Has a Facebook Page Become a Necessity?

If you look around, a growing number of companies, particularly consumer-facing brands, are driving consumers to their Facebook Pages rather than their Web sites.

This approach is based on the idea Facebook Pages are interactive, engaging and able to dynamically deliver a steady flow of content to attract and retain existing and potential customers.

In many respects, a Facebook Page and a Web site are now seen as a one-two digital combination that meets the needs of different kinds of online users, while providing a company with extensive digital coverage.

It raises the question of whether a Facebook Page has become a necessity or if it’s still an option. My take is a Facebook Page has become an integral part of a digital arsenal for most companies, and not having one is akin to not having a Web site in the late-1990s.

The emergence of Facebook Pages has a must-have corporate entity has happened quickly. It was not that long ago that companies were cautiously experimenting with Facebook Pages because they were seen as rivals to a corporate Web site. Facebook Pages are now seen as an integral part of the digital mix.

This is especially true for brands looking to engage with and build relationships with consumers. Facebook Pages have joined Web sites, advertising, e-mail and direct as marketing and sales as corporate staples.

One of the reasons Facebook Pages have become so essential is they offer different features and functionality than other things a company does online.

Consumers, particularly those who spend a lot of time within Facebook, like the ability to have a relationship with a brand in a new and different way. They like the content, the interactivity, and the ability to consume and share information. Facebook Pages are different beasts that serve the needs of consumers in different ways.

The biggest challenges for companies when it comes to Facebook Pages is having the resources (aka people, time and money) to make them run well and meet the expectations of consumers. It means generating a steady flow of content, which is more than just status updates and Wall posts. It may involve creating custom applications or coming up with creative ways to get consumers involved.

Facebook Pages can be a lot of work but it’s the price of admission if a company not only wants to play well but wants to compete with rivals who are running their own Facebook Pages. As long as a company is willing to make the investment to make a Facebook Page happen, having one can be a no-brainer.

For more thoughts on the necessity of a Facebook Page, check out this blog post (4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Facebook Page) by The Network.

9 Comments on “Has a Facebook Page Become a Necessity?”

  1. One of the things I think Facebook has done well is provide the widgets and APIs to allow their content to be surfaced on other sites. This is what keeps Facebook from beaming the “AOL of our generation”, a place where a limited subset of your audience exists. Instead, you can now embed elements of Facebook such as the Like button ornyour Fan Page’s membershipmlist into your regular website

  2. One of the things I think Facebook has done well is provide the widgets and APIs to allow their content to be surfaced on other sites. This is what keeps Facebook from becoming the “AOL of our generation”, a place where a limited subset of your audience exists. Instead, you can now embed elements of Facebook such as the Like button or your Fan Page’s membership list into your regular website. This eliminates the silos of the past where you dealt with different audiences in different locations. I guess this truly supports the term “marketing mix”.

  3. Personally, I’m getting tired of being told (on radio, TV, various media) to “go join our Facebook page and Like us to get a …..”

    Unless it’s a highly customized page where you get information, etc., NOT FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE (like GenOmics: http://facebook.genomealberta.ca/ ) I really do not understand why companies are investing so much resources into real estate that they are “renting.” (“Sharecroppers” as per Valeria Maltoni.)

    Time will tell whether I’m right.

    1. Judy,

      I think you are right. One of the things companies need to remember to do social media effectively is not serving up the same content to different distribution avenues – Twitter, Facebook, etc. Companies need to keep in mind that different kinds of audiences use different social media services to get different things so if you have a one-size-fits-all approach, it may not work. Thanks for the comment. Mark

  4. Thanks for the mention Judy. Always appreciated.
    To my mind Mark, the biggest challenge on Facebook is simply getting noticed which ties into your resource reference. The size & popularity of Facebook makes it inviting, but that same size and popularity means your page or your organization can get lost in the sheer volume of information and pages.
    Our approach as Judy noted is less about getting Fans, Likes, or Joiners and more about providing content and a unique experience. By playing with all the widgets, APIs, and FBML that Facebook has to offer, working with an Open Source community (http:support.newscloud.com) and adding our own tweaks we’ve gone a long way in doing both. Throw in FB Connect as a bonus and if you go to http://facebook.genomealberta.ca you’ll see something that not only maintains our own web identity, but ditches much of the FB identity while using all the tools.
    We and the other users of the Open Source (Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, Charlotte Observor, NPR and others ) see it as opening new FB territory. It isn’t a simple page and requires a little creative thinking, but we think the result has been worth it.
    See you at MESH – as always. Already registered and could be one of the few left to be at ’em all !

    Mike

    1. Mike,

      Thanks for the insight. Good to hear you’re focused on quality rather than quantity – something that many companies tend to forget as they try to measure their social media efforts. See you at mesh! cheers, Mark

  5. Interesting post. I believe it is a necessity for consumer facing brands. I also believe that content is still king on Facebook for brands, businesses and agencies – when it comes to sustaining engagement with their fans / customers (as it is in advertising through other mediums). It’s one of the main ideas behind ContentAide, a new service we’ve launched to help predict for businesses which content will be highly engaging with their fans. Check it out: http://tcrn.ch/hyVZ88

  6. Yes and no. For customer service yes Facebook is necessary. For everything else you should using it to drive people to your website. Build your brand and value not Facebooks. If you want to market your Facebook page set up a redirect from your website. YourDomain.com/Facebook instead of the other way around.

    People must not forget the MySpace lesson. It was the biggest website on the internet and companies spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars to build their MySpace presence. How’d that go?

    You should spending more time working on your website building interactions than on Facebook. Plain and simple.

    1. David,

      I also believe that Facebook Pages can be used to provide different kinds of content – polls, surveys, video, photos. Thanks for the comment. Mark

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