Web Site V’s Facebook Page

The question of whether or not businesses still need a full website or not has come up a lot at the Business Networking and Social Media events I’ve been to recently including yesterday’s Open Coffee Sligo. I’ve not given it much thought until now but here’s my honest opinion as both a Facebook Page and Website owner myself and regardless of the fact that I’m a web designer!

For a start, it has to be mentioned that no website can ever be as well trafficked as the likes of Facebook so it makes sense to be where everybody is. I used to always say this about eBay to people who wanted to sell online, ie – go where the people are buying then try drag them back to your own site.

I’ve heard it said that your own site could never match the technology on Facebook etc but I disagree. Even a freely avaible and simple system like wordpress can emulate live blogging, commenting, video/photo sharing and social functions through the likes of Buddypress and various other plugins and templates. There’s also plugins to show Facebook Like buttons and Badges on your site and to export your site news or blog directly to Facebook and Twitter automatically so good connections can be made between Facebook and your own web precence.

I find a lot of my recent clients are aware of the fact that their own sites can be made communicate with Social Media sites and they specifically request this functionality when enquiring. I’ve not had any drop their sites or go with a Facebook page only yet.

Another important consideration is that while Facebook may be king of the hill at the minute, that may not always be the case. Who is to say in 3 years time that it won’t be shut down (possibly over privacy issues!?) or introduce fees or just succomb to a new site on the block. What happens to all your data and customer interaction in this case?

Also, with your own site you will always have full control over the likes of design, content and privacy, choosing exactly how you want it to work for you. As of now, there are no easy ways to capture specific customer data or sell products from Facebook but this is easy to do on your own site through forms and carts, etc..

The old online branding advice of avoiding the usage of freely available email addresses like @eircom.net or @yahoo.ie in favour of a professional business address like @your-company.com also applies in that people may think less of you for only bothering to have a freely available Facebook page rather than a professional custom web presence.

In short I think the way forward is to connect people’s sites with their business precence on the social media portals and not just decide on one or the other. At this point, as a web designer, I’m not too worried.


Social Networking, Ego and Religion

I’ve recently been thinking about Social Networking in terms of Ego and Religion of all things!

I believe Blogging, Tweeting and Facebook status updating is one big ego trip. What better validation of one’s self can there be than sending out a message to hundreds of listeners and having them ‘Like this’, Retweet or comment positively on it!?

The Parallels between social networking and organized religion are hard to ignore in my opinion. With most networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, etc..its’ all about Following people and spreading messages. Followers could otherwise be referred to as disciples who subscribe to the preachings of the Blogger/Messianic figure and by aggreeing with his views and reccommending to others thus follow his particular Gospel.

Then there’s the networking or connecting aspect which is akin to joining a group or Cult which has in place as it’s leader the group founder or Moderator.

Summation? Social Networking is the newest Religion!


Import your RSS Feed or Blog to Facebook Linkedin etc..

I’ve recently mentored a few clients in how best to use Social Networking sites to promote their own business or website and I couldn’t help feeling by the end of each session that the client felt a little overwhelmed by either the amount of sites that needed to be updated or the perceived level of technical expertise and amount of time required to get things moving on each site. I’d like to try simplify things here.

Continue reading Import your RSS Feed or Blog to Facebook Linkedin etc..

Simple Definition of Online Social Networking

Social Networking for Business is a term thats bandied about a lot lately and even though I live and breath the internet and have actually BEEN Social Networking online for a few years now, I still wasn’t sure what it really was and what its benefits were until very recently when the penny dropped! Continue reading Simple Definition of Online Social Networking

8 Web Apps for Businesses

I’d like to list some applications/software that I think is essential for any business that takes the web seriously as a marketing tool and sales lead generator. I will presume that all businesses have a web site first and foremost, if not, why not, it’s 2009 and we’re in a recessionary period folks – don’t you want sales!? Continue reading 8 Web Apps for Businesses

Update Multiple Social Network Statuses at once!

Came accross a cool site today www.ping.fm that lets you post 1 message/status update from either the Ping.fm site or a desktop IM client such as Yahoo Messenger and have all your Social Network sites update at once instead of going around them all to do it manually. A great time saver. Continue reading Update Multiple Social Network Statuses at once!