Just a few short years ago, the online world was pretty simple. Design a website, make it pleasing, and you could find success online.
Then things started changing. Social hit and nothing has been the same since. While MySpace gave a first shot at connecting up with like-minded people, it wasn’t until Facebook made waves that we began to see an alternative to building a presence that is both professional and personable.
The best feature of Facebook is it’s free. Where else can you create a presence and market your business – all for the price of FREE? So of course many new start up photography businesses are using it instead of building a website.
But is that the best course of action? Can you really build a strong, successful business with just a free Facebook account?
Yes. And no.
Facebook’s War On Websites
Historically we went online to search out content relative to what we were searching for. If someone typed in a keyword or phrase, they were looking for a website filled with content that could answer their questions, and possible provide them with enough information that would convert them into a customer.
Today, time is short. And our methods of gaining information make the necessity for short information even greater. If we’re standing in line at the post office and do a quick search from a smart phone, we want short tidbits – directions, 140 characters of content, photos, videos, an app to get the details we need. Which makes the Facebook platform perfect for what we need.
We can use a Facebook app to get to our account. See what’s new in our newsfeed. And connect to any messages or requests we’ve received since we logged in the last time. The “like” feature has added tremendous value over the past few months because we can control what we want to see and what we want to share. It helps build your credibility as a company.
Dig Deeper: How To Use The Facebook Like Button
With a few simple steps, you can create a Facebook Page that emulates your brand. And because you can build as many “tabs” into your page as you desire, your Page can be quite complex.
Dig Deeper: How To Make Your Facebook Page Attract Customers
And with many of the apps now available both within Facebook itself, and outside with third party developers, your Facebook Page can do just about anything your traditional website can do. With galleries, shopping carts, and more, a customized Page is just a few clicks away.
Because Facebook is getting very close to the 700 million user mark, its hard not to recognize this as a major player in the online world. But the question still remains, “Is a Facebook Page the only thing you need to use to succeed online?”
What Facebook Lacks
While Facebook is a great place to be, there still is a big world out there.
If someone has a question, has a problem, and needs advice, they may head over and ask their friends for suggestions. But that can only get them so far. For example, if they are the first to get married in their circle of friends, who will they recommend as a wedding photographer?
While Facebook has a search function, it doesn’t search in the same manner as Google. Type in “wedding photographer” into Facebook and you’ll receive a hodgepodge effort at results, with nothing focused on what you truly need as results.
That’s because Facebook is designed with relationships in mind – not with search results. They want you to rely on your friends, not on “marketing” from businesses targeting your interests.
While nobody wants to be marketed to, the truth is we still want great business advice when we need it. We may not like or accept the traditional “used car salesperson” methods of selling, but we still want professional companies waiting for us when the need arrives.
Which is why Google is still a main player in the online world, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
What Should I Do?
If you started with a Facebook Page, it’s a great start. And with close to 700 million active users, you can definitely have everything you need to build a successful business. If you play it right, you could build a six figure business using Facebook alone.
But should you rely on one free site for complete support and marketing of your business?
It can also be a huge risk.
One of the things I mention again and again throughout this blog is to never put all of your eggs into one basket. If you rely on one method to market your business – one free method that may disappear or change at a moment’s notice – you are at their mercy. If it goes away overnight, your entire marketing strategy is gong – overnight.
Facebook may be changing the way we look at websites, and may even be reducing our dependency on the traditional web presence. But having options and different ways of connecting up to potential customers may still be your best course of action. Especially if you have prospects using older, more traditional online methods.