The Los Angeles Times reports on a new survey from Manta, an online forum for small business, which found that, of the 600 small businesses surveyed, 78% use social media in one form or another. The survey also found 58% say they “struggle to find value in using Facebook to promote their businesses or don’t have a page at all” and that “25% of those surveyed said their company website drives the most business for them.”
Which brings me to this article at MarketingProfs – Four Reasons to Jettison the Traditional Website and Go Social – that says small businesses are “dispensing with the traditional website in favor of integrating the most popular social networks right into the website.” While the article doesn’t advocate complete abandonment of traditional websites, it does recommend that companies opt for the use of social sites.
Which brings me to the question – traditional websites: to be or not to be? Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of having a traditional website or to take arms against a sea of troubles by opposing them? (with apologies to Shakespeare) Perhaps THAT is the question.
My belief: It’s not either/or, but both/and.
There are some very good reasons to have a more traditional company website supplemented by a presence in social media as a secondary layer. And, if you can integrate the two, mores the better.
All in favor of websites, say “aye.”
As the scale above indicates, there are four good reasons to have a website.
- You control the design, so that it matches your company branding.
- You own the data. Guess who owns the data on Facebook? (Hint: It’s not you.)
- You can do a better job of targeting and personalization.
- You can reach the entirety of your audience.
All in favor of social sites, say “nay.”
There are an equal number of good reasons to have a presence within social media.
- Social sites are inherently interactive. Most small business websites aren’t.
- Social sites are where people spend time.
- Social sites are easy to acquire. It costs nothing to use them and it’s relatively easy to set up an account.
- Social sites facilitate viral sharing.
Like I said, not either/or but both/and.
Now that we have that question resolved (and, of course, I am always right about these things), it’s time to move on to the question of why small businesses aren’t experiencing a lot of success.
Easy answer – they lack the know-how, which is the #1 reason why guys like me exist.
More expanded version of that answer – not only do they lack the know-how, they also lack the time and budget to maximize the value social media has to offer, which is the #2 reason guys like me exist.
My advice to small business owners is simple and succinct:
- It’s worth having a presence within social media for all the reasons mentioned above.
- Take some time to get trained on how to leverage social media to your advantage. There are plenty of resources available to help you, both online and in your local area.
Of course, if you find your back up against a wall, I’m always ready to help. Give me a call.