Nowadays, most social platforms have a form of ‘business profile’ option. As a result, you might find yourself wondering if you really need a website as well as social media? It certainly makes sense to ask this question, especially with new features like product tagging on Instagram and Facebook. However, a website is still very important for your business. The two platforms have their own benefits, but they are always at their most beneficial when used together. In this case, more actually is more!
The benefits of social media for your small business
It’s rare to find a business that doesn’t have a presence on at least one social media platform. This has always been a good way of opening the doors for communication with potential and actual customers. A huge proportion of businesses are now on social media, so it’s not a particular advantage to have social media. On the other hand, it’s definitely a disadvantage not to.
It’s quick, free and easy to create an account on any of the main social media platforms. This means that you can begin to build an online presence almost immediately! The interactivity of platforms like Facebook and Twitter means you can start to interact with your customers straight away, while also getting your brand seen by the friends of people you talk to, as your conversations show up on others’ newsfeeds.
While social media offers some of the functions needed by small businesses, it lacks permanence and security. Instead of having ownership over your online presence, you are effectively ‘renting’ online space from the social media sites you use. This means that you are totally at the mercy of algorithm changes that may stop your page appearing on newsfeeds. More and more frequently, businesses are being forced to pay for advertising in order to gain any exposure, rather than being able to keep using social media as a free way of growing their brand. In addition, while it may seem as though the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be around forever, there’s no guarantee that they won’t eventually go down the same route as websites like Myspace and Friendster – meaning that you are also at the mercy of the fate of the platforms themselves.
Opportunities for branding and credibility are also limited on social media. Your branding has to fit in with that of the platform in question, which can seriously limit your options. While no business can have particularly strong branding on social media, not making up for this elsewhere can leave you lacking credibility and memorability. As mentioned above, while using social media can add to your business’s credibility slightly, this effect is now limited by the saturation-levels of social media, leaving everyone on a fairly even playing field.
The benefits of a website for your small business
In light of these drawbacks, a website can act as the perfect solution to the problems posed by social media. You have much more ownership over a website. This means that potential impermanence and changing algorithms are no longer an issue. Websites are also much better for building credibility and trust. This works on a sliding scale: just a website gives a certain amount; a domain name and personalised email address gives even more.
A website also serves as a central location for information. Instead of having to ask questions on social media, your customers can find answers on your website. With fewer repetitive questions on social media, you can free it up as a platform for customer feedback, reviews and more. All of this has the potential to build your brand! This will also free up your valuable time, as you’ll only need to answer these questions once.
While social media has more functionalities than it did a few years ago, websites still have more to offer. From blogs to eCommerce and more, they offer a smooth and complete way of operating that social media can’t. All of these functionalities work together with advanced website analytics. These may be included in the website builder itself or an external system like Google Analytics – both are beneficial! While social media includes some analytics, they generally aren’t complex enough for a growing small business.
Best of both worlds
It’s easy to pitch websites against social media when it comes to web presence. In reality, they can work together to make a stronger online presence than either could alone. Both methods strengthen SEO, and a good social media following can drive customers to your website when it matters most – such as during a promotion or a big event. This aspect of social media is incredibly important. However, it can’t help your business to reach its full potential without the stability, security and flexibility of a well branded website. A promotion, for example, can find popularity on social media, but can’t become a reality without a website’s eCommerce functionality. Similarly, an event which requires customers to register their interest needs a dedicated contact form.
However you choose to use the two, you can (and should) use social media and a website in tandem. This will enable you to get the most out of both of these versatile, potential-packed platforms and grow your ideas into something amazing. To get started today, sign up for a free trial here.