The debate on whether to invest in a website or social media pages is an unending one. While some businesses maintain that websites are more effective, some believe social media is the way to go. Even though having both is the ideal situation for every company or business, there are situations that may force a business to choose either. In this article, we are going to analyze how a website and social media pages face-off in several aspects, and ultimately, see the winner for each case.
(i) Initial investment costs
When it comes to investment, getting a website is more expensive compared to getting social media pages. Not only do you need a professionally designed website, but you also need your website developed with your business’ future in mind and hosted by a reliable company. On the bright side however, once you make the investment, you will experience year-over-year returns for at least two years. If your digital marketing strategy is consistent and optimized, chances are you will get your returns and more before the two years are over.
When it comes to social media pages, all these infrastructure has already been put in place, you only need a social media manager. The catch however is that you do not have full control of these platforms and therefore cannot make any long-term digital marketing strategies. For example, the recent changes made by Facebook has affected business that operate solely on Facebook. Not only have they experienced a decline on their reach but they will have to pay more to reach and engage with their audience.
(ii) Marketing cost
Websites are capital intensive and usually require a higher marketing budget. However, it is important to note that the ROI after investment is usually higher as discussed above. What’s more, having your own website means that you own all the data that is generated whenever visitors interact with your website. This data can be used in future marketing campaigns to reduce cost and improve efficiency.
Social media marketing budget is lower and only requires a budget to boost posts to reach a wider audience. Managing social media pages is also easy and requires less expertise. The only catch is that the cost for marketing has a lower return. For example, if you put out a campaign on social media, you need a dedicated landing page (preferably your website) where interested leads can get more information about the offer and show their interest by filling a form. Without this landing page, chances of your leads converting is quite low, hence the equally low returns.
(iii) Brand reputation
Websites are generally better platforms to build your brand. Businesses with websites are greatly considered as established as opposed to those that don’t have websites. On a business website, you have total control of your brand. You can decide on anything, from content to the colors.
On social media, this is not the case.
One of the major risks with brand reputation on social media is you have no control over reviews. Reviews are very important in businesses. Statistics indicate that 61% of customers read reviews before buying any product or service. Secondly, on social media, a brand is powerless when it comes what people say, having a website acts as a point of reference whenever a lead is confused.
(iv) Social engagement
Although most people tend to assume that websites provide limited channels for social engagement, this could not be further from the truth. Websites have evolved from being online brochures that solely broadcast information. Instead, they have become interactive tools that engage with visitors and help them through the buyer journey. Long gone are the days website visitors could only reach out to businesses via hectic and cumbersome inquiry panels and contact forms. Today, you can have a live chat box on your website to prompt engagement and interaction with the site. Plus, with the advent of Machine Learning, these chat boxes can actually be taught everything about your brand such that they can answer questions on your behalf and help convert visitors. Think of it like having an extra sales person, only that they are always at work 24/7 answering your leads’ questions.
Social media on the other hand is undeniably efficient, reliable and effective in terms of social engagement. You can interact with your clients on through social media posts, comments and also via direct message. The engagement is also in real-time and is measurable. The only caveat is is that the engagements seldom leads to conversion.
(v) Customization & Versatility
Customization and versatility is very possible with websites. You can fully customize your website to be fully compatible with your kind of business. For example, if you are in the retail business, you will have your website designed and customized to suit e-commerce. It will have a homepage, banners, product page, check-out process and other features that make shopping possible.
However, with social media, the layout is static. You have to forego a lot in order to fit in the system. For example, when selling on Facebook, you have limited visibility of your product categories, there is no elaborate shopping procedure and management is really hectic. To top it all off, you can only differentiate yourself from competitors using content, the rest is fixed.
From this debate we can deduce that;
- Websites have a higher ROI but of course with higher marketing costs.
- Websites are especially important for SMEs who want to compete with the big boys without spending huge amounts on branding.
- Although social media pages are of great benefit to small businesses, it is important to consider the risks involved. After all, the digital landscape is always changing, you need as much control as possible.
Websites vs. social media? We recommend having both in this competitive market. Why? Because your website is the hub of your presence online whereas social media is just a marketing channels that promotes your message. Combine the two and you get to enjoy immense benefits.
Would you like to discuss with an expert how best to boost your social media marketing campaigns using a websites? Drop us an email or call us, we are always happy to hear from you 🙂