Website vs Social Media for Business

These days, many small businesses opt to trade without a website, relying instead on their social media platforms. We take a balanced look at the arguments for website vs social media for business. Do you really need a website if most of your sales come through Instagram? Could you just sell on Etsy without having your own website or social media channels at all? If you have a physical store, do you still need an online presence as well? Is social media really necessary if you get your website search engine optimisation (SEO) right? We share the pros and cons of each approach to help you reach the right decision for your business.

Website vs Social Media for Business: An important note

You’ve probably come across this blog post because you’re a business owner trying to decide whether to create a website or just run your business using social media. Or perhaps you’re unsure whether you need to use either. The most important thing to bear in mind is that we don’t know your business. This guidance is just that – a guide. We’ll show you the pros and cons and conclude on what we would usually advise doing. 

However, if that doesn’t feel right for your business, please don’t feel any pressure to follow our advice. We will always provide help and guidance without judgement. If you need to chat to us and clarify why we’ve come to the conclusion we have, drop us a message and tell us a bit about your business. We can then customise our advice to you. And don’t worry, it’s free. Of course, we’d love to work with you. But we also understand that starting out in business is tough, so if you just need a few tips for now, let us know. 

Do I really need a website for my business? 

It is true that these days, there are many ways to run a business without having your own website, even if you want to sell online. You can advertise your product or service via social networks, then use someone else’s website to sell it. Sites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon make this a lot easier. But don’t forget, they will always take their cut so without your own website, you are immediately reducing your potential profit.

The advantages of having your own website

  • You have complete control over it, so you won’t be competing with other sellers on that site
  • All the profits are yours, there is no online store taking a cut
  • You can use your website to direct customers to your social media and collect their information for your mailing list. This makes it easier to ensure your customers remember you and come back again and again. 
  • You look more professional. Taking the time to build a website and show off your products and services makes you look more trustworthy. It shows you care about your business. 
  • You can easily lose a social media account so it’s essential that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Did you know that many brands and influencers have been losing their Instagram profiles recently? A copycat starts up an identical profile, stealing all their photos and then, Instagram deletes the wrong account. Or, someone manages to log into your profile and lock you out. People have even demanded money to give back the account. If your whole business is based around that social media profile and you can’t retrieve it, you have no plan B. 
  • People who are searching for the goods or services that you provide could find you online. Particularly if you put some time into search engine optimisation to help your web page to rank well on Google.

The disadvantages of having your own website

  • It’s expensive. Actually, let’s put aside that concept for a moment. If you just need a basic website, it won’t cost too much to get one designed. Or if you have the time, you could even use WordPress and try to build one yourself. There are plenty of tutorials out there to help with basic web design and you can even get a free theme. Hosting doesn’t need to cost the earth either. Hosts like TSOhost often have special offers on hosting. For a basic website, if you time it right you can get hosting for £15 for the year including email addresses. This allows you to have your own domain so your customers can find you easily. 
  • You don’t have the time to maintain it. This may be true, particularly when you first build it. But have you looked into how much time you need to spend maintaining a website? It might be easier than you think. In fact, to maintain a social media profile properly takes a lot of time too. Unless you are already making a fortune via social media, you could just post less frequently and dedicate a bit of that time to your website. Or consider outsourcing. Here at SEOsocial, we offer a website design and maintenance package, let us know if you’d like to chat about it to see how we can help. 

Website vs social media when you have a physical store

So, you have a high street shop, café or other bricks and mortar store but you want to promote it online. What’s the best way to do it? Actually, we would recommend having both a website and social media. The advantage of a website is that you can get it on Google local and other search engines. Then, when people are looking for your product or service in your area, they’ll find you. 

Conversely, the advantage of social media is that your customers can spread the word about you, helping you to reach new audiences. Some clever marketers incentivise people to let their friends know that they’re enjoying their café or shop by posting on social media. Do you have an Instagramable shop front or inside wall? Post your Instagram username near to it so people can tag you. 

The only problem with that approach on social media is that the first thing people will want to do when they see you tagged is to look on your website. What do you sell, what’s your menu or how much do your services cost? Without a website at this point, you immediately lose business. Instead of checking you out and seeing something they like the look of, they find no website and lose interest. They might pop in next time they’re passing, but they won’t go out of their way to get there. 

So you can see that having both a website and social media as well as an online store closes the circle. People talk about sales funnels and it’s not a term I’m fond of. But becoming a customer is a step by step process. First they hear about you, then they like what they see. You’re in their conscience then and they might see your name pop up elsewhere, walk past your location or remember you when they need something. Every channel you can use to raise awareness of your brand is another way of reaching your customers.

Website vs social media for business: Do you need social media at all if you get your SEO right? 

So, you’ve got a website and you’re nailing your search engine optimisation. Firstly, congratulations! That stuff is A LOT. If you are ranking on google and getting regular search traffic, you are doing brilliantly. So, you may be wondering whether you need social media at all. 

If you are already getting plenty of sales and have as much work as you need then perhaps you don’t need to be on social media. However, there are still advantages to having well maintained social media accounts. For example; 

  • It looks professional and makes you approachable, even providing another way for customers to contact you. 
  • Customers can review and recommend you, giving you added credibility and trustworthiness. 
  • When people share your work on their social media and tag you, you can tell everyone about what a good job you’ve done. Word of mouth is the best advertising and social media is the online version of word of mouth. Social media done well will drive traffic to your website. 
  • You can get to know your customers. Interact with people, have some fun and chat with them when they comment on your posts on Facebook or Instagram. Twitter can be even more chatty. 
  • You can add value beyond your product or service. Share tips about your area of expertise and be regarded as an expert in your field. After all, you probably are. So why not tell people about it? 
  • If you do need to grow your business, social media is a great marketing tool. You can put as much or as little into it as you want. Do it yourself or outsource. But the more you put yourself out there, the more people will hear about you, giving you the opportunity to drive visitors to your website where you can showcase your business and create sales. 

How can SEOsocial help with your website and social media? 

Whichever side you fall on the website vs social media argument, we offer a variety of options to suit every business. Before working with anyone, we want to chat with you about what you need and we’ll then provide a bespoke quote. Here are a few of the options: 

  • Website creation and branding: We can do everything for you from creating a logo to building your website. If you want us to, we’ll maintain it for you as well. 
  • Social media management: We would love to get our hands on your social media accounts and make them stand out. Let us help you to build followers by offering value and giving people a reason to follow your account. If you’re looking for clickbait merchants, that’s not us. We’re all about honest, helpful content that looks professional. Check out our Insta feed to see our creative style. 
  • Website copy: Let us create properly researched, SEO optimised wording for your web pages. There is a delicate balance between using the right keywords and making it too keyword heavy so nobody wants to read it. We can also help with blog posts and blogger and influencer outreach to help with link building and awareness of your website. 
  • Consultancy: We know that outsourcing is a stretch for small businesses. So, let’s talk instead. We’ll take a look at your brand, website and social media and suggest ways that you can improve it using existing staff instead of outsourcing. We’ll help you create templates and social media plans so you can build your own online presence. 

To find out how we can help your business, request a free, no-obligation quote.

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