Should My Business Have a Website or Just Be on Social Media?

Hi, Denise Rivas, Your Computer Tutor here. This vlog was inspired by recent questions from several small business clients. On the surface, the questions really have to do with marketing strategy, but marketing a small business today almost always requires using technology in some way. Besides, I did get a degree in marketing way back, before I went “geek,” so it really is in my wheelhouse. My clients’ questions center around why a small business should maintain a website as well as a presence on various social media. Their concerns include

  • Not having enough time to post, or not knowing how to do it efficiently
  • Feeling like they don’t have anything to say
  • Distaste for social media on a personal level, and not understanding that there can and should be a healthy separation of your personal and business identities on these sites.

Here’s my take on it:

As a small business owner, your website, with your business’ domain name, is the one place on the internet that you completely control your brand from. It may contain your blog, your product listing, your sales pitch, and your cultivated testimonials or reviews. Consider it like a stack of undistributed brochures or yellow pages listing, pre-Internet. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, for your website is important to ensure that it gets found when potential customers are searching for your product or service.

Using this brochure metaphor, then, social media is one way you can distribute that brochure. Before the internet, if you knew your potential clients were hanging out at the mall, you might place that brochure or coupon on their windshields. If you knew they went to the theater, you’d place an ad in the Playbill.

Today, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. are virtual places that your potential clients might be “hanging out.”  You have the opportunity to reach them where they already are. If they are following your business page on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn, they’ve already expressed an interest in what you have to say, which means they’re already a more targeted audience than you would get blindly handing out brochures in a parking lot. Posting on social media reinforces your industry expertise and keeps you “front of mind” for that moment when a follower needs your product or services.

So, for a small business, a website has its place and function – being that constant “brochure in the cloud” for people who might not have found your business yet, or who want to buy things from you now. Social media can reach your followers, often for free, can keep you front and center with your audience, and can drive people to your website if that’s what you want. Social media sites will come and go over the years, but your website remains a constant that you control. Which social media sites work best for your business will depend on who your potential clients are.

So, the question of website vs. social media is best answered not as an either/or, but as an “and.” Which social media sites work best for your business will depend on who your potential clients are.

When you understand how your website and social media can work together, it will save you time and effort. I work with several clients on just this, establishing a process for publishing information, step-by-step through what to do on the website, blog, newsletter, social media pages, etc.

I look forward to working with you and your business, @Your Pace, @Your Place.

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