Guest post by Angie Swartz, CEO of Square Martini Media.

Businesses are flocking to Facebook these days, and with more than 500 million users, it’s easy to see why. But we must be careful not to let Facebook become the wizard of our Oz.

Nearly everyone wants to direct your attention to Facebook. Small and large businesses are spending lots of money to get us all to their Facebook pages, stay awhile, and engage. Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. It’s where we all want to be, all the time.

Or is it?

Is Facebook so great that we don’t even need our own websites anymore?

That indeed is one approach. However, you must ask yourself one very important question.

Are you in business to make yourself money or are you in business to make Facebook money?

Without question, Facebook is a very powerful and valuable tool. There are many benefits to partnering with Facebook, and once you learn the mechanics, it’s fairly easy to start reaping benefits if you’re willing to time forming relationships. Of course, your prospects must be using Facebook, too.

Built-in analytics, customizable landing pages, and reasonably priced advertising are all great benefits and among the many reasons one should strongly consider using Facebook when designing any social media strategy. However, solely relying on Facebook without maintaining your own website puts too much control in the hands of Facebook.

Is Facebook Your Glenda or the Wicked Witch of the West?

While we wouldn’t quite equate Facebook to Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West, we wouldn’t call it Glenda either. Facebook has much bigger goals than ensuring your bottom line profits continue to rise.

Facebook is racing to dominate location-based services, as evidenced by the launch of Places earlier this month. Additionally, Facebook has demonstrated its big business focus in the past by changing policies such as disallowing custom landing pages for businesses with fewer than 1,000 fans (subsequently reversed). Further, things such as inconsistent policy changes without much or any advance notice make relying on Facebook too risky. Lastly, Facebook retains the right to shut down your profile or your page at anytime.

And we’re back to our question. Are you willing to put the control of your business in someone else’s hands? What would Dorothy and Toto say?

Learn from Dorothy and Toto’s journey through Oz

It really is true…

There’s no place like home.

So, use Facebook to drive traffic back to your blog and website. And remember, once you get people to your site, you must make sure you’ve got the following:

  • Great content! You want to offer content that answers questions for your customers, keeps them on your site, and gives them a reason to come back.
  • Great sales conversions! An obvious path to your products and then to a sale.
  • Great products! A catalogue of products that serves your customers’ needs or solves their problems.
  • Great prices! Market-driven prices that make your customers know they are receiving great value from you.

Next time you are spending a few minutes on Facebook, remember why you are there. Consider cutting your time in half and going behind your own curtain, becoming the wizard of your own blog, and creating some terrific content for your prospects.

Angie Swartz is the CEO of Square Martini Media, radio host, lifelong social media student, and recovering corporate ladder climber.

Photo Credit: Barry Smith