With the surge of popularity of Facebook over the recent years, many small business owners have made the decision to use a Facebook page to market their business exclusively on that platform without having a separate domain name and website. And why not, they reason, a Facebook page is free and most of their clientele is also on Facebook. So why should they fork out the money to build a website as well. But the recent scandal with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica shows just how short-sighted such thinking is. The scandal is still very new in the news and who knows how long it will continue for, what new information will surface, and what long-term effect, if any, it will have on Facebook as a company. But it does show that this scandal or the next one, or the one after that, can impact Facebook in very significant ways. This most recent breach in trust will most definitely have the consequence of people leaving or, at the very least, spending less time on the platform.
Using a Facebook page, exclusively, to promote your business online is very short-sighted because it assumes that the platform will stay as popular as it is, or was, indefinitely. Do you remember what happened to MySpace and Friendster? Two of the biggest social media platforms prior to Facebook. They both had their peak user base and then their decline. Reports are already showing that Facebook had a 5 per cent decline in the time users spend on the platform in the second quarter of 2017, and that’s before the scandal came to light. It may very well be that it may rebound, but what happens after the next scandal? Using Facebook for business today maybe a good decision for you. But the platform should be used to direct traffic to your own online property, your business website.
Even if Facebook fully recovers from this scandal unscathed, they still have control of your business page on their platform, they have the power to shut it down if they perceive their terms have been broken or another reason. On the other hand, only you have control of your website and its traffic. And your domain is your online identity that will be uniquely yours for the life of your business.