A Facebook Page or a Website for My Jamaican Business?

You can spend hundreds of dollars to build a website or you can set up your own Facebook page for free. If you are making a decision mainly on cost, then it seems obvious to have a Facebook page for your business. However before you make the decision to have a Facebook page instead of a website, here are a few things to consider.

Thirty years ago, the Yellow Page was the preferred way to search for a business. So if a tourist visited a destination like Montego Bay, she used the Yellow Page before heading out for dinner. A Yellow Page listing for a restaurant would give a name, address and phone number(s).

Today, online searches for a restaurant usually provide much more information that just a name, address and phone number(s). A well designed restaurant website will offer maps and directions to the location, menus, recipes, food information such as calories per serving, the history or story of the business and customer feedback.

Take a look at these two examples of well designed websites and compare them to the corresponding Facebook pages.

RedLobster.com versus Facebook.com/redlobster

McDonalds.com versus Facebook.com/McDonalds

The simple fact is, when searching for restaurants (and other types of businesses) more customers will click on the official website of a company rather than the company’s Facebook page. This is because a company’s official website carries more prestige than its Facebook page, has more ready facts about the business and does not have to adhere to some of the limitations associated with Facebook.

Also bear in mind that Facebook was originally created for college students to share their social lives. The average age of Facebook users was 19 years shortly after start-up compared to 26 years today (Oct 2012) when non-college users have access to Facebook. It is still viewed by many as a group of communities to discus and share social events.

However, Facebook recently made it possible to create professional pages for your business. Take a look at Facebook for business. Next check out the following Facebook pages by some well known companies and see how effective Facebook pages are created:

Facebook.com/1800flowers

Facebook.com/FTDflowers

Facebook.com/Levis

Facebook.com/cocacola

Facebook.com/subway

Facebook.com/Thomasville

Facebook.com/AshleyFurnitureHomeStore

Facebook.com/BALI.Intimates

Facebook.com/ElleMacphersonIntimates

If you have decided to go exclusively Facebook, check out the competition in your field of business. Take a few pointers from the better Facebook pages and use them to create an effective page. Be prepared to spend time checking the comments and feedback from your customers. Respond to complaints as quickly as possible. Update your page regularly and use every opportunity to improve your brand.