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The Facebook Page is the New Website

13 Comments 27 March 2009

image by Alessio85

image by Alessio85

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the new Facebook “page” redesign. It’s no small coincidence that pages now look like profiles. Facebook has realized that companies want the ability to engage dynamically with their stakeholders and have offered them the perfect platform to do so.  I believe that the place of the corporate website will soon fade in importance as social network profiles become your organization’s number one online identity. Given that, your Facebook page will become your dynamic corporate calling card.

    Whether or not you have a Facebook group for your nonprofit, you need a page.

    The Facebook page IS the new website.

    Why?

  • Facebook has the numbers and loyalty. It is the fourth largest site globally, with a page rank of 4, according to Alexa. More people visit this site, link to it and search it than visit MSN, Wikipedia, and My Space, among others. Facebook users are growing worldwide, and it is the most popular social network in the United States. It is at the top in most other countries as well. There are 150 million users worldwide, and about half of them use Facebook daily.
  • Searches WITHIN Facebook continue to grow. According to WebPro, “‘Much of the Facebook-driven traffic comes from links that members post via areas like ‘Notes’ and photos,’ notes Tameka Kee at paidContent.org.”  Facebook is the second most popular site to which people bookmarked and shared information using the Share This button. (The button at the bottom of this post is a Share This button.) Similarly to Twitter usage, users refer each other to links within Facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen someone post a Causes button on their page promoting a nonprofit cause and clicked on it? Or you read in a friend’s profile that they have just added a great photo from an organization’s page, and you then clicked to view it? These are good examples of inter-Facebook traffic.
  • Facebook isn’t just for young people anymore. A new report from Nielson states that from December 2007 through December 2008, “Facebook added almost twice as many 50-64 year old visitors (+13.6 million) than it has added under 18 year old visitors (+7.3 million).” In addition, “the greatest growth for Facebook has come from people aged 35-49 years of age (+24.1 million).” What does this mean? Your mother, grandfather, and all their friends are now on Facebook. Seriously. Aren’t these the very same people that have the most discretionary income to buy goods and services, and donate money to organizations?
  • People use Facebook to organize. 43% of adult Facebook users use Facebook to organize with others for an event, issue or cause, according to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. They are far more likely to organize for your issue, event or cause if your organization has an outstanding Facebook page with easy opportunities to get involved. Two good examples are the Humane Society’s Facebook page,  and the National Wildlife Federation’s page, with clear calls to action, organizing and donation information.

The beauty is that everyone on Facebook knows someone else and regularly communicates with them through the site.


Websites are still necessary in this day and age, sure. Websites are primarily used for finding specific information. People will jump off the site quickly unless it is “sticky” enough or dynamic enough to engage its viewers. Facebook users are already engaging, organizing, meeting people, sharing information and searching for information on site.

Facebook is the new website, with built-in engagement features.

I’d love to visit the Facebook page that your organization has created, or a great business page as well. Please let me know about your page, and others that you admire. I look forward to visiting and engaging on your page!

»
  • I admit I’ve neglected Facebook for quite some times now. After reading this article, it brings me a new insight on what Facebook can do but Twitter can’t ~ an Interface, a homepage even, to present instead of just random messaging/photo sharings. All these whiles I treated facebook as a way to communicate with my friends, and that’s just it. I would love to follow up the progress of this article, especially the example of how Facebook could present well in business or non-business wise.

    Good job, Debra. Looking forward.

    [Reply]

  • I admit I’ve neglected Facebook for quite some times now. After reading this article, it brings me a new insight on what Facebook can do but Twitter can’t ~ an Interface, a homepage even, to present instead of just random messaging/photo sharings. All these whiles I treated facebook as a way to communicate with my friends, and that’s just it. I would love to follow up the progress of this article, especially the example of how Facebook could present well in business or non-business wise.

    Good job, Debra. Looking forward.

    [Reply]

  • Facebook’s addition of profile-type functionality to its Pages is possibly the most significant change to be made over there since site launch, at least from the perspective of non-profits and businesses. More and more organizations are recognizing that social media marketing requires two-way engagement, and social-networking sites work best when an organization is given the flexibility to display its ‘personality’ — and the new Facebook Pages open those doors.

    Agreed, it’s likely soon to be essential for non-profits to have a presence on Facebook, especially as the user demographics continue to broaden.

