In 2019, Visual Objects found 40% of small businesses in the United States did not have a website. The reason 13% of small business owners gave for this was they saw their social media platforms as suitable alternatives.
Social media is indeed an important element of a business's digital strategy, along with digital marketing and content. Still, it cannot take the place of a fully realized website as a key element of an overall digital presence. Here’s why:
Establish Credibility and Reliability
Social media is a great space for interacting with customers, especially because it places brands and consumers at the same level. Billions of people have accounts on social media, and they all have access to each other's thoughts with one click.
This also creates a unique problem, however. How can your business stand out in a sea of social media profiles, of which many are bots? How do you reach consumers that don't use social media regularly? Being able to link back to a website is important for creating trust between your business and new customers, and building credibility that you can skillfully provide the goods and services that you are promoting on your social channels.
Increase Sales Prospects
People who are considering buying from you will want as much information as possible. By providing them with a 140-character view, they may feel like they are only getting part of the picture. Potential customers enjoy interacting and taking in diverse types of content, including blog posts, videos, and fully developed product descriptions. Social media only provides them with one abbreviated look.
A side benefit is that a website supporting your social media content will also bolster search engine optimization, making it easier for people who know nothing about your business to find you organically in their internet searches.
Take Charge of Your Content
It is quick and easy to manage a social media account, but there’s a reason for this. When you rely on social media as your sole form of communication with your audience, you are placing your content at the mercy of the corporations that own these platforms. A simple policy change will put your content at risk for being removed from the site, lowering your search results, or locking customers out from seeing your content if they don't have an account with the site. If this is your sole means of communicating with customers, you've now built a barrier between you and them, which can ultimately hurt your business.
A website can help you rest assured that you are in control of the message, the medium, and the intended outcome at all times. Websites are now no longer out of reach for small businesses; it can be very easy and affordable to take the plunge with the help of a trusted partner behind you. They can make sure it's safe and performing at optimal levels and help you expand your presence when you're ready.
In a day and age where people prefer to scope out a store online before visiting it in person, it is absolutely crucial for the success of your business that you have a well-designed, functioning website as a component to your overall digital strategy. Social media is a wonderful marketing tool, and a very important piece of the digital presence. In the end, though, it needs to be backed up with a website that effectively centralizes all of your information.