Why Are Big Brands Starting to Promote Facebook Pages Instead of Websites?

Keredy Stott
Keredy Stott Account Manager, Punch Communications

Posted on October 6th 2010

It’s not a new concept for companies to promote their Facebook pages - whether in store, via their website or for a dedicated page campaign - as they scurry to acquire fans in a race against their competitors. However, over the past few months some big brands have caught my eye - Facebook addresses have started to appear where one is used to seeing a regular website url.

These promotions have not been limited to one channel of advertising either. www.facebook.com/adidasfootball has been advertised at televised football matches on outdoor digital banners, different world cup sponsors took advantage of campaigns on product packaging and more recently www.facebook.com/Smirnoff is being pushed through television adverts – Facebook pages are turning mainstream but why is that exactly and will brands gradually turn their backs on websites?

When a user likes a big brand, they are recommending the product to their friends, an element that isn’t usually visible when visiting a website. This support, whether the user realises it or not, helps to make their friends more likely to buy that product over a competitor’s. Although websites can be more creative, engaging, and offer much more than a Facebook page ever could dream of, to gain the same level of visibility in a user’s everyday life, the said Facebooker would have to make the effort to visit the website, over and over again. Just the one act of logging into Facebook, which the majority of users do at least once a day, gives brands a greater opportunity of squeezing themselves into people’s personal lives. Appearing within the news feed, a brand becomes like a trusted friend, there in the background, always there to say hello.

Through well thought out engagement, from wall posts to game and competition tabs, brands should endeavour to remind the user why they liked them in the first place, prompting them to stay loyal and continue to buy their product. Those users who like and comment on the brand’s activity are continually validating the brand and its products to other friends. It’s no wonder that a clever strategy, devised by in house specialists or a dedicated social media agency, connecting with the psyche of fans, can lead to the self perpetuating acquisition of new followers. Corporations can obviously reaffirm their brand personality through a website but social media platforms allow businesses to try out new characteristics in a more light hearted way and a clever, killer campaign can bring thousands of new fans in a single day in a way that traditional website campaigns often can’t achieve.  

Only each business knows how many people visit their website but the number of Facebook followers one has is a badge of honour, out there for the world to see, to admire and be jealous of. This works in a similar way for individual users too, one can’t dismiss the fashion factor. How many people become a fan of a brand because the latest campaign, which probably promotes the Facebook page and not their website url, happens to be trendy?

Whether you think promoting Facebook pages is the future or not, currently there are three good reasons why brands shouldn’t abandon their websites just yet -

  • Until open graph really takes off, Facebook doesn’t carry the search engine optimisation benefit –  visibility in Google is arguably the most important online factor in digital PR
  • Not everybody has a Facebook profile so brands should ensure they are accessible to all – remember, just because we have email, we still have postal addresses and phone numbers so brands should not alienate part of their audience
  • Brands don’t have complete control over their Facebook pages – the rules change all the time, even a change in page size caused problems for many recently, so brands have to be prepared for any eventuality and accept that hard work could go to waste at some point in time
Keredy Stott

Keredy Stott

Account Manager, Punch Communications

Keredy is an Account Director at Punch Communications. She has a wide range of PR, communications and events coordination experience, including social media and SEO activity. Her work in the public and private sectors has included media relations and campaign management as well as being responsible for internal communications and web content. Her undergraduate degree focused on Literature and in 2009 completed a Masters degree in Writing and New Media. In her spare time, Keredy enjoys all things social media but also loves to read, cook, grow herbs, fruit and vegetables in the garden, walk by canals and watch formula one.

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Comments

Posted on October 6th 2010 at 3:59PM

Thanks for the article Keredy.

Great content and very timely for me.  I am having more and more conversations with my clients about Facebook Business Pages becoming a mini web site for their business.  Of course, at this time, it won't and shouldn't replace their web site but I feel it's so important to be present and offer as much content and features that assist their customers in making decisions about their services.

 

Many thanks again - Robyn ☺

Posted on October 6th 2010 at 4:31PM

Great article. I was just talking to my supervisor about how we should post more material on our Facebook page, but having a reliable website is key.

RonHeimbecher
Posted on October 6th 2010 at 8:38PM

Another thing that has to be considered is that it is not an unrealistic expectation that third party social sites will replace capital investment in specialized infrastructure such as load balanced servers and internal development costs.

Corporate infrastructure can be more focused internally allowing LinkedIn, Plaxo, CareerBuilder, etc to handle the public communication of personnel requirements and recruiting; Facebook, MySpace, and Blogger to provide branding and customer facing acitivies with no infrastructure costs and very little development/design investment.

 

Joe Blend
Posted on October 7th 2010 at 11:39AM

I've come to the conclusion that eventually, all website activity will occur through sites like Facebook.

