into one or the other might be a better solution for your company than spreading yourself too thin.
Focusing your effort on your Facebook means focusing on social engagement. It’s a great way to grow a business and generate traffic quickly, since you likely already have a network in place that you can use to market your Facebook page – your Facebook friends. Once you start building traffic to your Facebook page, engaging customers and reaching new customers via their friends is easy to do – often easier than it would be to do through a website. Let’s look at a case study for a start-up client that decided to go down this route initially, Spirits of Syracuse.
Spirits of Syracuse is a distillery and cider brewing company located in Syracuse, NY. Being an alcohol company selling locally in a town with a major University meant that most of their potential customers have and use Facebook on a daily basis. When targeting a younger and more local market, this is often the case, and if this sounds like something that fits your business niche, it would strongly lend reassurance that a Facebook page is sufficient instead of a business website.
Initially, Spirits of Syracuse focused on driving traffic to their Facebook page through the use of the friend networks of the founding members. By posting from their personal Facebook accounts about the status of the project, and linking to their Facebook page with the hashtag (Use the @ symbol, followed by the name of your page) on every post, they initially started driving Likes rapidly. You can follow Spirits of Syracuse http://www.facebook.com/sosyracuse to watch their engagement building in action.
According to the page metrics we reviewed for Spirits of Syracuse, it took about six weeks to drive their first 200 customers to Like their Facebook page. 84% of these Likes were in the 18-34 demographic. During the same period, they also drove 2,000 unique visitors to the page, 800 of which were from surrounding areas within 100 miles of the company.
These are really promising engagement traffic statistics for a startup, far better than we would see from a six-week-long website marketing campaign for a brand new domain, and the total investment in the Facebook page was $0. Developing a website and driving similar amounts of traffic typically carries a four- or five-figure price tag. It’s not a completely out-of-the-question amount for a start-up or a small business, and some companies won’t be able to avoid spending it. Companies that don’t do business regionally need to attract a national or International audience, and that’s going to be easier to do with a website. Facebook also doesn’t lend itself well to eCommerce – Spirits of Syracuse has a brick and mortar location and can’t sell products online. If you’re offering your products on the Internet and expect this to generate part of your sales revenue, investing in a website is unavoidable. If your demographic doesn’t fit the standard 18-34 Facebook-using demographic, you should be aware that many of your potential customers don’t have or use Facebook and, even if their friends are raving about your product or service on social networks, your potential customers will never see it.