Social media is a very powerful tool for building awareness of your brand, products, and services as well as for marketing your business online.
Social media should be included in your marketing strategy but isn’t enough, on its own, to establish and maintain your online presence. There are some fundamental reasons why having a business website is crucial for any business today.
Credibility and Accountability
Being trustworthy and accountable is critical to being successful with building your business. Creating a Facebook Page or Twitter account does not cost a dime and has minimal restrictions to entry. With few entry barriers, scammers can create fake business pages. A website takes your business to another level because, at minimum, it demonstrates the business owner has made some type of financial investment. Reputable business owners are willing to provide information about their business, their products and services, the business location(s), their business policies, and contact information on their website.
I’m not suggesting that every business with a website on the Internet is a reputable one. Of course, caveat emptor or “let the buyer beware” always applies. Every consumer has the responsibility to use due diligence with any business they are dealing with.
Your business website is your content and marketing platform. Using only a social media site is nothing compared to the depth to which a website shows about your business.
Influence and Control
Marketing your business by relying solely on social media sites leaves you with little control over how your target audience will find you in the search engines. While there have been SEO improvements with some social media ecommerce applications, you do not have the same level of options as having your own website. Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media channel, all the control is retained by the individual social media site. They have the power to make policies that can influence how your target audience will interact with your business.
The best way of systematically improving your inbound marketing is through analysis of credible quantitative data. To be effective in growing your business, the use of analytics is inevitable to show you what’s working and what’s not. While some ecommerce apps for social media provide analytics, there will be limitations in the data provided. Website tools like Google Analytics are the best for delivery of the data you will find most useful in measuring your efforts. If you are determined to use a social media site for your online store instead of a website, choose an ecommerce application that integrates with Google Analytics.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a HUGE fan of social media and social media marketing. I just think some small business owners mistakenly choose to use only social media for online stores or for marketing their business because they perceive it to be the same or as good as a business website.
Social media is a great way to supplement your online marketing and sales efforts. But it is not the ultimate replacement for a business website. Your online presence can be optimized by creating a website that is content rich for marketing and sales purposes while magnifying your marketing efforts with a strong social media marketing strategy. That is the optimum solution.
Do you use only social media to market your business?