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Facebook pages or a website, which is best for your business

And what is digital share cropping?

Chris Garrett uses his Facebook pages to tell his friends about new posts he’s added to his blog or website. This doesn’t take much time to do and makes a lot of sense. Chris helps you “build your business by sharing what you know”.

And this Manchester cupcake maker uses Facebook pages to great effect too.

Facebook pages showing a Tigger cupcake
A great example of a well made Facebook page

But, promoting your business using Facebook, or any other tool that you don’t own, has both advantages and disadvantages.

Facebook advantages

  • You can get started for free.
  • It’s easy to learn.
  • Some business owners find it easy to make friends with their customers online using Facebook.
  • You can put photos of your products or staff online easily.
  • Your Facebook presence could help improve your proper website’s ranking in Google.

Facebook disadvantages

  • You don’t own your Facebook page, Facebook does.
  • You don’t know if Facebook will charge for this service in future, or how much it will cost.
  • If you invest large amounts of money or time building up a Facebook following and then you have problems with Facebook, you could have wasted an awful lot of time or money.

Your own website with your own domain name has one big advantage, you own it.

All of the time and effort you put into making content for your own website and turning web browsers into regular visitors to your own site, is a more secure and reliable long term investment.

If you regularly back up your website, you can restore the site quickly if have any kind of disaster.

And if you produce good content that’s useful to your customers, they’ll come back to your site without you needing to rely on Google’s constantly changing algorithms.

But! If you have problems with Facebook, all of the time, effort and money you’ve invested in your Facebook campaign could be lost.

On the face of it you might think that having your own website wins hands down over a Facebook page. However, as with most things the middle ground might have some advantages too.

Many small business owners use Facebook, Twitter etc. to help them drive traffic to their main website. This often makes sense but think carefully about your particular business type.

Facebook pages are better for some businesses than others

Facebook could work better to promote a small business making cupcakes than it might work to promote a freelance computer programmer. Ask yourself, how many of your customers use Facebook and how much time and money will you have to spend to get a good return on your Facebook investment.

Many freelancers in the technology fields either don’t use Facebook or only do the minimum, they just make it easy for their customers to recommend them to their Facebook friends. They don’t spend much time on a Facebook campaign.

Cupcake makers, on the other hand, might find real value in Facebook. They could try it for free and see out how it works for them.

It’s horses for courses, as they say.

OK, so what is digital share cropping?

I think this term was coined for a bit of fun but it accurately describes using free online tools that are owned by someone else’s business to promote your business.

Wikipedia says…
Share croppers were assigned a plot of land to work, and in exchange owed the owner a share of the crop at the end of the season, usually one-half. The [land] owner provided the tools and farm animals.”

Facebook provides you with easy to use tools that let you build a Facebook page. But hopes to make money from your Facebook friends by showing them adverts.

My own view is, if you’re some kind of freelancer in a technical field, just do the minimum on Facebook (or nothing at all). On the other hand, if you’re a cupcake maker you might get good results from Facebook.