Are Facebook Pages the New Websites?

I was watching the local news over the weekend and I noticed that instead of having a plug for their website at the end of the segment, there was text and a logo to follow the news station on Facebook. Once I started thinking about it, I realized that I have been seeing more and more of this lately. When did “Follow Us One Facebook!” start replacing “Visit us at www.company.com“? And, even more importantly, why are companies beginning to feel that advertising for their Facebook Fan Page is more important than advertising for their website?

I think there are several answers to this question. First of all, Facebook pages are much more interactive than company websites. Not only that, but we’re starting to see Facebook pages that allow companies to purchase products directly from Facebook. Take Express for example (http://www.facebook.com/express): The clothing company is one of, if not the first, to offer Facebook fans the opportunity to shop for clothes on Facebook. Facebook allows a customer to officially “Like” a company, post comments, ask questions, participate in a conversation, AND make purchases all in one place. This is not only a great way for customers to interact with the brand, it also allows companies to quickly respond to customer’s comments and feedback, as well as creating a great opportunity for the brand to have a unique voice and personality. Oh, and you can redirect your customer back to your website on every single Facebook tab that you have. Are we in marketer’s heaven, or what?

They say word of mouth is the best marketing tool you can get. Consumers are more trusting and more likely to listen to advice from their peers and fellow consumers, than that of an advertisement. A Facebook Fan Page allows consumers to get the word of mouth that they crave and trust right on your company page (which let me add is essentially just a big advertisement for your company). To make things even better, consumers can also see which of their friends already “Like” the page! And, even if there are any negative comments, the company has an opportunity to show off their great customer service by responding and taking immediate action on these posts for all to see. Again, marketer’s heaven.

Although web designers seem to be a dime a dozen these days, not all of us know how to build a website. Anyone with Internet connection and an email address, however, can create a Facebook Fan Page. While this point might not be as prevalent for the big companies with unlimited budgets and tens of in-house web designers on their staff, this is huge for smaller companies with more limited budgets and less resources to keep a website up-to-date. Now, companies can achieve essentially the same things that they were using their website for without ever leaving Facebook. Additionally, web designers are not only costly, but time consuming as well. In a world where time is money, the immediacy of Facebook can really pay off for companies who want to immediately publicize a new product or special deal.

Can you imagine a world where companies no longer have websites and solely rely on Facebook to sell themselves and their products? We certainly are not there yet, however, it is starting to seem like more and more of a possibility for the future. There are, however, two sides to every story. Check out our post later this week about the benefits of having a traditional website.