Making the leap – why you need social media AND a website

Social media offers many benefits, but it can’t provide everything a business needs. It needs to work together with your website to create a comprehensive digital marketing offering

This article is sponsored by Verisign

From watching the latest music videos on YouTube, to catching news updates on Twitter or reminiscing with old friends on Facebook, social media has become a fundamental part of many people’s lives. For example, in the UK alone we have 38 million social media users as of 2016, meaning that over half the population are engaging on social media sites every day.

It isn’t just consumers using social media either; there are many companies with profiles across multiple social media channels and, as of 2016, Facebook alone had over 60 million monthly active business pages worldwide. Most likely, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use social media because it is simple to set up, is low cost or even free in many cases and allows businesses to talk to a large audience while showcasing their products and services.

Social media is an informative tool, which allows businesses to interact directly with existing and potential customers, and talk about the work it does and the industry it’s in. It can also work well as an advertising tool. This doesn’t mean though that social media is comprehensive. Actually, in most cases it cannot offer a business everything it may need from being online.

One such example is that, generally, consumers are often not accustomed to making purchases through social media. In addition, since social media is a fast-paced environment, there is the possibility that a business’ content can have a short shelf life and not be seen by its intended audience. A website though, can solve some of these problems and actually strengthen the work you are doing on social media. And, much like social media, it is surprisingly easy to launch.

The set-up

A business website is actually straightforward to start and can give small and medium sized businesses a platform which can offer details on what the company does as well a place to showcase its products, and an opportunity for e-commerce to make sales from their website. The first step to getting a website is selecting and registering your domain name, also known as a web address.

Your domain name is how users will find, remember, share and identify your company online. The domain name will also help users locate your business when using search engines. Much like your home address is how your house is identified for postage, your domain name is how users will find you on the internet.

Even if you’re not quite ready to build your website, it’s still worth registering a domain name. This means that while you may not yet have a fully-fledged website, if any potential customers look for your business using a search engine then they’ll find your web address and might see that the business exists and is active. You can actually just have a home page which includes links to your social media profiles, which is low maintenance but can keep the user engaged.

If you are able to launch your website though, even better. There are many website building tools which can offer the right templates to get your site off the ground. Most building tools also have ‘wizards’ that can walk businesses through the whole process, advising on what content works well and making the process much simpler.

The advantages

Think of any big business – they don’t just have a website, or just have social media –  they have both. It’s not about picking and choosing, it’s about making all the elements of your digital marketing activities work together. Social media platforms already have large audiences and can act as great tools for advertising, whether it’s through regular organic posting, or paid advertising in which the business pays for the advertising tools that social media sites offer.

This combination of websites and social media offers mutual benefits, and indeed the content that a business is creating for its social presence can also be an advantage to your website. Websites have the capability to actually aggregate all of your social content, giving an additional home to your content and potentially increasing its effectiveness. This in-turn can help establish your website as the bedrock of your digital marketing, but with all elements of your marketing efforts working together.

Being consumers themselves, the owners of small businesses or people who wish to start a small business might be likely to gravitate to social media when trying to amplify the company. However, by taking a leap, or maybe we’ll just call it a small hop, businesses can launch an effective and engaging website which can bring the opportunity for more and varying benefits to the company.

Here’s how you can create a website for your business