Facebook in Place of a Website

@Nina | Social, Strategy

While in a discussion with some other indie authors, one proclaimed, “I think I’m going to make a Facebook page for my book, in place of a website.”

My head almost exploded.

Don’t get me wrong: Facebook is a great tool. I have an author’s page for fans of my book and a fan page for the book itself. I’ll continue to make fan pages for each subsequent book. Along with Twitter, it’s an effective way to share information (giveaways, future events, release dates, etc.) with your target audience and to receive information (polls, feedback, etc.) It should not, however, replace having your own website, or at the very least, blog.

For one thing, the analytics are limited. Being able to track where your traffic is coming from is too valuable to lose. You know what else is too valuable to lose? Control. With Facebook, you cannot control the advertising visitors are subjected to. Not to mention the control over two key things: Design – Every Facebook page looks the same. This is fine for a short-term campaign, but not something you want representing your brand constantly. Your brand should have its own online representative, designed to be just as unique as the service/product you’re providing. Function – How many times has Facebook changed the way photos are viewed and shared this year alone? And their comment threading still leaves a lot to be desired.

Organic searching is still the method by which most people seek information. Facebook is still years away from perfecting their search, without an engine to handle deeply-integrated keyword-based searching.

Facebook can also be too busy and distracting. Sometimes you’ll want visitors to absorb information or purchase product without being distracted by Farmville postings or instant messages. Your site or blog needs to be your central hub that is uniquely yours. A Facebook page is that hub’s accessory.

Again, I’m not knocking Facebook as an asset. It most certainly is. But nothing beats having your own central site where you maintain complete control over the content and design and can monitor your traffic and keyword effectiveness.

Have you come across brands using a Facebook-only social media approach? What are some of the other limitations of such a method? Are there any advantages?