According to the SBA, 64% of small businesses have a website. That means that 36% either are using a social media platform like Facebook in place of a website or have no online presence at all. In today’s digital world an online presence is critical for businesses. 80% of potential customers will research a company online before deciding to engage in business with them.
Most business owners understand the need for a digital presence but either are not sure how to create a website or feel that their social media accounts fill that need. Understanding the role social media can play in marketing your business and how a website can complement those efforts.
Social media is a great way to market your business and create engaged customers. You can post pictures, videos, announcements easily and with immediate exposure to customers. You can post any information you want and is an easy way to keep your customers updated.
Since you are most likely using social media in your personal life, you will find the interface easier and more familiar to use than the dashboard of a website. You can create posts, edit posts and interact with customers from your phone, tablet or computer making you more like to update your social media account on a regular basis.
Social Media Audience
Facebook for example has over 1 billion monthly users, so of course the thinking is that you are putting your business in front of those users. That is not necessarily true, only your fans (people who like or follow your page) will see your posts and even then, not all of them will get all your posts on their newsfeed.
You also have to consider that not everyone has accounts on every platform. You are only reaching a portion of your target audience. Different platforms appeal to different audiences and may not be who you want to target.
You can pay to boost a post or create an ad for a target audience that you define to get additional exposure. Using a Facebook page as both a social media tool and website can be appealing to many business owners. They believe that it will be simpler, easier and cheaper to build their online presence.
Social Media Limitations
As great of a tool that social media can be to market a business online, there are limitations. Social media platforms allow for little customization on to brand your page to your identity. You control the pictures, your page header, store section and of course the content you share. Your business branding is second to the platforms brand and your content, including offers, promotions and updates must stay within their guidelines. Any content posted to your social media page can be used by them for their own purpose.
You have little, if any, input on changes made to the platform and no direct line to call when the platform is down, an upgrade doesn’t work or you have technical issues or question with your page.
Social Media and Ad Networks
If you are currently or if you may in the future run pay per click ads, such as Google PPC ads, tracking data and the ROI is difficult using a social media platform. You need a destination for your ads and if you are taking your customer to your Facebook page for example you will not be able to use the ad tracking tools like Google Ads conversion tracking to see the results of your advertising investment. In addition, there could be trademark or other violations for that platform.
A social media platform as a destination has historically had lower ad quality scores and this may actually increase your cost per click. Your ad may not be able to see it if they are not logged into the social media platform already. This means that if someone has to sign into a platform that they are not familiar with or don’t have a log-in for you have instantly lost them. Some ad networks will limit how many ads for a top-level domain such as Facebook will show in the results. Your ad could be left out if you have a few competitors wanting the same phrases.
Social Media is an effective tool
We are not saying that you should not use social media to market your business. Social media is popular and an effective tool and requires no technical or coding know-how. It is mobile friendly and anyone, anywhere can use it to create an online presence and it is free! If you are comfortable with the dependencies and lack of control, social media can simplify your digital outreach.
So why would a business need a website? Because the real power of your online presence is your website!
The power of a website
The biggest advantage of having a website is control. You have the control for your online brand identity and how your story is told. You control tracking your results with more access to your data and results.
When you work with Pro Web Marketing to build and maintain your website, you have input over the look, the content and which features area priority. We learn about your business and listen to your needs to create a website that compliments your brand identity and marketing.
Control Your Brand Identity
Your website a reflection of your company as whole. Having control of the messaging on such an important client facing tool insures that your business is represented the way you want it to be. Your online presence across all platforms needs consistent messaging to instill confidence and build credibility. A website is the engine that drives that messaging and works with your social media to drive traffic.
Having your own website gives everyone access to your products or services, not just those on a social media platform. A website can also be a consistent way to get your message out and inform your customers of changes, promotions and offers in a place they know they can return often and find the information they are looking. With social media they have search through many posts to find the post with the desired information. A website offers pure representation and the professionalism that come with a domain name.
Search Engine Advantage
When you search online you see results related to search terms “read” by the search engines. Google alone has more than 80,000 searches submitted every second. Ranking high on search engines is not an easy task, especially if all you have is a social media account. With a website in the mix, you are giving yourself a higher chance of being found on the search engines. Remember you have just 7 seconds to convince potential clients to stay, make sure your content and call to action are relevant. If your link is your social media page their first impression will be the last think you posted. With a website, search engines will link to pages within your site that have information relevant to the search.
At Pro Web Marketing every website we design is SEO optimized and we submit your site to all search engines. Websites show higher in internet search engines than social media pages due to relevance. A website also provides you the opportunity to appear in related searches and climb up the search lists organically or faster if you invest in SEO.
A Website has a Permanence that Social Media cannot guarantee
Social platforms have been around for a while and it may seem they will be around forever. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s AIM, MySpace and Yahoo messenger were the rage. They soon fell out favor when Facebook took off as more than just for college students. In recent years, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and more have risen in use. Every new platform can take a share of the social media audience. Demographics of the platforms are constantly changing and users come and go.
With a website you are not at the mercy of trends. You don’t have worry about the social media platform you are using losing popularity and then having to rebuild your online presence from scratch. Your website will always be online and you control how it changes.
A Website can differentiate you from your competitors
A website is a means to promote your products or services and allows you to stand out from your competitors. For customers who rely heavily on the internet to learn about a company, a website is one of the most important assets for sharing information. A website helps you to be noticed in a crowded marketplace.
Pictures and testimonials that your potential customers can see shows why you are the right choice to do business with. Face to face interactions are important and word of mouth can grow your business. A website is your digital business card with potential to be seen by thousand of people that are looking for your product or service.
We are local and here to support your business
When you have questions or a technical issue with social media, your choice is searching forums for the right solution. Reaching out directly to a social media platform means sending a question through their interface which typically takes days to be answered. When you call Pro Web Marketing you will hear a friendly voice on the other end to resolve whatever problem you are having or walk you through the process. Our customer service is gold standard.
The Bottom Line
EVERY business needs its OWN website separate from other platforms. There is not any other communication medium that gives you as much control over your message as your website. Social is for MARKETING and not a substitute for a website. Marketing is more than just having an online presence, it means having a space on the internet that anyone can easily reach. You should not be putting all of your online presence eggs in one basket. You want a website you control, one that tells the story you want told and is dedicated to your business. To put it simply, social media may be the mouth of your business, but your website is the brain.
A website is worth the time, money and effort of building and maintaining it. A website is a necessity for any business that wants to have an online presence. Hiring Pro Web Marketing to design and build your website is a smart investment, we will take your vision and make it a reality. Call us at 877-577-6932 to get started!