You may be considering abandoning your website in favor of a business page on Facebook. In a word (or really a contraction): don’t. Sure there are some factors supporting a switch like the development of Facebook apps that can be used to promote your association. But they can’t replace the value of a website which provides you with SEO, brand awareness, inbound links and more. The most important factor in the decision is reach. It is undeniable that Facebook is popular, but not everyone who wants to engage with your company is on Facebook. In the past 6 months not only has U.S. membership on Facebook declined, but also users are spending less time on the site according to a recent report.
Another benefit of having a website is flexibility. A website is your own, copyrights and all, but Facebook is a different story. Facebook can (and has) change(d) their policies on business interaction. Recently they decreased the number of fans who receive your updates on their News Feed. And when they introduced the Timeline, cover photos seemed like a dream come true for businesses. But the rules regarding this extra photo are strict–no contact information, calls to action, or copyrighted material, and people who don’t take the time to read and respect them risk their page being shut down. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Facebook for having these rules. But if you are one of those people who doesn’t have your own site and your Facebook page gets shut down, you have no avenue to reach prospective members or contributors.
To summarize: you need to follow Facebook’s rules and limitations to reach a portion of the audience you are looking for. This doesn’t seem like a knock-out strategy to me. Facebook is, however, an great service that allows you to represent your business for free. But remember that it’s a supplemental tool. Your own site can truly reflect what your association is all about. Take advantage of that. Display your images and message proudly, and use Facebook to drive people to your site. Now that is is a strategy I “like” a lot.