The number of social media users worldwide jumped by 9% last year to 3.48 billion. Having an online presence is crucial in the digital age. Social media was once thought of as a place for kids to share with their friends, but even if your target market includes the older generation, you no longer have to worry. The elderly are one of the fastest-growing user groups on social media. The point is, EVERYONE is there! In reality, this is about half the population. Chances are, your target market lives on one social media platform or another.
However, that does not mean platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest can replace your website. Whether you’re a doctor, lawyer, own a retail store or run a non-profit, you need more than a social media page. Your business needs a website.
Conducting business on social media alone could limit your growth and cause some consumers to shop elsewhere. Here are 7 reasons why:
Potential client may want to see more than social media can give
Social media does provide valuable insights your website cannot. Some examples include unfiltered reviews, a way to interact with a brand instantaneously, a quick look at who you are, and behind the scenes look at your business that may not “fit” on a website.
You should think of your social media accounts as a way to grab the attention of your target market. Then, you are able to engage them and drive them back to your website. Your website should be the place to find valuable information that is well-organized and answers any questions they may have about you. Everything a consumer needs to know about your brand should be on your website, your business’s true online home. Sometimes people want to “shop around” and it is difficult to find all the information they need on a social media profile with scattered bits of unorganized posts.
Having a website makes your business seem legitimate
Let’s face it. There are disadvantages to marketing through the cheapest methods. Anyone can create a social media profile for free and in a matter of moments.
Having a website shows you’re more established and serious about what you do. You can create a custom email address at your domain name versus just “gmail.com” which always looks less professional for example.
This does not mean that fake websites do not exist. However, internet users are increasingly more aware of potential scams and may be less likely to do business with someone that only has social media profiles versus someone that also has a website. This is especially true for businesses that want to reach beyond their local market and offer the option to purchase products online.
You have more input into your Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is a technical process of optimizing your website to get unpaid traffic on search engines such as Google. SEO is a complicated process, and there are many factors that influence how your website ranks such as site speed, the relevancy and amount of content your website has, security features in place, and more.
Some SEO exists on social media platforms so posting to them is important. However, other than choosing the content, adding hashtags, and providing links, there is little that can influence SEO on social media platforms.
On a website, however, we can basically tell Google what is important about our business, and when we want to show up in search results. We can consider what content our competitors use on their website to see areas where our own website is lacking and create more content to influence our Google ranking.
Relevance is important when it comes to SEO. A website is going to outrank a social media page, so don’t let your competitor outrank you in search results simply by having a website.
Your website and social media pages should work hand in hand. Without a website of your own, you have nowhere to drive traffic from your social media pages. Algorithms change both on Google and social media platforms. Sometimes you may not rank as well as you once did. The challenge of SEO is combating these changes. We can better combat them when we have a website.
When you operate on social media alone, you’re at the mercy of the trends
When you conduct all of your online business through a social media platform, you are limiting your business. The functionality and interface of the platform is pre-established. Features change. A feature you desperately need to operate your business such as a way of accepting orders may change. With a website, the options are very customizable depending on your business’s needs.
Furthermore, popular social media platforms for your target market will change. When they change, you will be scrambling to re-establish an online presence with your consumers on that platform and re-grow your followers. Keeping your website as your online hub gives consumers a place to go where they know they can always find you. It is important to follow your target wherever they “live” online, but who knows if the next trending platform will function in a way that your business does.
Your target market may recognize your brand from social media, but a brand is not built on social media alone. Ownership of your brand is established on your website.
Having a website provides value insight
When you have a website, you can set up various tracking tools. One of the most commonly used tools is Analytics through Google or other providers. Analytics offer insight into some demographics of the consumer that sare visiting your website, what search terms brought them there, what pages they found important, and more. Social media platforms provide some analytics, but when you have social media analytics and website analytics, you have a very clear picture of what consumers want from your brand.
You have more opportunities to generate revenue with a website
Not only are your options for accepting payments better with a website and less headache for you to track, but you may have other options to generate funds within a website. Depending on your business, you may be able to sell advertising space on your website, for example.
You have more opportunity to become a thought leader in your industry
As we have discussed, social media platforms do not offer all that a website can. We can brand them to some extent, but there are limitations. There is also a lack of organization that a website provides giving a true view into who you are and the role you play within your industry.
Discovering your brand on social media allows users to get an idea of what you represent, but leaves them with many questions. Some users may reach out to you with questions via social media, but second nature for many is to seek out answers to the questions they have about your business on your website.
Blogging and web seminars are a great way to improve your SEO and share your knowledge with others. Thought leadership may be shared through links in social media platforms, but it is created on your website. After watching a video of you or reading your blog, it is common for consumers to then visit your website. Someone may randomly discover you on social media, see one post and move on. When consumers come to your website, however, they will usually spend longer on your website. We often view consumers spending an average of 2-3 minutes on most sites. 2-3 minutes is not a long time, but it is a good amount of time to make an impression, and provide consumers with specific information you want them to know.
The internet changed the way we think about information. We now know that we do not have to have all the answers, we simply need to know how to find the answers. Make it a professional goal to always be the person that your customers think of when they need to find an answer to a question within your industry.
Is there a disadvantage to owning a website?
So to be fair, what is the disadvantage of having a website? It does require some investment, maintenance, and creation takes longer than a social media page. These “disadvantages” are small inconveniences in comparison to the benefits though. You may not have the skills to create or manage it on your own, but your website is an important investment worth putting thought into upon creation and regularly as your business evolves and grows.
Learn more about website design and maintenance at lightalive.marketing/web-design.