Even though social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and others are essential tools to marketing your business, your website is still important! I see a number of people getting into social media, which is way important, but they’re not setting up their own website, which I think is just as essential. Here’s how I like to explain it to my clients . . .
Your world headquarters
Think of your website as your world headquarters. This is where you can show everyone what you have to offer, talk about the company background, when it was founded, your company philosophy, offer testimonials, have a blog where you can interact with visitors, give people a way to contact you, etc. Just like the world headquarters for any brick & mortar company, your online world headquarters is the ultimate destination for your business.
Your branch offices
While your website is your online world headquarters, your social media accounts are like branch offices for your business or like a kiosk in a mall. They give people an idea of things like:
- The ability to purchase products or services
- Your location (your website and brick and mortar location)
- Testimonials from clients/customers
- Contact information
- A little bit about the people behind the business
- How to visit the main office
The McDonald’s effect
When you have branch offices, you’ll have a presence in areas people frequent, which means more visibility. Think of McDonald’s. Whether you like them or not, they’re everywhere, and because they’re everywhere, most of us think McDonald’s when we think of fast food. The same strategy will hold true online. If people see you wherever they go, they’re more likely to think of you when they need a product or service your company offers.
And, where are people online today? Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube, and many other social sites. And, remember, it’s not just people who visit these sites who are likely to see you. Since search engines are incorporating more and more social sites in their results, if you’re active on them, you’re upping your chances of appearing on Google too.
You’re your own landlord
Let’s go back to the kiosk idea for a moment. Companies that operate out of kiosks have to conform to certain standards. Their carts have to be of a certain type, they have to present their products in a specific way, have special signage, etc. In other words, they must adhere to set ways of doing things. It gives them great exposure, but it may limit their creativity a bit. Social sites are the same. While they provide excellent ways to get noticed by more people, you might want to do something that’s simply not available on one of these accounts. Because you have a website though, you generally have much more freedom to do what you want.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that if you have your own website, you won’t run the risk of becoming a victim if one of the social sites you’re using changes drastically or even goes away. GeoCities is a good example of this. GeoCities provided people with a way to set up free websites and many used them for their small businesses. Then, in 2009, the service was discontinued and the websites were gone. People who didn’t move their files over to a different hosting account were lost. And even then, because they’d built up their SEO on URLs based on their GeoCities site, when they changed to a new host, they had to start over. Social sites are similar in that you’re at their mercy if they make major changes or discontinue their services.
Having a website helps solidify your online presence and lends a bit more credibility to your company than if you just had social media accounts. However, your website and your social media accounts should work together so that when people visit one, they can easily visit the others if they like. So, even though your Facebook page, Twitter, etc. may be the main way you interact with people, it’s in your best interest to have a solid website as your online world headquarters.
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I'm a social media consultant and work with people to help them learn how to get the most out of the Internet.