When creating a digital presence for your business, it might be hard to decide where you should be in the website vs social media debate. Is it better to use the free social media platforms as your digital presence or go out on your own and create your own website?
Because social media has such a large impact on our daily lives, it’s understandable why many businesses are opting more and more for only a social media presence. But is this the smartest business decision?
In today’s post, we delve into the website vs social media debate to help you decide which option is right for your business.
Contender #1: Social Media
With over 3.2 billion social media users worldwide, it makes sense why so many companies are opting to have a social media presence. If you want to attract a bigger audience and new customers, go to where they already are.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn presence. You may even have all of the above plus more. Although each platform has their own unique structure, there are some common pros and cons that can be said of all of them.
The Pros of Social Media
1. Technical Knowledge Not Required
Social media platforms are designed to be user friendly. People from all walks of life use social media, so the technology and UI employed by them need to be easily understood by the average person. This means that you don’t have to be a tech guru to create your own business page on each platform. Any business owner can have a social media page up and running in an hour or two all by themselves.
2. The Price is Right
For most of these platforms, you can create a business page for free. For companies that are just starting out or have a limited budget, this can be a very appealing option.
3. Interact Directly with Customers
One of the biggest differences in the website vs social media debate is that social media allows businesses to interact directly with their customers. It also allows two-way communication, instead of the one-way communication available with a website. This additional communication allows customers to get to know more about a company. How companies choose to respond to questions and situations online can say a lot about their corporate values.
The ability to interact with customers also helps to keep the company top of mind. If the market has several companies all offering similar products, consumers will often choose the one they see the most often.
The Cons of Social Media
1. Limited Customization
As PrimePixels points out, if you use social media platforms you are limited by their interface and functionality. This means that you can customize your page by adding your company name and which graphics you choose to incorporate, but that’s about it. If you choose to use Facebook, your page will have the same structure as every other company. So, it will be difficult to stand out from the crowd if you are all forced to use the same template.
It's difficult to stand out from the crowd when you are all forced to use the same template. Click To Tweet
2. Exposure to the Public
One of the best and worst aspects of social media is that they are open forums. Customers can interact directly with your company’s page to ask questions and get answers quickly. However, social media platforms also allow people to voice complaints and post bad reviews for the whole world to see. This means that social media accounts should be monitored regularly to avoid negative press lingering too long without being addressed.
3. Lack of Ownership
The biggest strike against social media is the lack of input users have with how a social media platform is run. We have all been through the rise and fall of trending websites. It is possible that the same fate could befall today’s social media giants. Facebook may one-day come to an end or YouTube could stop the ability to post videos to its platform for free.
In any of these cases, if a social media platform decides to change things up, you do not have a say. You can just hang on and enjoy the ride. If a platform decides to close, its impact on you means that you will need to rebuild your audience from scratch on a new platform. The same is true if pricing strategies change. Its impact on you means that you will need to rethink your corporate budget. This is the risk you take by using a social media platform as your sole digital presence.
Contender #2: Websites
Now let’s turn our attention to the second half of the website vs social media debate. With so many social media platforms available, it may seem redundant to also have a website. Well, before we give our opinion, let’s look at the pros and cons of having a website.
The Pros for Websites
If you want to stand out from the crowd and do things your way, a website is for you. You have total control of your layout, content, and its features.
2. Marketing Freedom
A website allows you more leeway in how and when you communicate with your customers. You have the ability to launch a customer loyalty program or advertise a limited-time offer at any time. You are not confined by the terms and conditions imposed by social media platforms on how you conduct your business.
Being available to customers even when you physically cannot be is one of the biggest reasons why companies need a digital presence. While customers can learn some things about your company on social media, a website is designed to be your salesperson when no one is available.
Well-crafted services pages and FAQ pages should help to answer most basic questions a customer would have. If you find customers need additional help, adding a live chat or chatbot feature is an option available to those with a website.
The Cons of Websites
1. Additional Help May Be Required
While you may be an expert in your subject area, you might not be an expert in website design and upkeep. If this is the case, you will need to add someone to your team that has the ability to design your site. While you will benefit from having a well-designed site, the cost of doing so will need to be added to your overall corporate expenses.
2. Optimize Your Site
Designing and launching a website is important, but it’s only half of the job. Once your site has been launched, it needs to be optimized so you can get to the first page of the SERP. This step is crucial if you want to get lots of traffic to your site.
While SEO can be done by anyone, you may want to consider hiring someone who specializes in SEO. You may see better results by hiring a professional, but this would again be a cost to your company.
Website vs Social Media – Which One Should You Choose?
In our opinion, the answer to this question is both. A website is needed so it can function as the digital representation of your company. This is where you want customers to come.
Social media should be used as a marketing tool that drives traffic to your website. Choose the platforms most appropriate for your company and then use it to interact with your customers. When someone wants more information or wants to make a purchase, they should then be redirected to the website to complete the transaction.
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Jolene is a strong operations, compliance, and paralegal manager. She also loves to research and write about business as well as personal topics that help others.