Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, we have seen loads of new businesses popping up on social media. I have lost count of the number of cake baking Instagram pages which I have scrolled past longingly. It is great to see these plucky entrepreneurs finding new ways to make money, but no good for helping shed those lockdown pounds.
The explosion of social businesses may have led people to believe that business websites are becoming a thing of the past, but what is the difference between a website and social media? Are websites still important in 2020?
If you want the short answer then no, websites remain crucial to having a strong online presence in 2020. If you are interested in the long answer and the benefits you are missing out on by not having one, read on!
The number of social-only businesses has been rising for a while now, with many entrepreneurs taking online courses and creating a social media profile to sell their beauty, garden maintenance or custom jewellery services.
It is not hard to see the benefits of operating in this way. Social media accounts are free to make and give you access to an estimated 3.8 billion people worldwide! They make it easy to share content for promotion and do not need any specialist knowledge.
Social media giants are aware of this and have created tools to accommodate businesses selling wares on their platforms. Facebook and Instagram allow product tagging in content, making it simple for people to get info on products without leaving the app. Facebook have also created a built-in calendar app, so people can book appointments directly.
After reading the previous paragraph, it might seem like the popularity of social media and the new tools they have introduced have made websites redundant. This is not the case. Social networks play an important role in promoting your business, but cannot be relied on completely, here’s why:
Social media profiles are free and anyone can set them up. This makes it easy to get your small business out there, but also makes people sceptical of accounts they come across. Social media is a minefield of scams and shady companies that disappear with your money. A professional looking website reassures visitors and gives businesses a chance to show their history, expertise, credentials and ultimately trustworthiness.
Search for a local service that your small business provides, chances are the first page will be filled with websites rather than social media profiles. It is easy to find these profiles when searching on the social media platform, but they do not lend themselves to being discovered by search engines. This means social-only businesses are missing out on around 40,000 searches every second (and that is just from Google).
Although Facebook and Instagram have introduced social shopping features, they lack the control and flexibility that is offered by ecommerce sites. Tools such as Shopify, WooCommerce (WordPress ecommerce solution) and Squarespace are packed with useful features that let you customise the shopping experience. They can be integrated with order fulfilment and stock management systems that make selling your products or services a breeze.
Social-only enterprises are a great way for you to test the water with your next big idea. Nevertheless, if you are looking to develop a sustainable business, a website will be crucial to getting found, building trust and running effectively.
If you want to take your business to the next level, we have experience in creating professional websites for startups and small businesses to help them grow. This includes eye-catching one-pagers such as Macpot and full ecommerce sites for Pippins Denim.