Social media marketing has exploded as a practice and has brought with it a wealth of articles discussing the diminishing effect it is having on the importance of a brand’s own website. Some have gone as far as to say that there is now an opportunity to completely remove your company’s website and replace it with a well maintained and strategic social media presence. Whereas this might appear a “cutting edge” strategic move, there are several reasons that a website remains your most important marketing tool:
1. Unrestricted creativity
Every social media platform will restrict in some way how you display your brand and the type of content you share. Examples of frustrations that exist are limits on the size of files that can be uploaded, the character length of a post, the layout of your profile or the dimensions of your artwork.
Such formulaic formatting can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd, particularly for creative brands who need to promote innovation and differentiation as characteristics at the heart of their company.
A good developer will help bring out the non-conformist in you, helping you believe “anything is possible” in website design and development. Building a “bespoke” website is the fast lane to bypass the congestion of the more static brands on social media.
2. Websites are the “Gathering Point” for your Social Media work
A great website will integrate your social media strategy acting as the focal point for all of the good content that you have shared on a variety of platforms to promote your products and build your brand.
Any social media strategist will tell you that certain social media platforms are better suited to certain strategic goals. This comes back to each platform having strengths in displaying certain forms of content, be it photographic, video, text, paid advertisements or music.
Your website can be programmed to function as the gathering place for the vast array of content that you have put out there, an exhibition space where your work, brand or product list can be viewed in its entirety.
3. Websites increase your credibility (and value)
The incredible user friendliness of social media means that the barrier to entry is virtually non-existent and anybody can join. Website creation has also become infinitely more accessible over the years however there is still no replacement for a qualified developer to take you over and beyond the boring free templates offered by website providers. As mentioned in point 1, a good developer will push the boundaries of your imagination to create a bespoke website that makes you stand out from the crowd as a professional, creative business (even if you are not!).
In turn, a slick, creative and functional website becomes an asset to your company to which a financial value can even be attached.
4. Measuring the Return On Investment
Most Social Media platforms will offer you extensive metrics on the performance of your page. Very little is revealed around the collection of this data and therefore little is known of its validity. Regardless, the insights that can be gained from social media metrics are extremely useful but are no replacement for those which can be gained from a well monitored website.
It is virtually impossible to know how many people visited your restaurant because of a photo they saw on Instagram, for example, or how many people bought your product because of a review they read on Facebook. With a good website however it is possible to know exactly how many sales were made, who made them, how the customer arrived at your site, what they searched for, what else they looked at and where best you can
contact them directly again. You are the owner of this data, not the social media platform. In short, getting an exact ROI from social media is tough. Getting one from your website is a lot less difficult.
5. Making sales (and repeat sales)
Perhaps the most important point has been reserved for last. Sales will make or break your company and for the most part, they can’t be made on social media. Most social media platforms do not as of yet have a capacity to make a sale on your behalf. They make their money through advertising revenues and can only refer potential customers on to your website to complete a sale. For this reason a social media strategy cannot be ignored however not having a “transactional” area on your website is likely to sink your company.
If a customer buys something at the point of sale on your website or chooses to be added to your mailing list, you own the data. Such valuable information can be a most valuable asset in formulating a marketing and sales strategy allowing you to hone in on your target audience, offer high levels of customer care and even target customers for repeat sales.