Should you rely on Facebook for mobile marketing?

Some people still don’t understand that Facebook is not their own personal website. Today, for example, someone asked this question on LinkedIn:

Will Facebook Fan Pages eventually replace websites? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each platform for a business?

Facebook Fan Pages will not replace websites for savvy marketers. Facebook, although it looks to be the entire internet for some people, is just a single site.

Here’s the basic question you want to ask: who owns your data? If you run your own domain name, and your own permission-based email list and/or your own mobile marketing shortcode database, you do. If you rely on Facebook, you don’t.

Facebook was down for an hour or so last week. I wasn’t able to message any of my contacts there. Fortunately, I also had their email addresses and phone numbers, so it wasn’t a total loss. However, had I relied solely on Facebook, my database would’ve been unavailable. For people who have had their accounts disabled, it’s game over.

Depending on the business you are in, you will also find that a large number of your customers will not even have Facebook accounts, despite the popularity of the site.

From a developer standpoint the back end code of Facebook itself is changing from FBML (Facebook Markup Language) to frames. Did that set off any red flags, mobile developers? It should. Frames are not supported on many phones, so this is going to be a problem that takes a lot of companies by surprise. So, it’s my educated guess that they are going to switch back when everyone starts complaining, resulting in more time and money spent on development (not that there’s anything wrong with that for developers, but for business owners, that’s another story).

Facebook pages are great for a secondary communication channel, and if you are running Facebook Ads, it’s good to have a page within FB for a landing page. It has great value in the search engines. But, it is not “yours” and the minute we forget that is the minute we risk losing our position in the marketplace.

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2 Responses to “Should you rely on Facebook for mobile marketing?”

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  1. Excellent point! I am amazed at how many businesses are using their Facebook address on their TV advertising. Not just putting their FB button on their ad, but actually putting the URL in the ad. In a way I think this is good because people are already on Facebook. However, you are right it should not be their only website.

  2. One point which was lightly touched on was the rational behind having your own site. So you can have ownership/control over your data. Which includes making sure you can recover from the unexpected. aka backups and redundancies!

    Doubt fb is going the way of aol/friendster/myspace for a while. But from what i’ve heard, if you don’t have a blog, you aren’t in the game. So if you don’t have your own site, preferrably with a blog, you aren’t in the game. When you are in the game, make sure you are backing up your site.

    Disclosure:
    I offer a web site and database back up service. It runs regularly. So when something happens someone has your back.

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