On the weekend, I was watching the National Football League playoff game between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. Aside from the action on the field, one thing that caught my attention was a commercial from Sears that ended with a suggestion that people visit Sears’ Facebook Page rather than sears.com.
The promotion of a corporate Facebook Page is not new but seeing a high-profile company put the spotlight on Facebook rather than its corporate Web site was, nevertheless, interesting.
It wasn’t that long ago that having a Web site was the core of a company’s digital presence. And while Web sites are still important and essential, Facebook has changed the digital dynamic.
The focus on the Facebook Page, particularly for consumer-facing companies, makes sense because Facebook Pages are dynamic and offer a variety of ways to engage with consumers. Meanwhile, Web sites are fairly static and provide information as opposed to content that can be consumed and shared.
The dynamic/static landscape has encouraged many companies to use their Web site and Facebook Page as a one-two digital punch. The Web site is the corporate workhorse, while the Facebook Page is sleek and sexy. Both are valuable but have different roles.
The key question is whether the growing love affair with Facebook Pages will damage the role of corporate Web sites. If companies become so enamoured with Facebook Pages as a way to engage with consumers, you have to wonder if it have a negative impact on their Web sites, which could be seen as less important.
Perhaps the biggest danger that companies face with Facebook Pages is they manage but don’t own them. When a key corporate asset isn’t owned, it could leave a company vulnerable to changes made by Facebook.
A few months ago, for example, Facebook stopped letting companies customize the left-hand sidebar of their Facebook Pages. With little notice, the features and functionality that companies had spent time and money to create suddenly disappeared.
This provides a lesson to companies that while a Facebook Page can offer a lot of value, there are risks. To mitigate these risks, companies should ensure their Web sites are kept vibrant and fresh, including the integration of social media services such as Facebook.
In other words, companies should love their Web sites as much as their Facebook Pages.