Website vs Social Media: What Does Your Business Need?
In this rapidly evolving digital world, many small business owners and marketers have managed to establish their brands’ online presence through various social media platforms and websites like blogs, online portals, and eCommerce online shops. But with the constant updates in their social content guidelines and the algorithms set by the widely-used social platforms and search engine giants – is there any room left at all for your growth without spending too much on paid ads? As a business owner or a marketing professional, you may have already thought about this a lot.
Does your business need an official website or does your brand’s social media presence seem like it’s enough? Now, that’s actually a great question that people ask us more often than you’d imagine – “official website vs social media profile“, what does your business really need?
For businesses, social media has made it easy to communicate their brand’s message to the right people at the right time. With an effective strategy, they could even get their brand to stick out to their audience well enough for them to be interested. There are many other benefits to be had from using social media – if done the right way.
Creating a branded page on social media is quick and easy. The best part of it is that it’s all for free. All you need after setting up your page is an effective strategy to get noticed by the people and get them to interact with you online. Now, why would you want to build a website that will require you to spend money on a domain name, hosting, web designers fees, SEO, updates and maintenance, when you could just set-up a social media profile for your business?
The Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses
Faster and Easier Communication
Something businesses have strived to achieve for a long time – real-time interaction. Customers can contact a customer service representative faster and easier. Businesses can also receive reviews, respond to product or service enquiries, and attend to customers’ grievances in real-time. Depending on the industry and the issue, challenges may still arise, but the line of communication that once was challenging to establish is no longer nearly as difficult to do so.
The impression a brand gives off and the reputation it may have established can be greatly enhanced and showcased through your branded page and the posts you make. Social media allows businesses to publish content that matters to their target audience. This helps a lot in training their customers to keep their brand at the top of their mind whenever those important buying decisions need to happen.
As a social media marketer, I create content that aims to show off a brand culture and brand personality in order to stand out among the rest for the traits that make our brand different. I use it to tell our brand’s story and let others understand what we do. I use it to personify our brand and socialise with our audience not just as a branded page but as a real human being. That is the real power of social media, and I think it’s the biggest impact social media has on most brands.
Networking, Partnerships and Community Growth
Establishing quality relationships is now a lot easier with the streamlined communication we get from social media, and building relationships with key influencers ears a lot of value for your brand.
User-generated content is the best form of free advertising you could use on your prefered social platforms. The larger the audience, the more potential the content has to really impact a brand and its messaging.
Most brands will have people post their content with specific hashtags. So, the brand isn’t just receiving the content; the content is actually being posted throughout social networks.
Reach Potential Customers
Maintaining a brand’s respected reputation comes with an opportunity to impress potential customers through your content and more importantly, through how you handle even the most unrelated customer interactions.
People often turn to social media and online review sites to get a good idea of what they can expect from you. Just like marketers, consumers are using social media as a tool to help them make better purchases and decisions in general.
On average, people take into account 10 reviews of a local business before making a purchasing decision. This gives potential customers the chance to see that businesses truly care about their customers even after they’ve made the sale.
Social media channels allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of not just other marketing tactics and practices, but also with the tactics used by direct competitors. The truth is we can learn a lot from our competition.
Your competitors aim to do the same things as you – establish and protect their own brand’s reputation and ultimately sell their products and services. Monitoring the competitors’ activities and creating ways for your business to do better while keeping the audience entertained and informed play a major role in reaching your business goals.
Things You Need To Know Before Building Your Official Website
Owning an official website built for your business is very different from the points made above, especially when it comes to cost. When done professionally, a website is going to cost more than setting up free social media pages, but the differences don’t end there. Here are some things you’ll need to do and understand before building a website for your business:
Purchase Your Domain and Website Hosting Service
In a nutshell, your domain is your “address”, while your website hosting service provides the server space or the “land” where your website will live.
To get your website started, you have to purchase your domain name and pay for website hosting. Both of these have recurring costs that could vary depending on the duration that you select for your registration contract. The average cost for a domain will typically be anywhere from AU$ 14.00 to 17.00 if you’re going for a brand-new domain.
Some extensions like .biz, .xyz, or .info, along with hundreds of others will end up being incredibly cheap because internet users aren’t quite used to those extensions and they don’t pack the same kind of punch. Some extensions will lead to even higher registration fees, like .co, .ai, .io and others.
Website Builder, Development and Technical Experts
In reality, most small business owners cannot double as web designers. If you have the budget, you will most likely end up hiring a web designer to design, build, and occasionally update your website for you. But for the younger and smaller businesses, the costs are just too high to shoulder. The good news is that there is now a more cost-effective option to get your website up and running while still maintaining that much needed professional appeal.
Stacked Site is said to be the hybrid of a web builder and WordPress. It provides the ease of a builder and the flexibility and scalability of a WordPress site. Subscriptions are offered on monthly and yearly plans at AU$29 and AU$290 respectively – which is good for those who are on a tight budget.
Own a WordPress site equipped with all the best plugins.
Stacked Site is the ultimate managed WordPress environment website-building platform featuring a well-supported ecosystem of premium plugins alongside an expert community.
We manage updates, upgrades, security, performance tuning and hourly backups. All so that you can focus on your business.
You can expect that you’ll be provided with various online resources backed by streamlined support to ensure that you will be able to use their platform accordingly. The platform has an online community where Stacked Site Experts and Mentors can be contacted for support.
A collection of video tutorial to help new users to get started is available on their YouTube channel.
The team has also created a dedicated online course and an updated Knowledge Base to help you learn all the available features and functions of their web builder.
With all the available premium plugins and features and your new skills as a newbie website designer, you’ll never have to worry about hiring an expert for your website’s future updates.
Why Your Business Needs a Website
Gain Full Control of Your Online Presence
As a business owner, it’s important to get full control of your online presence, and the only way to do that is by setting up your shop in your very own space.
If you set up your business solely on one or more social platforms, your growth is ultimately at the mercy of those platforms. They can make changes any time and all that you can do is go with the new flow, even if it impacts your business. If that platform gets acquired and changed or shut down, you may no longer be able to reach your customers and you may even lose money in the process.
Some might say “Facebook will never shut down”, or “Instagram will always be around“. Who knows, right? Remember what happened to the social networking giants Friendster and Multiply? Both companies suspended their services due to the evolving landscape in the challenging industry and lack of engagement by the online community.
Just a little while ago when many branded pages were recently hurt due to an update that Facebook implemented that flipped its newsfeed algorithm, decreasing the organic reach of branded pages.
The same thing could happen on another social platform at any time. YouTube could start charging us to store videos on their servers. Twitter could decide to become a premium platform where businesses have to pay for every tweet. In either of these circumstances, if you don’t pay then you no longer get to reach your customers.
Your Website is the Hub of Your Online Presence – Your Social Media Page is a Marketing Tool
If you have your own website, it serves as the most accessible hub for your business. In this case, you have full control of your situation.
This is how you should treat social media – as a marketing platform to drive traffic back to your website. Use that traffic to grow your email and customer lists so you can communicate with them any time on your own terms.
At the end of the day, it’s much smarter to invest in something you own than to build on land that doesn’t belong to you. Some day the rules are going to change and it could have a major impact on your business if you aren’t in control. This is why we highly recommend that you invest in a website now and then use social media to drive traffic to your website and grow your business online the right way.