Facebook and Twitter are growing ever more popular as the smartphone market becomes more densely populated. Some businesses have an idea of using social media to promote their business to eliminate the cost of website design. The question is, is this the correct decision?
Firstly social media, what are the benefits of it?
Well it’s cheap for starters, free in fact. Facebook allows you to set up a business page, from which you can post news updates and like other pages in order to grow your business. You can also list your contact details and a brief overview telling people about your business and its services. Consumers are able to get in touch with you easily and it is a very common platform with huge volumes of traffic passing through.
The business reviews section also offers a great for you to show off your testimonials. Many people are on Facebook on a daily basis, meaning it’s easy to for people to find or stumble upon your page, whereas on the web it’s more of a specific search.
Another useful feature Facebook has is its analytics.
This allows you to see things such as: Age, Gender, Location and the posts users liked the most. This way, as a business, you can adjust your posts to target the specific audience and also write accordingly to the popular post topics. You are therefore able to appeal to your audience better and are likely to attract more customers.
Social media is also relatively low maintenance and if it’s not working you can either delete your page or deactivate it as you have no money invested in it, therefore lose nothing.
Negatives to Social media.
For starters you can’t personalise the overall look just a few images, meaning that your page looks the same as everyone else’s, so there is nothing to set you apart from your competitors. It would also be difficult for big businesses to get across all their services. There are no separate pages and all the company information has to be on one page as well as their blog posts thus meaning some services may get overlooked. The traffic is also less targeted and people may just stumble upon your page meaning the results are not always good quality.
If you want full control over your marketing, the design, pages and content then a website is for you. The brilliance of a website is that it can be anything you want it to be. It could be as simple as a one page information website informing people briefly about what you do and where you are based. Alternatively it could also be a complex eCommerce website with a stock management system and a members area. The possibilities are endless.
What are the benefits of having a website then?
“You have to spend money to make money.” This saying applies to a website. You spend the money having it designed and developed and then you can start using this to sell products online or services to generate income. It doesn’t have to be a direct web sale, websites are very useful making tool, informing people about what you do as well as showing examples.
Your website can have the features you want and the design is completely unique to you, which makes you stand out. Just like retail stores design their storefronts in specific ways to attract attention, a website is a virtual store front so should be treated with the same mindset. This being said, some businesses prefer to have an online store without a retail store as it reduces overheads. No need for rent or labour costs from shop assistants, further increasing margins.
24 hour availability.
The World Wide Web never closes, you can still receive orders once your retail store has closed thus meaning you never have to miss out on a sale again.
So what are some downsides and are they avoidable?
Firstly people’s main concern is usually “how do I get people to see my website?” Customers often get frustrated when they pay x amount of money for a website and it’s not getting seen. This is often because the web is over populated and is out of our control. As developers is make the site mobile and tablet compatible and write code properly. This way when google scans it they recognise the site as a good website and increases the Google ranking because of this. In addition to this we can also make it extremely eye catching to appeal to the user. There is a service such as SEO (search engine optimisation) which through a series of onsite and offsite methods will increase your Google ranking to make you appear on higher Google and thus create more web traffic.
Keeping your website updated and content flowing can usually take some time and effort.However if you put in the effort you often get rewards. Web agencies such as Identify will update you website monthly for you, free of charge to ensure your website is protected from any potential danger. Keeping content updated such as blog and news updates is not only beneficial to communicate new information to customers, but it also increases your Google ranking, as it creates more search engine friendly content.
What should you do then?
Have both. It’s simple. A social media page should enhance your business rather than replace it. Your website is your shop front and should be custom to the business. Links to your website from your social media are a must, and will generate traffic from two sources. A social media page makes you easier to find but your website is the identity of the company, that will really make a return on your investment.