Facebook or website, website or Facebook?

A great local photographer, Gary, came in yesterday to discuss the traffic on his website and what he could do to get more customers.  We went through the numbers and offered some practical advice:
  • Add Titles to all the pages so that Google knows what they are about
  • Carry on blogging as that is bringing traffic to the site, but add the Google Campaign parameters to all the links so that he can identify which type of blogs are working best
  • Add fresh photos to certain galleries because they are driving people back to the site
and then the discussion moved on to Facebook
 
A website is about sales - it is your shop window, inviting people in to hopefully buy.  But it doesn'€™t get people to walk past the shop in the first place - it isn'€™t a marketing tool.  Gary has a Facebook page, but admitted he doesn't do much with it concentrating instead on the website, but I would say that for local B2C sales (i.e. businesses selling to consumers) Facebook can be, not just a second shop window, but also a wonderful marketing tool.  What is more, most of Gary's customers come from recommendations and Word-of-mouth and that is exactly what Facebook is - recommendations from your friends.
 
If Gary can get a percentage of his clients to mention his page then that becomes free advertising when it appears on the Newsfeed of their friends.  With not too much arm twisting, there could be several touch points per client along the lines of:
 
"I'm looking forward to having my photo taken at xxx this afternoon"
"Just come back from a great session with xxx"
"Wow -€“ xxx just sent me these awesome photos!"
 
and, of course, for Gary, this last one would include a picture or two and they are loved by Facebook.  All he needs to do is to gently ask people to post and Bob'€™s your Uncle!
 
Of course the real answer to the question is to do both, but few local businesses push Facebook to get anything like its full potential.  Are you a local business selling to consumers?  If so, how do you persuade your customers to engage - we'd welcome more ideas, so please comment below!
 
P.S. See Gary'€™s photos at www.facebook.com/photoreceptorcell