3 Risks of Using Social Media Instead of a Website
Small business owners know what it means to be truly busy. For many small business owners, a typical day at work involves juggling tasks that would be spread across teams or departments at a larger business.
Every small business owner has their own unique strengths, from telling compelling marketing stories to developing innovative products, motivating teams of employees to handling customer service.
But even the most talented and energetic small business owner can’t do it all. For many small businesses, building a website seems too technically complicated or exhausting to consider. For others who already have websites, maintaining a website can seem much more taxing than popping a new status on Facebook.
Given these challenges, it’s easy to understand why 1 in 5 small businesses choose to have social media instead of a website.
Over 50% of small businesses who participated in a recent survey say that social media has even helped to boost their revenue.
Still, experts advise small business owners to maintain a website. In this article, we’ll examine 3 key risks faced by small businesses who choose social media instead.
1. Avoid Surrendering Control to Algorithms
At the beginning of 2018, Facebook faced a major problem. The social media giant had attracted nearly 2 billion users, but complaints of fake user profiles and inaccurate media accounts had grown louder.
In response, Facebook announced that as of January 2018, its algorithm would change. Moving forward, the social media platform would prioritize individuals’ accounts over commercial accounts.
For small businesses, this means that it will likely become more difficult to reach the same number of users.
Although some small businesses who rely more heavily on Instagram or other social media platforms may think this update doesn’t affect them, all businesses should see the Facebook update as a key example of the risks of relying solely on social media.
In truth, social media platforms tinker with their algorithms almost constantly, and often without announcing what they are tweaking.
Not only that, not all social media platforms are able to stand the test of time. Once-promising platforms such as Google Plus, MySpace, and Friends Reunited have faded from the public’s awareness. It’s impossible to predict whether (or when) this will happen our current favourite platforms.
2. Social Media Doesn’t Guarantee Conversions
When thousands of people “like” or follow your business’ social media pages, it’s intuitive feel that people are finding and engaging with your brand.
However, a recent survey estimates that nearly half (46%) of individuals who follow a brand on Facebook have no intention of actually making a purchase. Instead, many follow brands due to the promise of a free product, entry into a contest, or at the recommendation of a friend.
In other words, a large social media following does not necessarily translate into actual conversions.
Instead, small businesses should treat social media platforms as funnels into their websites, where they can provide more explicit and customized calls to action, enticing displays of information about their products, blog content, and more.
By using social media to support your website, you can guide potential customers one step closer to actually completing conversions.
3. Social Media Websites Showcase Their Own Brands–Not Yours
When businesses set up a social media account, they have the opportunity to customize their profiles by uploading a company description, a profile picture, and a cover photo. Customizing these features serves as a quick way to inject your company’s brand into a social media website.
Or does it? Chances are that in reality, most users will encounter your posts in their newsfeed. Many may never visit your company’s profile, or will do so very rarely.
Instead, social media platforms are designed to aggregate and streamline content from a variety of sources into a single, easily digestible feed.
To achieve this, social media platforms tend to visually standardize posts as much as possible. At a glance, it can often be difficult to distinguish between a paid advertisement and a friend’s status update.
While this might be good for social media platforms, it isn’t ideal for businesses. When a potential customer finds your business online, everything from fonts to images to navigation can help you communicate your business’ value to them.
To avoid the risk of your company’s brand getting lost on an already oversaturated social media platform, it’s important to maintain a website that fully showcases your company’s unique style and brand.
Small Businesses Should Use Social Media to Supplement a Website
Although social media’s numerous features for small businesses and built in user base might seem attractive, small businesses should be wary of entrusting their entire online presence to social media platforms.
Instead, small businesses should take complete ownership of their online reputations by building a website that can showcase their brand, products, and more.
Thanks to design templates and website builder software, it’s now easier and more affordable to create a website, even for small business owners with no previous coding experience.
Despite the risks associated with over-reliance on social media, marketing on social channels does offer benefits. By posting calls to action and posting visual content, businesses can boost engagement on social media and in turn support their website goals.
Overall, investing in both social media and a website promises stronger returns than investing in either alone.