There are many different ways that Facebook could be your competition depending on your business model. Quite often I hear site owners talk about how they are loosing users to Facebook. I hate to tell you this, but you have already lost them. Do you think you can provide users with a better reason to use your site over Facebook? Possibly. Do you think you can provide users with a reason to use your site in addition to Facebook? Most likely, but you need to understand what you are up against.
According to Facebook.com, they now have more than 500 million active users. More than half of those users log on to Facebook each day. Obviously you can’t support that kind of traffic on a shared hosting account. You need a massive infrastructure. It is estimated that Facebook has over 30,000 servers worldwide. On top of that, it takes over 2,000 employees to keep everything running and to continue to add new capabilities.
Maybe competing with Facebook isn’t the greatest idea. Does that mean you should give up? Absolutely not. There are several ways you can take advantage of Facebook without climbing into the ring as a lightweight and taking on the heavyweight champion.
Facebook is Your Advertising Tool
Have you created a fan page for your site yet? If you haven’t, that should be the first thing you do after reading this post. In most cases, the person you are trying to attract for your site will already be on Facebook. Go to Facebook.com and create a fan page for your site. Go to the notes section and add an RSS feed from your site to auto import. As new content is generated on your site, make sure you setup ways to have that content shared on Facebook.
Make Your Facebook Presence Known
Announce on your site that you are on Facebook. Encourage people to become fans or like your page. Don’t be afraid to promote your Facebook page. As more people see your Facebook page more people will be seeing the content from your site. Be creative with your content. Find ways to get content your Facebook page that ultimately drives the visitor back to your site. Think of it as encouraging the visitor to content. You don’t want to scare them off by forcing the content of your site upon your visitor.
Participate on Your Facebook Page
Think of your Facebook page as a blog or a forum. If it isn’t updated or have activity people will lose interest. Again, be creative, find ways to engage the visitor on the Facebook. Once you have the visitor engaged it will be much easier to convert them to direct them to your site.
Offer Something Different
Facebook has many great tools and it’s very easy to use. Why should a visitor go to your site? Do you have something different than Facebook? If not, that will be your biggest challenge. Your “something different” doesn’t need to be a technical feature. It could be subject matter, geographic location, personal interests or even more robust content.
Once you start looking at Facebook as a marketing and advertising tool your chances of building a successful site will increase. Go create that fan page!