When social media marketing first arrived as a prime time way to find new business (which for most of us, was right around the time Facebook announced it had more than 400 million users and Twitter was gaining ground quickly), the immediate goals most companies had was to pick up new followers and steer them towards the company's website.
Should that still be the case?
Maybe. For a lot of businesses of all sizes, a Facebook fan page can actually be a more powerful sales tool than anything on their own site. We could throw a handful of metrics at you to explain our reasoning, but it really comes down to one simple thing: believability.
When potential customers visit your Facebook fan page, they see all kinds of great things about your business that were written by other people – in some cases, even people they know. Being able to put a face with those impressions is undeniable; they might not trust you, or "Jane from Dubuque," but you can bet they put faith in the opinions of their friends and family. Or, in the opinions of people who seem a lot like their friends and family, rather than strangers who have given anonymous testimonials.
The net effect is that the Facebook fan page can quickly become the ultimate word-of-mouth sales tool, even if customers stumble across it on their own. They'll still find all the basic facts about your business, including a link to your website, but it's all going to be reinforced by third-party opinions.
If you want to use a higher percentage of the traffic that comes your way on the Internet, consider expanding your company's Facebook fan page and steering people in that direction. It might seem a little counter intuitive to take them away from your website, but you might just be pulling them deeper into your strongest marketing asset.