It’s safe to say social media has completely taken over the digital world. Throughout the last ten years, the percentage of people in the US who utilize social media regularly has jumped from 24 percent in 2008 to over 80 percent in 2017. And businesses have learned just how powerful social media is when it comes to increasing awareness, reaching new audiences, advertising, generating leads and even offering customer service.
This is probably why almost half of all businesses say they don’t need a website. Or, they could believe that having a website is too time consuming, too costly, or that they have been doing fine so far without one.
But there are a few key problems with this line of thinking. Take a look at just a few reasons below why websites are still imperative to small business success — yes, even with the expansion of social media.
1. Social media may be here to stay, but the trends change over time.
All signs point to an ever-increasing social media lifestyle. Job applications now ask for website URLs and LinkedIn profiles; news websites reference celebrity and politician Twitter feeds; and dozens of websites and apps allow users to create accounts using your Facebook login information instead of an email address.
However, with the addition of new social networks and apps launching every year, it’s clear to see that the trends of social media usage are constantly changing. Businesses who solely rely on using social media rather than managing a website may find that where their audience is one day may not be there the next. Take the shift from Myspace to Facebook for instance: there are now over 1 billion users on Facebook every month, compared to Myspace’s 50 million (and that was in 2015!).
2. There are still large audiences to be met outside of social media.
While it may appear that everyone is on at least one social media platform, there are still many who are not. And even if a large part of your ideal clientele is in fact on social media, how can you make sure they’re finding your business online?
One of the most important factors to remember is that a majority of people rely on other websites and search engines to buy products and services. And if your small business doesn’t have any other web presence than a Facebook page, you could be losing out on dozens of potential leads.
3. Websites give you more freedom and flexibility.
Are you interested in telling your company’s background in a personal and unique way? Do you want your brand to be recognizable? Is offering your leads and customers helpful information and resources an important part of your business? Websites can do all of this and more.
Social media platforms have pre-defined spaces for you to fill out, but they don’t offer the chance to customize the entire look and feel of your profile the way websites do. If your small business is looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, build brand awareness, and/or educate consumers, then you should have a website that enables you to achieve these goals. The best part? It’s entirely yours.
4. Strategy matters.
Every method of communication you have with your leads and customers should have a purpose and strategy behind it. Having a presence on dozens of platforms does you no good if you aren’t implementing an organized and strategic plan tailored to each one. In fact, it can actually do you more harm than good, especially if you aren’t keeping every one of them up to date.
Instead of being on a social network simply just to be there, consider ways that it can drive traffic back to your website, or further enhance other initiatives you are working on, such as email marketing, advertising or networking.
Not sure how to start? Take a look at this how-to guide on creating a social media marketing plan from Hootsuite, a leader in the social media marketing industry.
5. Websites link everything together.
Consider your website as a digital storefront. It’s the one place where people can always visit from a variety of avenues: search engines (such as Google), emails, social media networks, direct (by typing in the website, say, from a business card) or from other websites. It’s also a location of your own, which can look the way you want it to, offer information and resources for passersby, keep stock of your products and a whole lot more.
Grow Your Small Business with a New Website
Whether you have had the same old website for years or you have been relying solely on social media to do the work for you thus far, building and managing a new and improved, mobile-optimized website is key to making your small business a success.
Hummingbird Collective offers blogging, SEO, social media and other digital marketing services to small businesses and nonprofits in the Denver area and beyond. We love working with passionate organizations who are ready to take the next step in their digital marketing efforts. Reach out to us online for more information about our digital marketing packages, or call us at (719) 422-5198 to tell us more about your story!