When an online presence is desired, both Social Media and a Company Website are viable options.
Which choice is the best for your company? The ideal arrangement would be your company’s website working in conjunction with the company’s social media presence. If you were to select one, which should you consider?
Your Social Media page?
The Social Media arena for businesses, is known for quick implementation followed by instantaneous benefits, what’s not to like? It’s a place with real potential; just think of the billions of social media users, all prospective customers. It’s a place to explain your mission statement, purpose and ideals. A place to build lasting relationships and loyalty with your brand.
Besides all that, it’s usually FREE and easy to use. If you don’t like what you created, delete and start all over again. Very simple.
However, there are downsides to Free, Easy and Simple. You give up control, because what you can post and promote is dictated under the Terms and Conditions of the provider of the Social Media site(s) you’ve chosen. Your creativity maybe stymied because there are only so many design layouts offered. And what about all those comments people leave?
Social media encourages an open forum atmosphere: postings will be a combination of compliments, complaints or just plain feedback. This is where you’ll spend your time, acknowledging and addressing these posts – or ignoring them if you don’t have the time and don’t mind negative feedback.
Speaking of feedback wouldn’t you like your own feedback on the success of your social media site? Unfortunately the extent of available reports are limited by what the site owners offer in the way of statistics.
Have you considered, what will become of your online presence if your social media arena goes out of business? You wouldn’t need reports then.
A dot com?
A majority of small businesses owners maintain the premise that a business website is the way to go. They have found that their own .com is their true online identity, and a far more superior online marketing tool for creating awareness and reinforcing customer relationships – more so than any social media page can ever be.
A business website, designed to showcase your products or services is your own. You control the content, the brand, the promotions, everything.
Website hosting fees are all over the board. There is free hosting to very expensive hosting and everything in-between. Free may mean hosting overseas, with little or no guarantee of up times to not having customer service if you need it. Free may mean you’re advertising your competitors’ product or service in a banner ad running on top of your website. Free may also mean if they go out of business so do you.
Paid hosting comes with some guarantees; make sure you read the Terms and Conditions before you sign.
Did you know your website, no matter how or who designed it, establishes business credibly. Whether you know it or not, consumers look for your website even if they find you on a Social Media web page because in their mind a website legitimizes your business.
Can you design your own website? What if you’re a novice and a non-technical business owner? Most hosting companies offer a way to design a quick website using built in design tools, creating a design that will only work using their service. Using that type of tool gives you an incentive to stay with them, satisfied or not. You can always hire a web designer or opt for an easy to use template, like WordPress, which is comparable with most hosting companies.
Because you can create your own website and choose how it is done, you can tailor it as needed. Your business website gives you endless opportunities to market to your customers. You can add pictures, graphs, videos, blogs, testimonials and promotions; you might even hold contests, or create a customer of the year award, it’s all in your control.
Beside control over your website, you’re controlling costs. Online you can take secure credit card orders, explain about returns and describe your products, to offering your complete business information. You can setup a mailing list to promote seasonal offerings, or specials or just disperse basic information, capturing prospects email addresses as they sign up for your list. Low employee cost, high results.
And best of all you can offer your products or services 24/7 along with email support or live support, anywhere in the world
You will have to put some time in your website to keep it current. Hosting expense may increase with e-commerce and other options.
Your website and social media networks should work together. Consider your website as the focal point of your online presence, while social media is the catalyst that engages customers that drives them back to your website.
How can your social media presence and website complement each other?
- Social media is a good platform to make announcements to visit your company website.
- Have a Facebook or Twitter feed page or sidebar on your website.
- Include obvious social media buttons on your website’s footer (or header) that link to your social media page as an alternative way to stay current with your business activities.
- Selling on your website? Integrate social linked icons on your product pages so your customers can share socially what they just bought and what they like.
There’s no problem if your social media pages repeat some of your website content. Social media is just a different avenue for people to use when they may not visit your website on a regular basis.