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I’m on social media, why do I need a website?
Is it worth having a website once I’m on social media?
Is being on social media not the same as having a website?
Not everyone understands the differences between social media and website so I’ve spent the time to break down the differences, in a way a layman would understand.
Social media was created to be a channel. Website was created to be an extension of your business.
This is what I mean…
Social media platforms were not created to replace websites. They were created to complement websites.
What social media has been able to do is to give us more options to market our products and services online.
Social media is not meant to be a destination for your business but rather a means to the end (destination). That’s why they are called social media channels. They are channels, roads, pathways…to a destination.
In relation to the physical world, social media is more like the road signs, the billboards and the store banners. They are all pointers to your real business.
It’s a marketing tool…a platform to make ‘passers-by’ aware of your products and services (create awareness) and drive them to take a particular action.
Let me now talk about websites after showing you the place of social media.
As I’ve already said, a website is more or less a virtual extension of your physical business. It’s considered as a home for your business. It should have all the features to mimic your offline operations and services.
When someone comes across your services or products on social media for the 1st time, gets interested and really wants to find out more online, the first place to get to is your website.
It should house everything about your business…your services, products, processes and more. A website is actually made for that, in a way that social media is not.
The kind of features that can be built in a website cannot be experienced on social media. A typical example is getting customers to subscribe to your email list…or getting couples to book you online using a booking system…or getting customers to order and pay for services and products online (online payments).
That’s the place of a website. Social media is a marketing tool that drives people to your website. Your website can be considered as the end to that means. It is the destination the sign boards and the pathways lead to.
With social media, you create awareness of your products and services to convert prospects into leads and with a website, you convert those leads into customers.
The two complement each other in the customer’s journey to do business with you.
Your web presence will be limited if you don’t have a website.
Let me be more practical.
For many of us, when we want to search for a product or service online, the first thing that comes to mind is Google.
According to Alexa, Google is the no. 1 most visited website in the world. Why would anyone visit that simple and boring-looking website?
Because under the hood, it has a sophisticated search engine that can help you find anything you want, in a fraction of a second, right from wherever you are.
Unless searchers already know who you are (your business name), hardly will anyone find you on Google when they search for services related to what you do.
Let me give a vivid example. Let’s say I’m a wedding planner and I have a wedding planning agency called Wed Bay. Wed Bay is listed only on social media (for eg. Facebook and Instagram) but I don’t have a website for the business.
As an entrepreneur and a wedding planner, my business goal will be to make more revenue by booking more weddings.
But here is the thing…
When someone is ready to marry, it’s more likely that the first platform the person visits to search for wedding planning related services is Google.
Unless I am a giant and well-known in the wedding industry, the person may not even know my business name to search for it directly online.
He can only use wedding related phrases in his search like…
wedding planning in Ghana
wedding planners in Ghana
how to plan a wedding
how do I plan a simple wedding
where to start when planning a wedding
top wedding photographers in Ghana
These are the typical keywords he will use in his search and I can bet you that, although I provide wedding planning services and I’ve my planning agency listed on social media platforms, Wed Bay will never pop up on Google.
Being on social media is extremely helpful but it’s only gives you a social presence. You are more likely to be found on the web (web presence) if you have a website and you know how to effectively use it.
You are restricted in the way you use social media. Website gives you the opportunity to express yourself without limit.
Social media is extremely helpful but we are limited in the way we really want to express ourselves as businesses.
That’s the main reason there’s the need to be on more than one social media platform to fully express ourselves.
Instagram is mainly a photo and video sharing platform, restricting you to tell your business story using those content types only. You are limited to describe your business profile. It doesn’t accept links……
The main concept behind Twitter is to tweet ‘what’s happening now‘ so you are restricted in the number of words you can use.
Facebook is by far the only social media platform that has been flexible with time in allowing all types of content type and….texts, photos, videos, links, etc and are a little gracious with the restrictions as compared to the other platforms, but the truth still persist…it’s social media and they can’t have all the built-in features every business needs.
A website is the only platform which gives your business the opportunity to fully express itself.
You are not limited to texts, images, videos, links, forms, etc. You are not limited to the design of your website… in fact, the design is limitless. So far as you can dream it, you can design it.
You can literally build any feature or functionality into your business website. The work lies on you to decide what features you think can help drive your business.
If social media is like a rented apartment, a website will be like your own house, built your own way.
That’s what a website gives you.
Social media is easy to set up and it’s the buzz of the 21st century so everyone, serious and non-serious, is on social media.
Because of the crowd, it’s good for your business to be on social media to get word out there about what you do.
But let’s be realistic, with all things being equal, if I’m to choose between a wedding planner who is only on social media, and one who is on social media but also has a website, my first impulse will be to choose the latter.
It’s just because having a website gives a certain impression…an impression of seriousness…an impression of professionalism.
It helps you to build an image for your business. It helps in branding your business.
Then, there is a class of clients you can never find on social media. It’s either they are not on social media, or they have a social presence but are not active on social media.
Such class of people heavily rely on Google to do their searches. Once they find you on the web and are convinced that you can meet their need, they do business with you.
I hope this helped? I will be interested to know your thoughts in the comment session.