(BigTinyDesigns.com) Is a website really needed in today’s world of social media? Is a website necessary when you have Facebook, and a bunch of other social media sites to point people to? Can social media become as “professional” as a website is? Or should a website be the non-negotiable way to go?
Latest study demonstrates that 87% of Americans use the web, yet 29% of U.S. companies still do not have a website. The process of constructing a website feels overwhelming for some company owners. I can understand that (but I would like those people to know that the method can be simple with the correct partner). Others choose to restrict the internet existence of their company to a social media profile, often on Facebook. So it’s a strategy for everyone on Facebook, right? Wrong.
I’ve been marketing social media companies for over a decade. Although I think that social media can be a strong element of the general marketing strategy of a company, it is not a substitute for a well-functioning, informative website. Here’s why:
1. Your website thoroughly tells your story.
Converting a prospective client to a paying client requires you to clearly communicate the value of the products and services you offer. There’s no better place to do this than on your website where you control the message, the flow of information, and do so from a place that is free from distraction to your visitors.
If you are a Facebook user, you know how noisy the space is. You also run the risk of your prospective client seeing advertisements from your competitors, interrupting your introduction to your prospect.
2. Your website gives you credibility.
When you purchase a domain name, build your messaging, illustrate your understanding of the needs of your target market and clearly communicate why you are the best company to meet those needs, you prove your commitment to your prospective clients. This earns you a depth of credibility that is not equal to what is gained by a company that simply sets up a free page on Facebook.
3. The web is where your prospects are.
In 2017 Google was used for 74.5% of all internet searches globally. The internet is where people go to find answers and Google is their favorite place to start that search. When internet users are seeking products and services to meet their needs, Google will prioritize its search results to first display companies who have thriving, user-friendly websites.
If you are one of the 29% of businesses who do not yet have a website, I encourage you to change that. Social media is a powerful way to engage and connect with your prospective and existing clients and drive traffic back to your website. Embracing both as part of your marketing strategy is the first step toward reaping great rewards.
A word of caution: not all websites are created equally. A great website is aesthetically pleasing but there’s also a scientific element that drives its performance and the results it will achieve.
Social Media Pros:
- It is free.
- You can really build a strong Personal Brand.
- Millions of people hang out on these platforms including your prospects.
- The tools are pretty easy to use and figure out.
Social Media Cons:
- You do not own the platform. If the platform decides to cut a tool or change the way they do things and this was your main source of business development, you are sort of out of business.
- Although it is free to sign up, the goal of the platform is getting you to do ads or subscribe to professional versions to gain more exposure. Sometimes the paid tools for boosting your business are challenging to learn which actually becomes costly and if you ever stop, everything you’ve build kind of shuts down, instantly.
- These spaces are cluttered and so if your messaging isn’t tight and on point, you get lost in the clutter.
- Unless you sell products via e-comerce and this is connected to your social platform, it is hard to see an ROI on your efforts and closed deals that are growing your business. It often can be a bit of a guessing game trying to convert Likes and Shares into real money.
In another words: Website vs Social Media: Why Your Business Needs a Website
Be a Control Freak: You Need to Be in 100% Control of Your Online Presence
As a business owner, would you rather:
A) Set up shop in someone else’s store (without a lease) OR
B) Own or lease a dedicated space for your business?
With the first option, you’re at the mercy of the store owner. If they don’t want your business in their store anymore, then you’re now out of business until you find a new location. If they decide not to open up one morning, your business can’t reach it’s customers and your revenue will be affected.
However, if you own or lease then you have much more control over your situation. The changes in someone else’s business won’t affect whether you stay in business or how much it will cost to stay in business. The same is true for having a website that you control, rather than building your online presence solely on a social media platform.
Don’t Be at the Mercy of Someone Else
If you setup shop solely on one or more social platforms, your business is ultimately at the mercy of those platforms. They can make changes whenever they want and you don’t have a voice, even if it impacts your business. If that platform gets acquired and changed or shut down, you may no longer be able to reach your customers.
A great example of this is when many business pages were recently hurt when Facebook updated it’s algorithm, decreasing the reach of business pages. There was nothing business’s could do except complain. At the end of the day they had to accept the new rules and move forward or move on.
The same thing could happen on another social platform at any time. YouTube could start charging you to store videos on their servers. Twitter could decide to become a premium platform where business’s have to “pay to play”. In either of these circumstances if you don’t pay then you no longer get to communicate with your customers.
You have NO control on these social platforms.
Your Website is the “Hub” of Your Online Presence – Social Media is a Marketing Tool
If you have your own website, and it’s the “hub” of your business, then you have 100% control of your situation.
Like the store analogy above, you can have your own store and still setup a rack of your items in someone else’s store. Why wouldn’t you? Especially if they offer the space for free. Not only do you control your store, you also get to use someone else’s space to market your items and make some sales. If they close down then you might lose a great marketing space, but you aren’t out of business.
This is how you should treat social media.
Use social media as a marketing platform to drive traffic back to your website. Use that traffic to grow your email and customer list so you can communicate with them any time, any where. On your own terms.
At the end of the day, it’s much smarter to invest in something you own than to build on land that doesn’t belong to you. Some day the rules are going to change and it could have a major impact on your business, if you aren’t in control. This is why we highly recommend to our client’s that they invest in a website that they own and then use social media – and it’s many benefits – to reach new audiences and grow their business.