Some businesses are asking what’s the use in setting up a Website when everybody’s on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter? Why not just set up a Facebook or MySpace page and use that as a business Web address? After all, on any given day there are up to 110 million people on either Facebook or MySpace building trustworthy relationships–why not stay there instead of trying to lure them to your own Website? While it seems as if these folks are just creating customer profiles and waiting for smart marketers to present products and services which can be peddled in those networks outfitted with the necessary e-commerce and communication tools, taking this position is like saying its wiser to live in a hot new nightclub than to get your own home.
Brand shelf-life. There are many of reasons why it is advisable to get your own Website, for one, your Website is the best place to consistently promote your brand and identity. Social networks come and go and their netizens are transient, but your Website will always be there so that your customers can find you.
Content ownership. Setting up shop and profile on a social network is a great way to get user generated content to fodder your business’ Web presence. But who owns the content? Quite often the network does. Your own Website still presents the best opportunity for you to present the story you want customers to read about you–even if they usually check the network for validation.
No limitations. Your business profile on Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace can be outfitted with e-commerce tools. Ning and others present smart layouts that can accommodate a variety or media. Still, no platform gives you the freedom to utilize unique design or Web applications the way your Website can. The information gathered from customers visiting your Website is yours alone – and there are few if any rules that govern the use of your Web properties.
A social networking strategy is vital to the success of your Web presence, but there are still plenty of reasons why they should not be your client’s termination point depending on your type of business.