In my previous posts I touched on why a business needs a website as well as how a website adds value and they are important topics but so is social media. Perhaps you are like me and have a love hate relationship with social media, I love it and I hate it both as a business owner and on a personal level. On a personal level I do have some fun with it and find good ideas of things to do or learn a bit about a business, but then I also think it is kind of over the top and leads to information overload. From a business owner’s perspective it can be overwhelming and seem like just another thing that needs to be done but it isn’t at the core of what my business is, so do I need social media if I have a web site?
This question has been asked many times over the years, I found an article from December 2014 that has been updated in February 2019, so if you have been asking yourself that question you are not alone.
It all starts with understanding that social media is the new "Word Of Mouth"
I am asking myself as I develop my business, do I need social media and if I do what platform or platforms should I use? For the moment the only social media I am on at this point is Facebook, I am sure I will revisit the question periodically to determine if I keep the status quo or if I need to make a change.
Blue Corona (Blue Corona is a media marketing company) has a post that broke down which platforms are best for businesses and they recommend you go with a solid two to three platforms unless you have a marketing team. They break down the following platforms and what they are best for.
- Facebook - BEST FOR: B2C, in some cases B2B
- Twitter- BEST FOR: B2C, some B2B
- Instagram- BEST FOR: B2C
- Pinterest -BEST FOR: B2C
- LinkedIn - BEST FOR: B2B, B2C employment
There are not many businesses that have customers utilize their services every day so one of the challenges would be to keep your business name in the minds of your past customers to help engage them for future work, but also keep your business name in the minds of your prospective customers. Web SEO Houston encourages the use of visual social media for service providers (examples such as contractors, landscapers, painters, and many more).
Plumbers, electricians, HVAC and in fact almost all field service providers should take note and follow the lead of the retail industry and embrace some form of visual social media. If you are in an industry like Tile and Flooring, Kitchen and Bath Remodel, Home Deco or Landscaping you need a visual social media channel in the mix.
Another way to use social media can be used is to show your work, this will not replace references but it is an excellent way to enhance references. Your potential clients will be able to see your work.
Welcome the digital portfolio era which enlightens consumers with insights, your taste, and style, and checks the community’s response
All of the above are great things about social media but we cannot discount the things that are not so great. Both the pros and cons should be considered when making your decision regarding which platform(s) if any to use for your business.
One thing to keep in mind as you move forward
With social media, there's the perpetual question of ownership. Though Facebook, Twitter and the like say that your content belongs to you today, there's no guarantee that they'll still be saying that in a month or a year. They can update their Terms of Service to something different whenever they want, without warning
Let me quote another site to illustrate how the quote above could affect you.
As a business owner, would you rather:
A) Set up shop in someone else’s store (without a lease) OR
B) Own or lease a dedicated space for your business?
With the first option, you’re at the mercy of the store owner. If they don’t want your business in their store anymore, then you’re now out of business until you find a new location. If they decide not to open up one morning, your business can’t reach it’s customers and your revenue will be affected.
However, if you own or lease then you have much more control over your situation. The changes in someone else’s business won’t affect whether you stay in business or how much it will cost to stay in business. The same is true for having a website that you control, rather than building your online presence solely on a social media platform.
In the illustration above option A) is social media and option B) is a website. Having a website means you have something you control, and using social media allows you to set up in another space for free. Ultimately social media is a tool for your business and a website is another tool for your business, they do not have to be mutually exclusive but can exist together to complement each other.
As with any business decision it comes down to what you feel is the best decision for your business, and remember just because something is right for now doesn’t mean that you cannot make a change later on. Focus on what you can do and as you master things add something else into the mix.
If you have any comments please share them on my Facebook page.
DISCLAIMER: This advice is general in nature and not to be taken as personal professional advice. This blog does not provide legal advice if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.