May 23, 2022

Is social media an alternative to websites?

A picture of social media companies like Instagram and Facebook vs a website.
Comparing social media vs a website, what's better?.

Anyone can create a social media account. You can be in adolescence, a baby boomer or even a business. The fact is, if you have access to the internet then you can create an account. Applications such as Facebook and Instagram provide platforms at the initial cost of $0 and this is enticing from a business perspective.

As any business owner that is just starting, they quickly become aware that the bills can add up in multiple areas. Therefore, staying cost aware and spending money wisely becomes very important. Many businesses research different ways to market their business and an extremely common response is to get active on socials!

The image seen below shows the top result (minus ads) from searching “how to market my business” on Google. The top answers found by Google mention social media, you can try for yourself for sanities sake.

A screenshot of the search query ‘how to market my business’ in Google. A screenshot of the search query ‘how to market my business’ in Google.

I mean, why WOULDN’T YOU?! You get to expose yourself on platforms like Facebook with 2.91 billion monthly active users and Instagram with 2 billion speculated monthly active users. That is insane. I personally recommend it too, getting your business out there and creating unique content for your intended audiences is invaluable.

So what the hell am I talking about here? Well, I have had many new business owners question the point of a website when social media exists. Their main proposition is that social media is an alternative to having a website.

This is where I must disagree.

If you are running a business that leverages an online presence, the main goals are to communicate with your audience and boost your discoverability. You want to interact with your community and allow new potential customers to find YOU. This makes sense, therefore social media ticks the first box since it is a great way to communicate with followers. However, if you are hungry have you ever gone to Instagram or Facebook and typed in their search bar “Restaurants near me”? or if something breaks, have you searched “How to fix X” (where X is whatever is broken)? Possibly, but chances are you searched those questions on Google, which has billions of search and active sessions on its services per day.

In those examples I used, the restaurants and businesses offering their services become first in line if ranked the highest on Google. How do you rank higher on Google? Well, Google needs to know who you are through Google My Business and more importantly, having a website with great SEO.

However, these businesses have not guaranteed these prospective customers since most want to verify a business they find online. Most people after finding a business on Google look at their website and then their socials. The website demonstrates the businesses professionalism and provides important information needed immediately whilst the socials provide authenticity to show a business is real and active.

A business website and social media are compliments and not alternatives. You can use one without the other, but using both can put your business in the best position online.

Many businesses function solely on word of mouth and many businesses function solely online. It is up to each business owner on who their audience is and if it is worth building an online presence.

My final statement is that if you are establishing an online presence, Google is still the majority used search engine around the world and functions differently from social media. Therefore using a well designed website to rank high on Google together with an authentic social media presence is a perfect combination.