Today you have many choices about how to set your online presence. Website? Facebook Page? Google+ Page? LinkedIn profile? Which one should you choose?
It comes down to what is most effective for YOUR business’ goals. Consider the following questions and the pros and cons of website versus social media before making a decision.
- What is your online goal?
- To have an online information source
- To sell your products online
- To increase your leads
- To drive traffic to your store
- For branding purposes only
- What is your budget?
- What product are you selling?
- Who is your customer?
- What is the demographic of your customer?
Social Media (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn Page)
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. 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 to set up and free – Social pages are simple to set up and they are free.
- Low-commitment – If your social profile is no longer doing the job, you can easily delete your page or switch to another platform.
- Global trend – There has been an increasing number of businesses that redirect their traffic to their respective Facebook site, instead of creating their own website.
- Higher Users’ Engagement – Social media encourages back and forth interaction, and such, this allows you to easily communicate and build relationships with your customers.
- 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 any social media, you have to follow their template. Generally, you can only customize your header and profile pic, but you won’t be able to change anything else.
- Open forum – Social media is set up to be open for public view and usage. This means that any customers can post their comments and complaints on your page without your prior approval.
- Limited reporting and analytical tools – You can only get information that the social site chooses to give you.
- Customer database – You don’t have any access to your customers’ data.
- Lack of ownership – The social media has control over what content and promotions can be posted on your page. That means if you post a content that is against their rules, they will remove the content from your page. Also consider what happens if the social media shuts the site down and if this is your only online presence.
Nowadays, a lot of small businesses choose to start with a social media page as it is much quicker and easier to start with.
If you want full control over your brand, then creating a company website is a better option. It’s yours and 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 landing page for your business, or as sophisticated as a multimedia marketing and sales hub, or even an e-commerce.
- Cost effective – There are many options available depending on your budget and business needs. You can either build your own website (Wix, Weebly, Grid) or outsource the website development to a developer. Using free website builder may be a good starting place for you if you plan to create a simple website and have a small budget.
- 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.
- Maintenance – Depending on the size of the site, keeping content up-to-date will require extra 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.
Tell us about your choice of whether to have a website or facebook, and your experiences in setting them up. So if you have any problems you need help with, please let us know. Post it in the comments below and we will post an article to help you in our next article.