I was standing in line in a small-town ice cream shop to get creamy goodness when I noticed a sign taped sloppily to the glass above the ice cream flavors. It read, “Like us on Facebook and get a free cone!” I appreciated their creativity to expand their Facebook following, but I realized they were falling into the same trap that many other business owners are doing.

Small-businesses that only have a Facebook page, and no website, don’t consider the limitations that come with this option. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook and other social media efforts can be effective when building customer interest, but it isn’t going to do much if social media is all you are doing. It’s sort of like paying millions of dollars for a Super Bowl commercial, and then failing to put a phone number or company name at the end of the ad. All the time and effort wasted.

“Likes” mean little

We’ve written in the past about why Facebook is a waste of your time and money, but that doesn’t mean we don’t use social media as a business. The problem comes when small-business owners think Facebook is the best way to market their business and to build a following that turns into new business. It’s only a part of an effective marketing plan. Social media “likes”, “hearts”, “+1’s”, “retweets” are helpful and should be desired, but they don’t pay out as much as you might expect. Just because you have 1000 likes on your business page doesn’t mean 1000 people see each Facebook post you share. Facebook limits how many of your fans see your posts for two reasons. (1) They are evil capitalists and want you to pay them for contacting their members. Remember, they are not your followers, they are Facebook’s followers seeing you through their platform. (2) If Facebook showed every post to every page that users like, your Facebook feed would be so overwhelmed with posts that you couldn’t read it fast enough. Facebook has to slow the flow of content to create a positive user experience. Again, “likes” are nice, but they have a much smaller chance to convert someone into a new customer because you have no control over how often you can market to them unless you pay for it each time you post content.

You get no control. Facebook gets all the control

Facebook has changed their terms and conditions multiple times in the last year. They do this very easily and don’t have to ask anyone for permission. If you don’t like the changes, they don’t have to let you use Facebook as a business. All those free ice cream “likes” you have been tallying could be gone tomorrow and there is nothing you could do about it. Facebook maintains all the control, and you have to play their game as they wish.

Social media should feed your company website

When a business uses Facebook and other social media platforms to encourage people to visit their website they are going to find more success in converting new clients. Once someone lands on your website you have the ability to influence them in any way you choose. There are no terms or conditions you have to follow to create the website you think is most effective. Every person that visits your website will see exactly what you want them to see, every time. A website allows you to virtually take their hand and guide them through the information that will most likely answer their question and commit them as a new client.

Your website is the core to your online presence. Anything else is a tool to get people to come to your website. It’s time to take down the signs begging for new likes, and focus on building a website that converts new business.

Start your website now.

Kurt

Kurt Francom is a former partner at WordXpress. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has two kids and a massage therapist wife Alanna (a mechanic never has time to work on his own family cars). Kurt enjoys reading, writing, time-travel movies, attending college football games in the fall, and drawing caricatures.