Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Can Facebook replace traditional business websites?

With digital penetration on a high all over the world, social media sites and trends have paved way for not only personal branding but also for companies and businesses to turn to this platform to reach out to customers.
This use of ‘web-based’ and ‘mobile technologies’ in order to turn communication into an interactive dialogue has taken form through various tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Foursquare- to name some of the most popular social media networking sites.
These social networking sites are now NOT ONLY a means to reach out and connect with friends and relatives, but also a potential way to advertise and promote small/large businesses.
It is an excellent solution for money-making and is currently a very important source for sharing and transmitting information. So the question that may arise is whether Facebook can work as a potential ‘STAND-ALONE’ Web Presence for entrepreneurs and small businesses across the world. 

Most potential businesses and companies have already realised the importance of placing their ‘foot in the door’ on Facebook- it’s an easy way to reach out to customers, advertise their products and interact with customers… in a FUN and appealing manner!
Not only this, but creating a Facebook Page is far easier than a website as they do not involve coding and HTML skills. Also, it’s far easier to keep a track of your business’s growth and monitor and optimize it by viewing the number of likes and fans on the page. Facebook pages are far easier to optimize, now with the addition of ‘Facebook Insights’ –a powerful tool to track and monitor the growth of your Page.

Not only this, but the content can easily be edited. It is an easy and fast way for people to get your contact numbers, addresses, etc.  By creating applications offered by Facebook like a Discussion tab, Reviews tab, Contest tab, a Games Tab, Sweepstakes, EasyPromos it is easier to engage with customers and people on a global scale. Besides this, a Facebook Page is a common place where people can get information about what the company does, their presence on any other social networking sites like YouTube/ LinkedIn/Twitter, etc.

It is thus one of the ‘Engaging Channels’ between the business/company and the customers. 

Facebook has thus helped to create a new trend of shopping- Facebook Shopping; a new trend also termed as F-Commerce (e-commerce on Facebook) - a concept that has emerged barely three years ago.

An individual can directly purchase products through Facebook. Many companies have already created f-commerce stores where people can shop online through Facebook like- Apple,  
How successful F-Commerce is, is yet a debatable question that many marketers may pose questions to.

While a Facebook Page may boost the interaction levels between the company and the customer, a central online hub to gather information from- (a website) is generally the most effective option for any business.
While many prefer incorporating a holistic approach with a combination of all commerce strategies- mobile commerce (m-commerce, e-commerce, Facebook commerce, real-world (in-store) commerce, and e-mail commerce)… what do you think… Should Facebook replace websites?