In the past, having a static listing in a printed medium like the Yellow Pages might have been enough to keep your top of mind with your target audience. With competition, emerging social media platforms, and the explosion of the mobile web market, a static presence is no longer a viable option. Nowadays, having a vibrant, interactive, online presence for your business is an absolute necessity.
To be fair, many businesses have embraced this need, and there are plenty of tools out there that make creating a website painless (and sometimes free). But even with tools designed to get a website up and running, is this enough of an online presence for your business? With social media platforms continuing to expand, the conversation is quickly shifting to websites like Twitter and Facebook, as opposed to traditional business websites.
To remain competitive (and relevant) businesses need to expand their definitions of online presence; they need more than just static landing pages or tab-based websites to attract customers. In fact, about a month ago, we posted an infographic that showed a surprising 50 percent of consumers think a brand’s Facebook Page is more important than a traditional website. In case you’re still in doubt that social networks are changing how people experience your business, here are six more reasons why Facebook and Twitter are probably more important to your business than a website.
1. Websites Require Constant Maintenance
Simply building a static website and publishing it to the web is not nearly enough to attract customers and make the internet a valuable asset. With the level of interaction expected by most customers, a website needs to be a living representation of your business. If a website’s design or content becomes stale, customers will perceive the brand as lifeless and boring.
If your website is not built on a content management system, it might be difficult for you to devote the time or resources needed to keep the site updated with fresh content and information about your business. With the average cost of a website landing between $50 and $5,000, it’s a potentially big investment to make, with no guarantee that it will be successful.
2. Social Media Is Scalable
The ability to scale quickly is one of the biggest advantages of maintaining a social presence over a website. Facebook and Twitter handle millions of users daily and have built their infrastructures to handle the demands placed on their networks. While your brand might not be going viral often, if your website ever becomes highly publicized it might be difficult for you to quickly add bandwidth to handle the traffic.
It reflects poorly on your business if customers are directed to your website and they are met with error messages, or are unable to load it at all. With social media, you can encourage many people to talk about your brand without worrying about the technological burden of this added attention.
3. Websites Require Specialized Knowledge
To build a website on modern standards such as HTML5, CSS3, PHP, and more, you will either need to hire a developer or learn the skills yourself. For some small companies, it might be difficult to justify the expense of a developer for a small website, but a professional presentation is worth the investment if you can afford it.
Whether it’s the ability to use the site from a mobile device, the desire for media-rich content, or making the site faster and more responsive, designing your website properly is a critical task. While it’s possible to do it yourself, bear in mind that to make a truly custom and unique website, you’ll probably need to start from scratch.
4. Your Customers Are Already on Social Media
Even if you have a beautifully designed website with interesting content, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be popular or successful. Customers are bombarded with websites, links and advertising on a daily basis and it can be difficult to draw people in to your website. Often times, customers will take their discussions to places they are more familiar with.
Instead, a simple Twitter hashtag or link to a Facebook Page can encourage customers (and potential customers) to talk about your brand — and learn about you in a way they’re already accustomed to. Additionally, presence on social media gives you the potential to reach the entire network’s audience. With Facebook, you’re looking at the chance to reach hundreds of millions of fans and even use tools to target these audiences down to the specific cross-section you need.
5. You’ll Be Easier to Find
People are quick to throw around terms like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but the art of making your website searchable is often very difficult. Since the frequency of conversations on social media lends itself to discovery, having a presence on networks like Twitter and Facebook can make it easier for individuals to find you on the web. Each of these networks offer their own search and recommendation engines that could draw in additional traffic as well.
6. Facebook and Twitter Facilitate Content Creation
Relying on social networks to carry the weight of your brand will certainly make life easier for you and will change the way you look at content creation. With a website, creating new content might require additional pages, uploading graphics and other media, and then publishing this content to your site — either manually or through a content management system.
Facebook or Twitter take a lot of the overhead out of content creation; content can often be generated through the simple click of an upload button. These sites also encourage you to update your pages more often by making it so simple to do so. Additionally, with the ability to share content, it becomes simple to repurpose other content found on these networks and suit it to your own needs.
Whether you have a new brand that you are trying to establish, or a large brand that’s still looking to gain traction on the web, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can provide many benefits over a traditional website. It’s important to remember that for some businesses, a website might be a necessity. In those cases, integrating social media into your site’s design can accomplish many of the same goals as well.
Does your brand use social media exclusively for your online presence? Let us know your story in the comments!