I’ve noticed a disturbing trend that is starting to generate a lot of conversation on blogs and from industry heavyweights. The takeaway for small business owners is that Facebook shouldn’t be your website. Instead of trying to convince you I’ll give you an example below of why Facebook shouldn’t be your only window to the online world, and for a totally different perspective look at one guys opinion, Mark Cuban’s comments about Facebook. As someone who has created websites for companies for well over a decade it always rips at my self worth when I see an advertisement in a newspaper and it says “Like us on Facebook at …” and the url for the companies Facebook page is handed out instead of a company website. I started this post a few days ago and the content was wildly different than what you’re reading now. Why? Well the graphic screenshot from PCC I think sums it up best. There is nothing wrong with having a Facebook page, in fact I encourage it for outreach. Here is a scenario that I see all too often and I’ll use it as an illustration as to why a Facebook page for a business is crucial, but shouldn’t be a companies only online strategy. Let’s take the local restaurant for example. But you could easily extend this example to the local craft store, liquor store, sporting goods store or just about any other business that often runs specials. Scenario – The Restaurant and Facebook only route: Over time you work your Facebook page and get as many likes as you can. Let’s say you wind up with 200 people that like your page. You have lots of comments about how great the food is, everyone thinks the atmosphere is wonderful, the house specialty dip is to die for and your fans would highly recommend you to any of their friends. Your doing great and you think, hey this Facebook thing is really going to increase my business. Then comes promotion day. It’s 9:30am on a Monday morning and you post that this evening you are offering a free appetizer with any meal if you come to the restaurant for dinner that night. All you have to do is print the coupon and present it to your waiter. With the excitement you had the day you opened your restaurant your hands are sweaty and your entrepreneurial brain is already calculating the profits. At the end of the night you sit there and say to yourself … what happened? The one guy, who has been a regular to your restaurant every Monday like clockwork for the past two years is the only patron to present a coupon. Not a single new customer in the door that evening. How could that be? See the graphic above. Plain and simple. Get it? Ok, so this post could be all about hating on Facebook, but that really isn’t the point. I don’t hate Facebook, in fact I like it, for personal and business reasons. What could you have done better? Well, you could have invested some money into a website and then used Facebook, Opentable and other websites that cater to restaurants to drive traffic to your website. Once you got people to your website you could have captured their email address, you could have had them opt-in to your mobile coupon delivery system and you could have offered incentives for them to invite their friends to join your online membership club. Then at any given point in time, when you wanted to promote the appetizer special, you would know that you control who gets the message and that each and every person that showed an interest would receive your special. Not be at the mercy of allowing Facebook to decide for you who gets to see your message and at what additional expense. I’m obviously oversimplifying the strategy. That’s what I do for a living. I help businesses maximize their online footprint. I don’t offer a one-size fits all solution, because it doesn’t work. If you want to explore the myriad ways I might be able to help your business maximize it’s online footprint, simply give me a call at the office or message me through this form.