Updated: Jul 27
One of the first challenges a small business owner faces is establishing a firm foundation of credibility. The risks are real when relying on social media as it is critical to be viewed as a real business by potential customers.
What are some things that make people see a business as credible?
The most common expectation is that a company will have a business name, some level of consistent branding (like marketing materials that include the company name and logo), and a website with its own domain. Fifty years ago, the first item on that list would have been a brick-and-mortar business address, but today, a company needs to have a website to appear legitimate.
Can I just use Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, or an online marketplace for my business?
You could but it's not what is best to keep your business growing as you don’t own these sites. They are controlled by another company and thus terms of the agreement including your ability to use them are in danger. A website that you own (not a free service) is the centerpiece and showcase of your business’s online presence.
A business does not thrive on social media alone.
A time and a place for social media
Use social media in your digital marketing mix for a variety of reasons:
It's familiar and budget-friendly. Most people can easily navigate the social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. The ease of use and familiarity saves time when it comes to creating content for posts. They are also free options to build brand awareness in the online world.
There is an exorbitant amount of traffic on platforms like Instagram (almost 1.5 billion) and Facebook (2.9 billion). These offer the opportunity for a growing customer base by sharing your business through social media. The cautionary caveat here is that just because each platform boasts billions of users, that is in no way a guarantee that your fans will see your posts. You will still have to work hard to gain a following and stay consistent with regular and relevant posts to stay at the top of your followers' feed.
It’s ready for on the go. Social Media platforms have teams work continually on updates to keep them optimized for mobile navigation. Nearly 53% of web visits and online navigation are completed on a mobile device.
In today’s social media-driven world, Facebook and Instagram business is nearly a must for any business. It comes with some advantages that can increase revenue, but it must not be the basis of your online traffic.
A website can be a minimal landing page or an elaborate design with several pages and functions. In the end, a website is an asset that is yours and yours alone.
While social media platforms can offer a few key benefits, it is essential to note that if you solely rely on those for your business, you could lose control of your branding and content for various reasons. A competitor cold not like the competition and report you. While under investigation, your business posts will not be allowed, and once you are allowed back, your reach will be lessened.
5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Website
Tracking leads generated from social media through statistics and results requires a few steps such as ensuring compatibility with any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software you may be working with. Any leads from your website have a clear origin while you have ease of access to data and results when you own the website that your customers utilize.
The times are a-changing…First, there was MySpace, then Facebook, then Instagram, and now the newest platform to explode is TikTok. If you rely solely on social media for your business, you will have to work harder to match your social media to your client base. Facebook is typically best suited for your middle age to an older age demographic. Instagram will hit the millennial target, and well Tiktok is hitting a broad base but takes more to gain traction in terms of building a following. While it is not impossible to toggle and create content for each platform, it can be time-consuming and take time from your main focus; your business. With a website, you have one standard destination THAT YOU OWN for customers and clients with landing pages for specific needs and audiences if you desire to segment.
You need somewhere to link for paid ads and offers for your business. Even if you don't think you will need to run paid ads, having a landing page (on a website that you own) for your offers is key. For pay-per-click ads, a website that you own will ensure you are able to rank higher and that your ads are shown more often. It also ensures you can use Google Ads conversion tracking to see the results of any Google Ad campaigns that you run.
A website is a visual representation of your business and brings your mission statement to life. A website is customized to show your style and what your business offers; whether it is a sleek and modern law firm or bright and colorful craft-making classes. Your website allows your style and brand to be clear and evident. Whereas you aren’t able to create a customized page on the current platforms for social media.
Ultimately the biggest reason you should have a website over social media for your main business page is credibility and control. Studies repeatedly show that a strong website boosts credibility and value for your audience. 8 out of 10 consumers will research and visit a company’s website before making a purchase. There is a hesitation with consumers that if you don't have a direct website for business, it could be a scam or untrustworthy.
Understanding the way people look for trust and credibility is all the reason you need to have a website that shows the online world who you are. Without a website, you potentially lose a customer base that wants to give their trust and business to you.
Additionally, a website will legitimize your business by:
Allowing you to be found. Word of mouth will send people to Google to search for you. But a random search will require a website with language that is optimized for search engines like Google. That’s why it is crucial that you have consistent branding, an easy-to-find domain, and a strong SEO to hit the top of the search results. Most people will go to a website to research a business over a social media business page.
Helping you to stand out as more than a side hustle. A dedicated website is your virtual storefront; your alternative to your brick and mortar. It should be developed and built out like all the other essential parts of your business. A website that looks professional in its design will lead customers to intuitively place their trust in you as a legitimate business.
Showcasing your accolades. With your own website, you can share testimonials and reviews from happy customers or clients. Don’t rely alone on Google reviews. As potential customers are researching your offerings they will see the aggregate reviews and testimonials from all sources showcased on your website thus growing your trust factor with the public.
Yes. Any social media platform is an integral tool in your online marketing tool kit. Yes. It can help drive traffic and business. BUT it should only be operated as a marketing tool and direct clicks to your own website, which is yours, and not subject to the faults and lack of control that comes from full reliance on social media for your business. Any social media business pages should support not replace a website. Think of your social media pages as the opportunity to have a lurker become a paying customer when they visit your site.
Every business in today's tech-driven world should have a website and that website should clearly demonstrate your business's values and increase your revenue with a clear call to action.
As a business owner, you have one shot at making a great first impression. Do that with a website.
At K. Cradley and Company, we want to help you declare your independence from social media. With an ever-present awareness of small businesses building and scaling while working within small budgets, we will have a July special to help businesses showcase their business with their own website. Check out our upcoming independence day special or connect with us and schedule a free 15-minute consultation call to start the journey of freeing your business from social media dependence.