When considering going online, a small business usually debates if the first step is launching a website or starting with a social media page. Both platforms should be considered for new businesses, with your social media and website working in tandem. Each platform also has benefits and downsides, but, in the end, new companies need a website more than they need a social media page. Here are six reasons why a website is more valuable than Facebook and your best bet to grow as a business owner.
You do not own your business Facebook page, you are essentially leasing space on their platform. That means that Facebook has the final say on your page layout, what it includes, how it’s displayed and the types of interactions you have with your customers. A website offers complete ownership, which includes your “follower” data too. Unlike Facebook, when you offer incentives for users to sign-up on your website, you have access to reach out, nurture the relationship and build engagement on several different platforms, not just commenting and posting pictures. When you’ve built your own website no one can take it away from you. You own it.
Branding and Design
Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms are not your brand. They have their own brand standards to uphold. Building your own site allows you create a memorable brand image and impression on your visitors. Your site’s layout is built to your preferences, not to Twitter’s or Facebook’s. Hate scrolling? Create multiple, shorter pages, or create an image carousel. Not a fan of social media’s affinity for blues and whites? Paint your site in your brand’s colors. The only limit to your website’s design is your imagination.
The Feed of Information
While social media is primarily focused on community interactions, due to the format limitations of social platforms (like character counts on places to write information), sometimes you can’t fully express your information as you intended. While a platform’s rules and regulations on content all serve a good purpose, your business or brand may not thrive in a moderated forum. A website allows you to be the voice of your brand via many different modes of communications. You can tell your message through video, reviews, blogs, offers, newsletters, emails or however else you would like. Market your products and services in the languages you choose and get the message out without relying on posts, comments and likes.
Going hand-in-hand with how you want your information to be formulated is how you want to share that information or message. If your brand offers a product or service, then all of your information should be used to establish your brand as trustworthy, to provide information about your products or services and finally to drive sales of your products and services. Highlight testimonials, show how-to videos, offer specials and deals, post blogs on related topics and have an option for visitors and users to shop and purchase your products/services on your web site. You are not limited to social media’s messaging and posting formats.
There are over forty million active small business pages on Facebook today. Many business owners believe that because they have an up-and-running social media page, they don’t need to go through the hassle of creating a website, or even managing that social page once it’s been created. However, a digital footprint limited to only Facebook can hurt your business due to tech giant’s overwhelming attempts to prevent any content made on Facebook from being used anywhere else. Things posted on Facebook can now only exist on Facebook. Shared videos and posts will reroute users back, meaning all of your information is hardly differentiated from 40 million other businesses. Because of this overcrowded pool of brands fighting for attention, any page that links to a brand’s external website seems like an angel sent from heaven. Your social page allows you to interact with visitors easily, but its main purpose should be to direct visitors to your brand’s own website.
The cost of building your website is set by your requirements and preferences. A new or small business probably wants to go with the less expensive route, and many site creation tools have easy-to-use templates that make designing web pages a breeze. Larger companies may want their site to reflect the status of their brand and will hire third party web developers who can work some incredible magic. Whichever route you choose, make sure it’s the best route for your brand. As long as your site serves your brand’s functional needs like marketing and selling your products services, you can make whichever call you like.
Your digital marketing strategy for your brand needs to focus on creating a website before a social page. A website is your brand HQ for its digital presence. Consumers trust brands with both a website and a social page, rather than a brand that just has social. While the temptation of free advertising by posting on social media is tempting, it’s a fruitless endeavor if you don’t have a home base to send traffic back to for more information and services. Once you’ve developed your website, then begin creating a social media account for your brand and have the two work in tandem for maximum success.