Website? Facebook Page? Google+ Page? LinkedIn profile? Today you have many choices about how to get a presence online. It comes down to what is most effective for YOUR business’ goals. Take a look at the pros and cons of website versus social media, delivered with insights from the tech experts at Verisign.
Social media profiles and pages are quick to set up. In less than an hour, you will be up and running with yours. You’ll be able to tell customers how to reach you easily if you redirect your domain name to your social media page (also referred to as domain forwarding). You’ll have a business-branded Web address – much better than just saying “follow me on Facebook.” (Although you can say that too!)
With over a billion people using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social platforms, your business can instantly take advantage of the built-in base of potential customers. People are already going to those sites. You can capitalize on their popularity.
Social Media Pros:
- Quick and free – Social pages are simple to set up and they are mostly free.
- Low-commitment – If your social profile is no longer doing the job, you can easily delete your page or switch to another platform. Or just don’t pay as much attention to it.
- Globally – The number of businesses that redirect their traffic to their respective Facebook site increases 25% year-over-year.
- Engagement – Social media encourages back and forth interaction, and tends to be casual and humanizing. This allows you to easily communicate and build relationships.
- Branding – Customers will learn more about the business’s values, mission and purpose, through your updates and how you respond to them. This builds loyalty and your brand.
Social Media Cons:
- Limited design – With social media, you have to follow their layout. You can customize your header and profile pic, but the basic layout you won’t be able to change.
- Open forum – Consumers can ask questions and voice their feedback and complaints. That means you have to monitor the site. In other words, the public can put comments on your social page or their profile referring to your profile. You’re not in complete control.
- Limited reporting tools – The level of reporting and features available are often less than with a website. You only get the information the social site chooses to give you.
- Lack of ownership – The social media provider’s terms and conditions control what content and promotions can be presented. For example, if you want to run a contest, you must follow their rules. Also consider what happens if the provider shuts the site down and if this is your only online presence.
Ideally, your business should have a website IN ADDITION TO your social media presence. But some small businesses choose to dip their toe in the water by starting with a social media page. Then later, when they are ready to build a website, they link back and forth from their social media pages.
If you want full control over your brand, then creating a company website is a better option. It’s yours – you own it. You decide what it looks like, and what goes on it. And of course, there’s no substitute for a website when it comes to credibility.
Remember, a website can be as simple as a one-page flyer for your business, or as sophisticated as a multimedia marketing and sales hub.
- Cost effective – There are a variety of options available, ranging from free to expensive. Free websites, depending on your budget and business needs, may be a good starting place. You can always add to or improve upon your free site later.
- Credibility – Consumers expect companies to have websites today. They trust a business more if it has a website.
- Full control – When you own your own website, you have many more choices about how it looks and the features it has. That’s true even if you use a low-cost or free website builder tool and start with a templates. You can typically personalize a template to make it look uniquely yours.
- Better marketing – With your own website, you have more leeway to communicate with and sell to your customers. A website not only has more space to market your business; but you can include more marketing features such as videos, customers reviews, blogs and special promotional offers.
- Reduced overhead – Most consumers prefer to get a business’s information online. If you make your website a useful source of self-service information, it can reduce your operating costs.
- 24-hour availability – You can partly “open for business” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world — even if you’re actually closed.
- Maintenance – Depending on the size of the site, keeping content up-to-date will require some time and effort.
- Increased complexity – The more sophisticated the design and functionality, the more money and time it will take to design and set up.
- More marketing effort – You have to work to get traffic to your website. That means you have to have a marketing strategy and implement it.
View the 12 point checklist for creating a website for next steps on building a website.
Mobilegeddon Image via Shutterstock
This couldn’t be put more perfectly. A social media profile should enhance your business website rather than replace it.
The power of brand identity can be underestimated from time to time, but it’s imperative for a professional appearance. And what better way to showcase your branding than a business website? Check out this article highlighting the importance of brand identity and logos, and let me know what you think! http://www.yola.com/blog/building-a-content-calendar-for-social-media/
Apologies, this link! http://www.yola.com/blog/why-brand-identity-and-logos-help-your-business/ 🙂
It would be better to have both and have them link to each other. If you have a social media profile, this can often funnel people to your page. This way, you get the pros of each.
In healthy social strategies, the site/blog is the hub that everything else launches from. It is the rug that ties the social media room together. I agree with Aira, with how accessible it is to get a website these days, why not have both? I thought your pros and cons were really well laid out, Stacey. Thanks for putting this together!
I think that a website is a must. Once you have a working site, it’s good to have social media profiles in order to promote your content. Of, course you should have time to manage your profiles. If you afford it, hire an expert to do the job for you.
The blog on your site is your hub for your social media activities. You should have a place on the internet that you could call your home base.
Thank you for this wonderfully detailed and expert level post. The relationship of online marketing and social media marketing was always quite simple but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Both of them have unique USPs that can make or break an online business.
Very good article especially for the beginner those who want venture into online environment.
For a beginner choosing a website is very difficult. So there are many alternatives to enter into blogging like blogger.com, wordpress.com, social media page etc to experiment before going with big investment and investing for a website.
I agree with the article, but I think one point needs spelling out and emphasising nowadays regarding social media: that is the fact that some third-party companies, particularly Facebook, regularly tamper with their algorithms and your posts are now reaching a much smaller audience than in the past, unless you ‘boost’ the post (i.e. read ‘pay’) and for the privilege…this is how they make their money…..i.e. the third party has COMPLETE CONTROL now over what your prospects and clients can and do see. You can however use social media to build a very valuable database of prospects and clients if you engage with those on your pages.
Conversely, owning a website allows you not only to control your own destiny but you can build in mechanisms (under your complete control) to collect the necessary email databases for use later through interesting and informative newsletters or emails. No third party is going to prevent you regardless of what they do with their social media sites.
Have you ever watched the TV show Shark Tank? The sharks always ask about the business website. They never ask about the social media profiles. There is a LARGE reason for this. If you are in business to be on Facebook or Twitter, etc. than Facebook and Twitter are in business, you are not. No matter how many friends or tweets you get. Most people are under the false impression that it is a cheap way to start a business. But they only fool themselves. If you have a website If you have a website with the same number friends and tweeters, you have a business. Even if your sales are slow you can still gain financially from the traffic alone, eventually pay for the cost of your website and hosting, make a profit and provide an essential avenue to get your product or service into your market.
If you don’t have a website, your not in business.
Great summary. In my humble opinion. A serious business should have both a website and be on social media. The goal of social media is not really to sell but to get people interested to go to your website. It is also important that you are on the social sites where your target audiences are.
In modern society, the social media pages have evolve and became more important year by year. But a social media page would never be better than a professional web page, maybe it will be more expensive, but you will be paying for the full control and management of your own company page.
Great article listing Pros and Cons of websites and social media! It really does depend on the type of business that determines the importance of the website vs. social media. Both are important for pretty much any business, but the way they can be used in conjunction and separately can vary as widely as the types of businesses there are out there! – A
There is one more con for social media profiles. And it is a pretty big one: Large number of businesses’ internal servers are blocking social media sites.