A Facebook Page is Great But….

By Mark Evans - Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 7:29 am  

For many companies enhancing their social media and digital footholds, there’s growing interest in Facebook Pages.

Their appeal has much to do with the ability to generate a steady stream of content (videos, photos, polls, contests, updates, etc.), engage with customers, and establish a better presence through the use of the “Like” functionality and Facebook’s social graph.

But like anything new and shiny that captures your attention, companies should try not to get too carried away with their love affair with Facebook Pages. While there are lots advantages to having one, putting too emphasis on it could be a mistake.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is a Facebook Page starts to take attention and resources away from a company’s Web site, which is the foundation of any company’s online presence.

While Web sites are not seen as particularly sexy or dynamic, they play an important part in how a company is seen online and the branding, messaging and information it provides to different constituents.

It means that as much as a company wants to have a Facebook Page featuring lots of content and a large group of engaged fans, it is also important that its Web site gets enough love and attention to remain vibrant and a valuable resource.

Companies need to make sure their Web sites stay refreshed, relevant, informative and appealing. This is particularly important as the attention span of online users becomes even more scattered. If a Web site doesn’t capture the attention of someone right away, they will quickly move on. This makes how a Web site looks and its messaging more crucial than ever.

In an ideal world, a corporate Web site and a Facebook Page provide a company with a great one-two digital “punch”. The Web offers solid information in a user-friendly way, while a Facebook Page drives new content and engagement. If done well, a Web site and Facebook Page can be highly complementary.

Here are some tips to have a successful “marriage” between a Web site and Facebook Page:

1. As part of an overall digital strategy, it is important to establish the roles played by a Web site and Facebook Page. What kind of information does each entity need to deliver, what audiences are they serving, and how will their success be measured?

2. Make sure they play well together. A Web site should do a good job of telling visitors about the Facebook Page (and perhaps some of its benefits), while a Facebook Page should be designed, in part, to drive traffic to the Web site. One of the best ways to make this happen is creating a “Welcome” tab on a Facebook Page that quickly tells visitors what a company does or makes.

3. A Web site and Facebook Page needs consistency when it comes to branding and messaging. As complementary digital assets, they need to provide a united front for visitors even though how they are used may be different.

4. Don’t fall in love with any particular digital asset. Look at your Web site or social media services (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc.) as your children. While some may be better behaved than others, you still need to love them equally and do your best to support their growth.

More: For some tips on how measure engagement and gains fans and “Likes” for a Facebook Page, check out the recent #smmeausure chat done by Sysomos and Marketware.

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4 Responses to “A Facebook Page is Great But….”

  1. Judy Gombita says:

    Not to mention the fact that your organization “owns” its website property, whereas it just “rents” space in Facebook’s walled garden, including allowing users to accumulate data on (your) visitors and place targeted ads.

  2. Mark Evans says:

    Judy,

    Thanks for mentioning a key point that I should have included in the post. It’s something that many companies either seem to forget or accept as part of using Facebook. Like you, I think ownership is an important consideration, which is why I’m also a big fan of self-hosted blogs.

    Thanks for the comment.

    cheers, Mark

  3. Judy Gombita says:

    You’re welcome. I figured you were onside with these thoughts following your panelist comments at Wednesday’s Digital Journal event. (I appreciated the dose of reality you occasionally threw on some of the other panelists who sometimes seemed to be sipping too much kool-aid.)

    I did question (in the comments section) former-CBC journalist, Mike Spear (whom I did a PR Motion interview with earlier this summer) about Genome Alberta investing so much of its online “presence” into Facebook. His response might interest you:

    http://www.prconversations.com/index.php/2010/06/mike-spear-evolving-from-journalism-to-pr/

  4. Mike Spear says:

    Thanks for the mention Judy and Mark for the piece.
    I’ve been part of the evolution of online media for a couple of decades now and it never ceases to amaze me how otherwise well balanced, well schooled and well thought of communications folks suddenly lose their minds when it comes to social media.
    A good PR, Communications, or Marketing strategy tends to be one that is balanced and is prepared with the consumer or end user in mind. Stirring the pot with approriate parts of web, social media, print, electronic media, outreach and a healthy spoonful of creativity, is pretty much the way to apprach it. Throw up the word “Facebook” or perhaps “Twitter” and suddenly it falls apart. Content, sustainability, cross-promotion, and the media mix are forgotten.
    Instead of chasing the next big thing(s) we need to take a step back to some of the basics and as you point out, make it all work together.

    Mike