Promoting Your Small Business on the Web: Website VS Social Media Networks
An effective communication strategy requires that you choose your advertising media based on your goals. But how can one choose between putting a website online and creating a “social profile”? We compare these two options and list their respective advantages and disadvantages.
1. A Decision Based on Your Goals
Before opting for either a social network or a website, you need to first define your marketing objectives. Only after this step has been taken will you be able to make informed decisions.
Generally, the objectives of web communication are divided into 3 main categories, or rather, standards:
In fact, it all depends on the maturity level of your company and the communication media you already have. For example, if you are just starting, it's interesting to begin with social networks. Whereas if you already have a strong brand and want to grow, the website is a more appropriate support.
Likewise, you need to evaluate your starting resources. How much time do you have, how much money, knowledge, etc.?
But you must know, ideally you would promote your small business on both social networks and via a website.
2. Globality VS Specialization
As far as the promotion of your small business goes, a website offers more freedom. You can opt for an e-commerce platform, plan your design and add as many features, plug-ins, and customizable sections as you want.
The functionality offered by social networks has nevertheless multiplied and they seek to offer a maximum of similar services. It’s even possible to create and automate an e-mail campaign on some of them.
Simply put, every social network is likely to help you in pursuit of at least one of your goals. For example, Twitter is an ideal customer relationship management tool, while LinkedIn is the perfect support for finding partnerships. They are, in fact, more “specialized”. The website, a more global object, “can” fulfill all of these functions by itself, assuming of course that it’s properly constructed and that the efforts to promote it are sufficient. On the other hand, it won’t have the potential that each network has, based on its specialty. Moreover, your customers already on these networks like to find you there. In a strategy where both are involved, the purpose of the website will be to centralize your online presence; to be the node that connects all the networks and media on which you operate.
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3. Cost and Time Management
The budget you have as part of your web communication strategy is one of the main criteria for your choice.
Obviously, running a website is much more expensive than using one of the existing social networks. In addition to construction costs, you’ll be responsible for the costs of hosting, maintenance, and upgrade activities.
A page or profile on social networks is absolutely free. Of course, you have to plan a budget – albeit a minimal one - if you want to roll out a sponsored advertising campaign (as proposed by Facebook for example).
Price and time are intimately linked since, as we already explained, an effective presence on social networks requires that you be active and publish regularly. Certainly, it’s a cash advantage, but it’s an activity that can quickly become time-consuming.
The website offers a double advantage. On one hand, you can choose to rely on the services of a web developer: a solution that saves time but requires an extra budget. On the other hand, if you choose to use a web editor yourself, you will have access to a platform that you can customize, is less expensive, but requires more of your time.
4. Versatility and Static Content
The versatility and flexibility offered by social networks have often been seen as contrary to the immobility of a website. This could be true a few years ago, but things tend to evolve. The website is becoming more and more flexible and accessible.
Creating a profile or a page on a social network takes 2 minutes and requires no special technical skills; while most of the time, the construction of a website requires that you get help from an expert, or at least that you master the main rules of computer programming.
This traditional opposition must also be re-examined since Heek now offers you to the ability to create your SMB website accompanied by a chatbot and without any special skill requirements.
It goes without saying that social networks offer you millions of potential customers, while a website is a token of credibility and professionalism. Objectively, each of these two solutions is valid; everything depends on your goals, your resources, and also the inherent characteristics of your small business.