For years, businesses have seen a website as a necessity, as fundamental as having electric power, phones, and a sign on the door. With the growing influence of social media, however, the role of the websites is changing–and as a result of those changes, the website may become more of a luxury than a necessity.
Yesterday’s AdAge.com discussed how for some brands, their Facebook page is a more popular destination than their website:
For many marketers, their Facebook fan bases have become their largest web presence, outstripping brand sites or e-mail programs either because a brand’s traditional web-based “owned media” is atrophying or because more consumers are migrating to social media.
This presents some problems for these brands, because they don’t “own” the Facebook page. Consequently, as AdAge.com notes, it also presents some huge opportunities for Facebook:
Facebook hosts the pages and provides analytics for free, but growing marketer dependency on the network for CRM programs, combined with simultaneous declines in traffic for many of their own brand websites, could give Facebook a valuable revenue opportunity.
While businesses should proceed with caution in intentionally migrating traffic away from their websites and toward Facebook, there’s a huge benefit in doing so, especially for small businesses. Imagine the cost savings and the decrease in labor you might realize if you dumped your website. This becomes even more powerful when you consider how other social media destinations might replace your existing web pages. Your “About” page could be replaced by your LinkedIn company profile. Your portfolio could be replaced by samples on SlideShare, YouTube, or Scribd. Your product offerings could be replaced by a virtual catalog on Flickr. The possibilities are pretty intriguing.
The best solution for many small businesses is likely a hybrid of the old and the new: a company web PAGE–a single page–that provides some of the basics (including contact info), and then quickly directs the visitor to your social media presence. It may seem counterintuitive to direct traffic away from your website, but that may be where your audience is headed anyway.