Just a decade ago, having a website was the most important thing you could do for your business. But with the rise in social media sites, even the Wall Street Journal is saying that you don’t need to have your own corporate website anymore. Are they right?
If you’re like many businesses out there, your Facebook and Twitter accounts may be flooded with activity from clients and prospects while you website feels like a 2-ton dead brick. Nowadays, this is actually a common occurrence that even mega-corporations are experiencing. The Wall Street Journal reported Starbucks receives over ten times as much traffic to its Facebook page (19.4 million unique visitors each month) than to its corporate website (1.8 million). For Coca-Cola, the divergence is even starker: 22.5 million visitors on Facebook vs. just 270,000 to its website—over 80 times as much traffic.
Social Media High Points
The numbers certainly make social media appealing. There is no start up cost, and since most things have an easy interface there is are no ongoing maintenance fees or hosting fees, and no domain fees. These sites all have mobile-friendly applications, so you’re pretty much covered on every device, pad and monitor that is out or will come out. Social media is prolific (to say the least). Facebook is boasting more than 500 million users and it as 1/3 of the advertising revenue. That’s right… according to comScore one out of every three online display ads appears on Facebook. So not only can your company have a presence on Facebook, but you can create ads to find your next client without ever leaving the interface. Twitter is also working on a advertising platform so they can cash in on their traffic.
I have to admit, this is sounding pretty awesome.
Until you realize a few of the major drawbacks.
Social Media Low Points
It’s Not Your Data
Ultimately, the corporations behind those amazing social media apps still own those apps, and all the data on them. To keep user information private, corporate Pages are allowed very little access to the users themselves. This means you are extremely limited in your ability to market to these users!
Battling Against Attention Deficit
Unless your Facebook page is very interactive, you’re in an uphill battle against the other important things the user is doing – like updating their status, reading up on other people’s status’, and writing and sending messages. Even a really likeable brand will never win over the user’s friends and family.
Easier Said Than Done
Recently Facebook did away with it’s FMBL plugin that allowed customizing pages with a markup language similar to HTML. So while operating the basic Page is easy, the reality is that if you want your Facebook Pages to be customized to suit your goals, you’re still going to need to pay to have the custom page created, hosted, and maintained.
You’re Out of Control
Removing key features is something that these social sites do frequently, and seemingly at their whim. If your business has come to rely on a feature to get business done, you could be left in the lurch if it gets removed or changes significantly. The worst part about being out of control of the website is that you’re at the mercy of the social media company’s policies. This means you could be banned or blocked by performing certain activities, and maybe even worse they could go out of business. Facebook seems bullet proof right now, but there’s always someone with a better way vying for their position (read:Google). With either of these scenarios, your hard work could disappear overnight.
Better Than Social Media Alone
There’s no doubt that social media websites have features and benefits that are hard, if not impossible, to replicate on a standard business website. However, if your website really is the 2-ton brick that isn’t doing anything for you, consider breathing new life into it with social media plugins and features that will tie your social efforts closely with your website.
When you can move your fans from an online application to your website, you’ll open new doors to creating stronger relationships with those people. You’ll have an opportunity to collect and own the data you gather. You’ll have complete control over the look, features, and functionality of the site. And you’ll never be at the mercy of a third-party who is only concerned with how they can accomplish their online goals—not yours.
In the end, while social media has a lot of great things going for it, it is strongest when combined with a website designed to help support existing customers and sell to prospective ones. If your website is falling short contact us today to find out how we can help your website do more for your company.