    But will the Page replace the website for non-profits? Should it?

    I’d argue not — for a variety of reasons ranging from ownership/control of content, to security/privacy issues, to efficiency and flexibility. Facebook has much more to offer non-profits than it did, now that it’s loosened up its restrictions on Pages — but a website’s functionality is limited only by an organization’s technical abilities, budget, and imagination.

    And even if the majority of the ‘conversation’ around an organization’s cause evolves to take place on a Facebook Page (or any other social-networking site), I believe that having a “home base” on the Internet will continue to be essential — a case of not putting all your online assets in a third-party basket, and also of keeping your doors open to those who don’t choose to become members/users of another network in order to engage with your non-profit.

    [Reply]

  • Facebook’s addition of profile-type functionality to its Pages is possibly the most significant change to be made over there since site launch, at least from the perspective of non-profits and businesses. More and more organizations are recognizing that social media marketing requires two-way engagement, and social-networking sites work best when an organization is given the flexibility to display its ‘personality’ — and the new Facebook Pages open those doors.

    Agreed, it’s likely soon to be essential for non-profits to have a presence on Facebook, especially as the user demographics continue to broaden.

    But will the Page replace the website for non-profits? Should it?

    I’d argue not — for a variety of reasons ranging from ownership/control of content, to security/privacy issues, to efficiency and flexibility. Facebook has much more to offer non-profits than it did, now that it’s loosened up its restrictions on Pages — but a website’s functionality is limited only by an organization’s technical abilities, budget, and imagination.

    And even if the majority of the ‘conversation’ around an organization’s cause evolves to take place on a Facebook Page (or any other social-networking site), I believe that having a “home base” on the Internet will continue to be essential — a case of not putting all your online assets in a third-party basket, and also of keeping your doors open to those who don’t choose to become members/users of another network in order to engage with your non-profit.

    [Reply]

  • Rebecca, thanks for your comments! I think you have some very valid points, especially that websites are only limited by the technical prowess of the developer and budget of the organization. Websites are still now an important “home base,” but I believe they may become less relevant as Facebook users and the site itself changes to make it the “go to” place for business information and events. That is still to be seen, certainly. Thanks for adding to this post with your perspective.

    [Reply]

  • Rebecca, thanks for your comments! I think you have some very valid points, especially that websites are only limited by the technical prowess of the developer and budget of the organization. Websites are still now an important “home base,” but I believe they may become less relevant as Facebook users and the site itself changes to make it the “go to” place for business information and events. That is still to be seen, certainly. Thanks for adding to this post with your perspective.

    [Reply]

  • rjleaman

    Absolutely, Debra – and I’ll go so far as to say that I believe that, very soon, an organization without a Facebook presence will be in the same place that an organization without a website would have found itself at any time in the past 5 years or so: out of touch with a significant portion of its prospective audience!

    [Reply]

  • rjleaman

    Absolutely, Debra – and I’ll go so far as to say that I believe that, very soon, an organization without a Facebook presence will be in the same place that an organization without a website would have found itself at any time in the past 5 years or so: out of touch with a significant portion of its prospective audience!

    [Reply]

  • Hank Shrier

    Excellent, cogent, well written and timely. How much is FaceBook paying you ? 🙂

    The most interesting point was the stats that the more season amoung us are catching up to to the kids. You have changed my outlook on this medium. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    BTW Where and when can I hear you speak?

    Hank Shrier

    [Reply]

  • Hank Shrier

    Excellent, cogent, well written and timely. How much is FaceBook paying you ? 🙂

    The most interesting point was the stats that the more season amoung us are catching up to to the kids. You have changed my outlook on this medium. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    BTW Where and when can I hear you speak?

    Hank Shrier

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: The Business401 program implements repeatable marketing and performance system.()

  • Debra – thanks for this post. I’ve always described Facebook as “the personal website for everyone”.

    In the 9 months since you wrote this post, 200 million more people have signed on as users. 350 million people now! That alone is proof that Facebook is the new website!

    See you soon!

    [Reply]

  • Debra – thanks for this post. I’ve always described Facebook as “the personal website for everyone”.

    In the 9 months since you wrote this post, 200 million more people have signed on as users. 350 million people now! That alone is proof that Facebook is the new website!

    See you soon!

    [Reply]

About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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