“Why do I need a website?” That was the saying that got my attention. I was in a small, local store and overheard a conversation between the owner and an employee. Apparently the business only had a Facebook page and the employee was suggesting they get a business website.
There are two really good answers to the owner’s question and I wanted to share them here.
Social Sites Make the Rules
Social media sites are great for building brand awareness and reaching new customers. All of the major platforms have millions of users and in the case of Facebook, billions! All those users concentrated in one place makes social media attractive to businesses.
But to gain access to those users you have to play by that particular social platform’s rules. Initially, that doesn’t seem so bad. But what many businesses seem to forget is that each social platform has its own agenda, and reserves the right to make changes for the betterment of its users.
So what happens when a social media site changes the rules and you no longer have access to your followers? That is exactly what has been happening to business pages on Facebook. On January 11 of this year Facebook announced that, “We’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers and businesses.”
LinkedIn has also altered the way business posts are seen in their feed. The business site’s algorithm will no longer show posts,, called updates on that site, from business pages that have had no engagement on their updates in the past.
Here’s the bottom line. There are definite marketing advantages to being active on social media sites. But beware: They can change the rules at any time and those changes could negatively impact how you reach users.
Having your sole online presence be on a social media platform runs the risk of having the access to your fans be cut. It’s like living in an apartment. It is somebody else’s property and they get to make the rules.
Control is the Answer to, “Do I Need a Website?”
Your website, on the other hand, is property that you own. You can decide how it looks, how it reads, what functionality it has and what content is on it. You also control its ability to be found through online search. All of the control lies in your hands and can never be taken away.
That is a much different situation than relying on Facebook.
The potential audience size that your website can attract is much greater, as well. Consider this: If you only have a Facebook page, for instance, then you are only focusing on a portion of those users that fit your target market inside of Facebook.
But if your website is search optimized and you are creating content that resonates with your target market, your website has the potential of reaching members of that audience who are online across the internet! That is a much larger audience from which to draw.
Focusing on your website and developing it into a search engine magnet is the most efficient method for being found online. Social media sites are great for building brand awareness, but they can’t take the place of a search optimized, content rich website.
The best way to proceed is to focus on your website and then promote it on social media.
If you have questions about digital strategy or being found online, call me at 513-237-5530.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.