Today, approximately 20% of small businesses are opting to use social media platforms instead of investing in their own website .
The website building process can feel a little like purchasing a property – lots of work to make it truly your own. In comparison, social media offers free and immediate access to an expansive consumer network, which can be an extremely attractive prospect. Crucially, however, whereas a website is completely customisable, social media platforms don’t offer any design modifications and they are subject to strict third-party controls.
There are many rewards associated with building a strong social media presence. It’s free, easy to use and allows many businesses to deliver effective, timely customer service. Social media platforms are also highly visual, support a variety of different media, and foster engagement extremely effectively. Investing time into building your social presence will certainly deliver tangible rewards over the long term, however, it would be a mistake to entirely neglect the importance of crafting a strong, standalone website for your business. Why? Let’s take a look.
Social media will always be outside of your control
Social media platforms can change their rules of engagement whenever they like, which can sometimes be detrimental to business owners. As an example, a recent update to Facebook’s algorithm prioritises user-shared content, which has resulted in the organic reach of business content being significantly reduced.
Also, at the more extreme end, there is always the potential for social media platforms to shut down and essentially disappear or change beyond recognition overnight. If that were to happen with any of your primary social platforms, all the work you have already invested in them will have been for nothing. If you have your own website, you can set your own rules and remain firmly in control of your own success.
Social media could limit your capacity for effective lead generation
While it’s true that many social media platforms provide a range of digital marketing integrations and features that will allow you to track how well your content is performing and analyse your reach, these features are just a small percentage of the capabilities of a well-designed website.
Social media platforms do not permit email capture pop-ups, gated content or landing pages, and as these are among the most effective lead generation tools and a core component of decent web design, your prospects will be artificially limited if you choose to direct your focus solely towards social media.
Social media lacks credibility
Most consumers expect businesses to have an informative standalone website. So, if you want your business to appear trustworthy, established and authoritative, it’s essential to have a website containing valuable information about your brand, who you are and what you do.
In a time when marketplaces are ultra-competitive, you need to know you are doing everything you can to appeal to valuable customers and ensure they can easily interact with you or make purchases via a reliable website.