Websites 1 Social Media 0
Should it really be a case of Website Versus Social Media ?
Very often these days we speak to clients who still don’t have any online presence, no company website, no social media, nothing! (No, we couldn’t believe it either…. I mean, get with it, its 2012 people!) We have often spoken with clients and asked them why they don’t have a company website – many of them almost seem defensive and fairly often retaliate with ‘I’ve got a Facebook page with 800 friends on it!’
What many people these days seem to believe is that having a Facebook, Twitter or Linked In page is going to be all the promotion you need, it will generate business and is ‘free’ advertising. This is a massive misconception and one that many businesses are failing to realise could be damaging to their business, as opposed to helping it prosper! What people need to understand is that, yes – a business could survive with just a social media presence and no actual business website, but it’s a massive mistake to think that social media should replace a professional company website.
While Social Media is undoubtedly a massively powerful tool for marketing and for raising awareness of your business whilst giving you an online presence, by no manner of means is it ever going to supersede the corporate website. We absolutely agree that all small businesses should be using social media but only as part of a strategically planned marketing strategy. There are so many reasons why a business needs a website. What people need to think about is the amount of time it can take to put a Facebook or twitter page together, you then spend many man hours to add people to your business page, market out promotions, create groups and even reply to message after message and enquiry after enquiry which a lot of the time, doesn’t really seem to amount to much. Sound familiar?
Let me ask you to cast your mind back maybe 10 years? Do you remember a website called Friends Reunited? Yeah me too…..do you still use it? No, me neither. Everyone raved about Friends Reunited when it was first launched, it was new, it was exciting – it let you get in touch with old school friends and childhood sweethearts. I don’t know anyone who uses it now.
How about if I ask you to cast your mind back say, 3 years…..do you remember Bebo? I loved Bebo. I was on it at every spare opportunity, checking the gossip from the weekend, who was wearing what at the club event of the year, leaving my friend a ‘love’ each day. Do you still use Bebo? No, me neither.
I remember hearing people talking about this ‘Facebook’ site and how people were starting to make the transition to move from Bebo to Facebook, even though so many of us ‘BEBO Faithful’ were so reluctant to the change, we dragged our heels and came into 2010 kicking and screaming and admitted defeat – Facebook was the new ‘thing’, everyone was using it (even though it was so confusing to start with). How do I reply to someone? What is a wall? What is a poke? How do I find a friend? What are these groups & event notifications I keep getting? It all seemed so ‘technical’ to start off with. So, now Facebook is still the ‘in thing’ that everyone seems to be using, nothing will ever happen to Facebook, Facebook will always be around….wont it? I hate to say it, but no, chances are it won’t. I remember being absolutely distraught when I was forced by society to move away from Bebo – all those pictures, all the lovely comments on my page, all my fancy skins I had made, I felt like everything was lost.
So I guess you’re asking why I am being so reminiscent. Well, my thinking is this – social media has been part of our lives for the best part of 10 years now, with a new platform popping up every couple of years. When you start using the latest fad, you truly believe that nothing will replace it – I remember thinking this with Friends Reunited, Bebo and even things like MSN Messenger years previously! Ironically the Friends Reunited website is still going strong, as is the Bebo website – proving that the website itself has stood the test of time – even if the concept hasn’t.
This thought carries through to your business, would it have been better to have had a company website designed years ago as opposed to spending so much time promoting, messaging and scrolling through page after page of social updates….just to perhaps get a couple of enquiries or sales from it? If you had a website designed years ago – that website could still be live, doing all the promotion for you, working for you 24/7, 365 days a year – making you money whilst you sleep and whilst another social media platform is put to bed (literally!).
A website will be around for as long as you want it to be, so those companies who have made the vital decision of website over social media will undoubtedly be glad they did – a company website isn’t a fad, it isn’t subject to social media or peer trends, it’s a vital part of any business that will be around for as long as you want it to be. It is a tool that WILL stand the test of time.
I’ve listed below some of the main reasons why website wins over social media every time:
1) A corporate, professionally designed website shows your potential clientele that you mean business! You have invested into creating your own business a proper image and so this brings to your business reputation a great deal of credibility. When we are living in a world where people are all about amazing customer care, customer service and where image is everything, clients are more likely to use a company who portray a professional, branded image, as opposed to finding a company on a social media site. Anyone can set up a Facebook or twitter page – whereas it takes someone who is serious about their business to actually have a company website built.
2) How many times have you used the phrase ‘Just Google it!’? Personally I ‘Google’ things about a hundred times a day. I can’t remember ever saying or ever hearing anyone saying ‘Just Facebook it’ or ‘Search Twitter for an accountant’ – it just doesn’t happen. The reason it doesn’t happen is because Social Media Users (I believe), don’t see social media platforms as a business search tool, why would they when Google is all anyone needs? Chances are they use it to follow their favourite celebrities, share stories with their friends, and pass a few minutes while on lunch. Yes they may be friends with their local beauty salon or local watering hole – but in all honestly that’s probably as far as it goes. Social Media is on the user’s time when they are at leisure and not necessarily looking for services. Anyone who is seriously looking for a business or service is going to look in Google – period. If your company website is on the first few pages – you’re onto a winner!
3) Having your own company website lets you see who is actually using your site. Having analytics built into your site lets you see how many people are viewing your site on a daily basis, what pages they are viewing, how long they spent on your site – giving you an insight into your very own clients behaviour. Social Media Platforms provide little or no data – so how can you possibly know if it’s even working for you if you can’t even tell how many people are looking at your page on a daily basis?
4) Social Media platforms, although creating the impression of allowing you to spread your business to a wide audience, is fairly restrictive with regards to gathering potential clients personal info. Facebook limits you to adding a certain amount of people; you can’t send Twitter followers an email. A website allows you to gather valuable info, through a newsletter sign-up or data capture form for example, and lets you decide how you want to utilise it be it via email, a good old-fashioned one-to-one meeting or our old friend – the telephone!
5) I’m not saying that Social Media is all things bad – it most certainly isn’t – it’s absolutely brilliant, but ONLY brilliant when used to your business’ advantage as part of a strategic marketing plan and running alongside a corporate company website. A website allows you to be in total control of your company’s marketing. Whereas social media platforms can be somewhat restrictive in what you can do and say on there, unless you want to pay for the privilege.
I am all for social media and everything it stands for but I can’t help thinking ‘I’ve seen it all before’, why build up thousands of friends or followers when someday those friends and flowers might move onto something new, leaving you having to start from scratch and with most likely not a lot to show for it. A website will be a friend for life, not just until the new thing comes along……
Websites 1 Social Media 0
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