When running a business, time is the equivalent of money. And both time and money are used when creating a website and maintaining that website. So it’s very, very, very tempting to look at social media, which is free to sign up and start using, to become your online presence.
Let’s take a look at some facts before we respond to this question:
- 77% of small businesses have social media
- 71% of small businesses have a website
From those numbers alone, this shows that there is a small percentage who are currently using social media rather than investing in a website.
Below, let's weigh the pros and cons of using both tools based on:
What Can Social Media Do That a Website Can and Cannot
- You can sell your products on social media. Shopify has created interfaces for Facebook and Instagram to sell your products, and TikTok is one big selling tool in some industries (hello, Booktok!).
- You can conduct customer service on social media. Between WhatsApp, Facebook Messaging, Instagram DMs, and Twitter (ever see how quickly a company responds if the masses have issues with them on Twitter?), you can talk to your customers directly.
- You can get email subscribers on social media via a link in your bio.
- You can use analytics that each platform gives you access to in order to find out who is looking at your posts. By each platform hosting its own analytics, they won’t be hurt by the Great Cookie Phaseout. Cookies were what helped companies see where you shopped and how you shopped. But due to data privacy issues, cookies may be gone by 2024. This will make your website’s analytics a little less informative, which data companies are already working on.
- Many websites don’t have discussion boards, so you can’t interact with your customers on your website in an informal, jovial way. Social media allows you to interact.
- You can have fun with your brand on social media, whereas you can’t on your website (for many companies). When you have a website, you have to put on your best professional face. On social media, you are there to have people get to know the people behind the brand.This builds trust and likeability with your customers and potential customers. Especially those who depend on “old-school” websites!
Social media platforms make it so that you can sell your products, handle customer service, create email lists, use visitor analytics, interact with visitors, and have a little bit of fun. This sounds pretty great. But let’s now take a look at what a website can do…that a social media platform may not.
Why You Should Have a Website if You Have Social Media
- Social media platforms fall out of favor and switch owners, while a website is yours. Do you remember the days of MySpace and LiveJournal? Yeah. Exactly. And we are already seeing how TikTok is pushing social media platforms into making everything video, all of the time. But a website with your blogs, your product pages, and your videos get to follow the norms of a website, which are not as fast-changing, and which you get to be 100% in control of. Especially on days when Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are down.
- You can build SEO and a company’s digital presence. Website content is king when it comes to building search engine optimization (SEO) for your company. This means that if you are a wooden milk bucket maker for cows, a great SEO will get your company on the Google search results when someone is looking for “wooden milk bucket for cows.” Social media doesn’t give a company much SEO on Google/Bing/whatever your search engine of choice is–unless you go viral with your content and that content is shared with attribution. And going viral is based on more luck than strategy. The great thing about SEO? That’s based on strategy.
- A business owner may think that their product and even themselves are pretty simple and straightforward, but social media has a way of making people seem like less of a person running a business and more like a monkey that’s expected to dance for its supper. People and their products and services deserve an online home that can discuss the brass tacks of who they are and what they make. Imagine trying to look for a new doctor, a new insurance plan, the best car deals, or even a new school for your child by looking at reels on Instagram where someone is lipsynching to Sponge Bob Squarepants!
- There are billions of people on social media trying to push through the whitenoise of each app. The most entertaining, educational, or inspiring usually rise to the top. Can your company do that with content which will fit your target market? (Be honest with yourself!)
- If you can’t gain traction on social media, you will have your website to use as your digital home. There’s also no telltale follower numbers on your website to make a client wonder if you are a good enough company, either. Those numbers can be skewed, as misled companies buy followers, as platforms hide unentertaining posts based on how long people are looking at a post (no, they aren’t shadowbanning you if you’re selling a widget!), and as people who shouldn’t be following you start to (because you posted a funny video of your dog, which isn’t what you’re selling, you widget maker you!).
If you are more of a visual person, let’s take a look at what social media versus a website can do for your business:
So, Should I Have a Website if I Have Social Media?
Yes, you should have a website if you have social media. And yes, full disclosure, we sell website services at digit-ALL, but take a look at the table above. Websites may not offer the informal small talk that social media does, but it offers everything else social media does, as well as give you an online presence you’re 100% control of, not the social platforms. You.
When it’s time to make small talk, go to social media. And yes, if you have a website you should also have social media too.
It’s not an either or proposition.
It’s a hand-in-hand collaboration. So make the most of both of them!
digit-ALL is a full-service marketing company that focuses on the people side of marketing. We focus on websites, social media, blogs, newsletters, and even corporate event planning. We’re here to help when you’re ready for it.
28% of Small Businesses Don’t Have a Website, According to New Survey Data, Shelby Jordan, PRNewswire.com.
40+ Trending Facebook Statistics : Revenue, Usage, Demographics Statistics for Marketers, Zippia.com.
77 Percent of U.S. Small Businesses Use Social Media for Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, Betsy Dougert, PRNewswire.com.
Google Delays Phasing Out Ad Cookies on Chrome Until 2024, Julia Love, Bloomberg.com.
Social Media SEO: 7 Ways Social Media Can Improve Your SEO Results, Moss Clement, SemRush.com.
TikTok Statistics–Updated Nov 2022, WallarooMedia.com.