Why would traditional websites become extinct? One reason: Facebook pages offer the best features of the Internet in one concise package that requires minimal effort to set up. On one Facebook page, you have blogging capabilities, image and video options, personalized landing page options, and additional information display options; you also have direct message capabilities along with instant messaging capabilities. And if you want, Facebook provides custom tabs for travel, outside blog integration, and Twitter integration. All of this is possible without knowing any measurable amount of HTML and without paying a web designer/developer a significant amount of money. Of course, if you choose to use Facebook as your primary web presence, you sacrafice custom design options. Website attributes such as layout and color palette are set in stone with Facebook  and you relinquish your right to use a custom domain.

However, something tells me in the next 10 years, those limitations will be addressed and Facebook users will be able to tailor their Facebook presence through free or possibly paid upgrades. In fact, at this time an organization can theoretically point their domain to their Facebook page or set up a one-page website that directs visitors to not only their Facebook page but their other social media pages. The implication here is that a traditional website is reduced to a landing/launch page instead of a more involved, multi-page experience.

The bottom line: a Facebook presence can do more for a business or organization than a traditional website can do, in less time, in terms of both short- and long-term maintenance and development.

Posted on October 7th 2010 at 5:32PM

The biggest reason is that it could pull a myspace, or livejournal or even an ebay...

Facebook isn't anyone's property except Facebooks. Everyone is a guest there.

BrettGreene
Posted on October 7th 2010 at 5:40PM

Keredy,

Your points are important for any company to remember.  I can't imagine any company would have only a Facebook Page with out having a company website. As you note, the two platforms have different values. 

There are many community oriented actions you can take on Facebook that you cannot pull off through a website.  And there are aspects of the brand personality that don't belong on a Facebook Page, but are essential for customers and prospects to find, so they must be on a website.  Mixed into the ecosystem of the social web is also the fact that Facebook is a daily or weekly destination for most people whereas few company websites will ever generate reasons for people to visit them that much.

These days businesses must have both a dynamic company website and a Facebook Page.  If not, they look like they are behind the times and they aren't connecting with people where people are hanging out and looking for them.

@BrettGreene

http://OxsteinLabs.com

Posted on October 7th 2010 at 5:44PM

Great article ,Infact our company product is based on the exactly the same reason .

we at kamyoo ,wants to make our customers worry on thier business side and we take care managing the apps on the social networks.

Kamyoo is the off the shelf application plaform for facebook and with a platform for social media marketing.

we have launched the facebook apps for our customers in less than 2 days succesfully.

 

See our customer show case www.facebook.com/kamyoo.socialcrm

 

 

Posted on October 10th 2010 at 7:59AM

Great article, touches on what I've been saying for the last 6 months - I feel websites are dead. 

Another great read I came across http://is.gd/fUJPw makes an argument for social media over traditional advertising as well as websites.

I guess I'm just a social media fan boy, but I'm will to give up the SEO and those without Facebook accounts, especially for younger brands.

Posted on October 10th 2010 at 9:02AM

Coca Cola page on Facebook has around 13.5 million fans and if you see the wall there is massive spam all over the place. Me personally i would never press "Like" because it is a soft drink and i don't need to know anything else or let them spam my news feed with pointless official announcements.

Facebook is mainstream at the moment but it has a lot of problems:

1) When there is downtime, people who have invested heavily on pages lose a lot of money

2) Facebook changes rules often and they can suspend your page

3) There are many limitations on what you can do

Microsites or corporate sites are far better and you can simply include facebook/twitter connect and built a community in your site.

See for example http://thefeed.orange.co.uk/ you cannot run a campaign like that on Facebook.

Content is King and the content you create should belong to you, if you give it to Facebook you may run into problems.

Posted on October 15th 2010 at 11:09PM

Great article! I think it's important to have both a website and Facebook page. For a lot of people, they want to "interact" or feel they have a voice when it comes to their favorite company or product. They can comment on what they like or don't like and at the same time be informed on what's coming up.

Posted on January 22nd 2011 at 3:14PM

I'll admit to being old-fashioned, but this Facebook craze (and let's be honest, that's what it is: a craze) is frightening and depressing for those of us who aren't that old but still grew up with and work in "traditional media." The pack mentality that seems to surround Facebook is off-putting to me. The very notion that corporate Web sites are "sooo 2008" illustrates just how crazy it really is.

Also, let's not forget that not all companies are heavily client-focused, and not all are heavily product-focused (which seems to be the best applicaitons for Facebook). Many less visible companies offer services or fulfill roles in the marketplace that don't necessarily translate to the popularity focus of Facebook and other social media. True, mass-appeal brands may find social networking to be very beneficial, but I think specialty operations or niche, luxury brands are probably less likely to find a following there.

Finally, I think it's worth noting that the ridiculously fast rise to prominence of Facebook means it could potentially fall from favor just as quickly. I'll admit that seems unlikely at the moment, but it's entirely possible.

spurtler
Posted on October 10th 2011 at 1:46PM

Another 20-40 something talking about how to "reach" other 20-40 somethings. The reality is that the spending capability is in the 60-80 something demographic. They ain't visiting no Facebook!