Small Business Websites and Social Media: Why You Need Both

In recent years social marketing has exploded and now there seems to be a great deal of controversy over which is more effective, a business website or social media. Before going any further, it might be wise to mention that neither should be left out. Both are effective and when combined, the results are exponentially higher than when one or the other is chosen as the sole marketing strategy.

Having said that, the only time this would not be an issue is when the business website is an eCommerce site. Therefore, dropping the website would be counterproductive since the merchant would not have an outlet for their products.

Cost Shouldn’t Be an Issue

In reality, much of the time cost shouldn’t be an issue because there is no cost for creating a social business profile. However, businesses can buy ads on social media so there might be a cost there. Unless you want to pay for ads on Facebook, for example, it costs nothing to create a business profile.

Even so, there is no secret that the most successful businesses create a budget for marketing, and social platforms should be included. Any business owner or director who holds at least a master’s in business administration has learned that there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. Traffic can be directed back and forth between the two to build brand, for starters.

Even 100% online MBA courses such as those at Aston University have units on how to coordinate business websites with social media platforms. But here is where some of that controversy arises. Social sites are meant to be social and unless a business is going to keep the conversation going, social media will unlikely bring anything to the table. At this point, perhaps it will take a better understanding of what each is meant to accomplish. Once this is fully understood, you’ll see why both are essential.

Why Websites Are Important

Let’s break this down a little further. Websites serve concrete purposes. By using SEO to increase rankings on the search engines, websites help people find you. You will get even greater results if you have a responsive site because most users now use mobile devices to search for businesses. Websites are there with the primary function of promoting products and services in the digital arena.

Even websites that are not built around an eCommerce platform can close a deal or two from links or contact information listed there. Websites lend credibility to businesses because seeing is believing. It’s like proof that your company exists. One other thing a website can accomplish is to provide information on who you are and what you do. This is especially important on several levels and why combining social media with websites for business work together quite well in today’s culture of taking social responsibility.

The Purpose of Social Media

Social media, on the other hand, gives you a chance to connect with your audience. Bear in mind that today’s consumer wants to build relationships with businesses and one of the main considerations is how they take social responsibility in a world that has lacked that mindset for altogether too long.

These factors help you build brand and establish a reputation. You can share your website content on your social sites, and you can further your reach beyond all expectations. It only takes a few brand ambassadors to embrace your company and products to generate a huge following on your social pages.

Finally, social media is the perfect way to build those relationships today’s consumers crave. However, that is only as effective as the amount of time and effort given to posting and replying to comments on your social pages. Conversations are never one-way streets. If you genuinely want to convince your audience that you are who you say you are and that you care about building that relationship, you will take the time to engage in conversations.

Why Business Administrators Need to Be Involved

Taking all the above into consideration, there is one person you can depend on to set the stage for establishing company culture. Those online MBA courses mentioned above will go into this in greater detail. Nonetheless, the business administrator will have the final say on hiring the social marketing pro to manage social accounts. If there are several, it might make better business sense to outsource those ongoing communications while bringing relevant content over from the website.

Even then, the business administrator is still ultimately going to be responsible for any omissions, oversights, or blatant errors. Outsourced social media teams should be well vetted prior to turning them loose on your audience to make sure they understand your industry, company culture and, of course, your target audience. As they say across the pond, “The buck stops here.”

A Few Final Thoughts

What this all boils down to is that each serves a different purpose and when put together, they form a well-rounded marketing strategy. A website gives you the option to build a blog to generate organic traffic through the strategic use of SEO. You can better target local audiences, especially when building a responsive website that can rank well on mobile searches.

Social media, on the other hand, makes it possible to target a national and even an international audience because of its global reach. You can also use social media to target local audiences and don’t forget to use competitive search phrases they will be most likely to search for. Also, don’t negate the benefits of social media marketing for a mobile audience because who doesn’t check Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at least a hundred times a day?

Finally, you might also want to offer something of value for first-time visitors. If they sign up for email on your website or become a new follower on social media, perhaps you could give them a coupon for a specific reduction in price or maybe BOGO promotions. If you coordinate your marketing efforts across both social media and your website, you will see just how effective the symbiotic relationship between business websites and business social pages can be.