Social media is no doubt an important tool in business. The cutting edge of social media as a marketing tool is how convenient it is to engage users. Most social media platforms allow you to interact with users through pictures and videos which stimulate them to take action.
Studies show that 44% of small businesses rely on social media to create brand awareness while another 41% relies on it to create revenue. This is most likely the reason why some brands are starting to believe that social media can replace domain names and websites.
Is it possible for a business to replace a domain name and website with social media handles? Yes. Is it advisable? No.
Small businesses should have fully functional social media pages but it must never replace a website and here is why.
- Not All Your Clients Are On Social Media
As popular as some social media platforms are, some people still prefer not to be on them due to many reasons. Some find it too intrusive and would rather keep their personal lives private while some do not have the time. Some people, especially those in the older generations do not even know how it works or how to use it. What if your potential clients fall into one or more of these categories? How would you engage them?
There are currently over 2 billion social media users in the world but those are a mere fraction compared to the entire world’s population. What if your client falls into the category of people who find social media intrusive? How will you tell them about your products and services except through a website?
- Social Media Policies Are Always Changing
The creators of social media apps usually have certain value propositions in mind when creating these apps and with time they keep analysing feedback and consumer behaviour to know which policies to review. This happens a lot and could affect your business in so many ways. If you are part of the 41% of businesses who rely on social media to generate revenue then this might become a serious problem for you.
Take for instance, you sell jewellery and usually post videos of your satisfied clients wearing jewellery bought from you on your Instagram story to gain new leads. Imagine that you have been doing it for close to a year and have been getting leads only for Instagram to take down the story feature and replace it with something else, you may lose a lot of clients due to this.
If you had a website on the other hand, you can effectively share videos of clients on it and unlike Instagram story which disappears after 24 hours, it would always be there until you decide to take it down.
- Social Media On Its Own Cannot Build Consumer Trust
In every type of business, it is essential that you try to win the trust of your consumers. According to a survey, one out of every three consumers to brand trust being one of the top three reasons why they shop with some retailers. As much as branding your social media pages with your logo and sharing information about your brand can help you advertise your product, it will not help you gain the trust of consumers.
Social media pages are quite easy to hack due to the fact that your page is still within a domain and you do not have full control over it. A report found that two out of every three adults have experienced hacking of one of their social media accounts. It appears to be quite easily done based on this information.
With a website and domain name, it is very easy for you to put out content that most describe what your business is all about. Take https://www.freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting/ for instance, the link itself tells you that the site is about web hosting. You can also include a live chat feature in case the clients have questions. All of these cannot be done with just social media; they require the use of a website.
- Social Media Does Not Improve Business Value
A lot of people grow their businesses simply to have the pleasure of selling off the business when it has attained its optimum level or when they no longer have need for it. In order to sell your business, you must know its value and be able to prove it to the prospective buyer. This is where assets like having a website come into play. Factors like leads, web traffic, blog and inbound links are bound to increase the value of your business. According to a survey, 7842 small businesses were sold in 2015 only. The best way to promote the value of your business in case you need to sell is by having a fully functional website.
- Social Media Gives You Less Control
A high percentage of people who use social media for their business use it as an inbound marketing tool. It is actually a tool that really works as a lot of users rank social media as their primary means of finding inspiration on which products to buy. A major limitation to using social media for business is that you have to adhere strictly to all their policies and might even be required to give them a percentage of the proceeds generated from sales leads they have gotten you. Even when you need to run giveaways or online contests, it is a must for you to abide by their rules. Another problem is how easy it is for social media authorities to lock a social media page if they believe that you are doing something wrong.
All of these are highly unnecessary with a website. Your web host would never force you to abide by their rules. You can carry out sales of products via your website, customers can track their orders via your website and you can also analyse trends in consumer behaviour from your website; this is not possible with social media. A website allows you to take full charge of your online marketing process.
- Social Media Does Not Enable The Use Of Analytics Tools
Tools like Google Analytics allow you to know how your website is doing in terms of leads generated and their respective sources, traffic on your website, conversion rates of visitors etc. It also gives you insight into consumer behavior, the locations they search from, the keywords they use, the kinds of devices they use to conduct search and what they do with the search results. The essence of analytics tools is to know how your website is performing and also to find out what users do when they are on your website.
Although a lot of businesses still underestimate the importance of web analytics as a business tool, more tech-savvy businesses are incorporating it into their digital marketing strategy.
It would be highly impossible to measure these metrics on a social media, thus impeding the growth of your business. Your business will only grow if you know what your consumers need and the best way to meet those needs. Social media is unable to provide you with the metrics you need to push your business to the next level.
- Advertising Is Not Free On Social Media
Despite the fact that it is free to open most social media accounts, it is not free to promote businesses on them. In order to create a Facebook page you do not need to pay any amount of money, however, before your posts can be shared as a sponsored page on other people’s timelines you have to pay some money. Though it is usually relatively cheap and can be custom-fitted to your budget, the bottom line is that you need to pay.
Websites on the other hand offer the opportunity of free advertising in the form of search engine optimisation. It is absolutely free and all you have to do for your webpage to rank amount search engine results is to create relevant content; content that matches the words searchers are looking for. Search engines are really important in the growth of businesses with a survey showing that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, while 47% of people click on one of the first three listings.
Finally, the more you try to compare social media and websites the more you start to see that both have different functions and one cannot be replaced by the other. However, you should consider linking your social media pages to your website to increase your web traffic and share engaging content on your social media pages after putting them on your website.