With so many apps and different devices to use them on it is becoming less clear where a business or brand should build first, a website or a profile page on social media?
The obvious solution is to be on every social media platform that is relevant to your audience, as well as build an amazing website that gets huge volumes of traffic. For those of us who don’t have deep pockets and resources at our disposal (i.e. most startups and small businesses), we have to pick one to start with.
Deciding whether a website, app or social media page is the best starting option for your business should depend on the following factors/considerations:
Where your audience hangs out (online).
You will need to research your target audience (also known as your avatar or customer profile). These are the core people who are the MOST likely to be interested in your products or services. Do they spend a lot of time on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp? Or are they more likely to Google your type or business when they realise they need you? This is only one factor to consider, and should be assessed in conjunction with the rest of my points below.
Your time best spent.
Starting a business can be a tough gig mainly due to the limited resources available to you at the beginning. Your time is split literally wearing all the hats, including sales, product design, accounts, banking and customer service. Add to these roles — website or social media content strategist, and now any little sleep you were getting has just evaporated.
Simply having a social media page will not bring you new business, especially if nobody follows you because you give them no reason to follow you. Social media is a content monster which requires you to consistently feed it content that attracts your target audience. You then have to engage with your audience if they comment or ask questions about your products and services. This is a must, and if you aren’t willing to do it then it isn’t the time to create your social media page.
A website on the other hand requires effort upfront to get your site created and live. Once it is live it may only require tweaking a couple of times per year (depending on your specific business of course). Once it is live you can then direct people to it, have your website URL on your business card, shop front, or anywhere else your audience might see it. The point I am making here is that your time will be allocated differently depending on which path you take as your first step online (website or social media).
Social media is generally free to join or create a page, but may require you to pay for your content to actually reach your followers. Facebook is a business, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Yesterday Facebook announced that they are finally monetising WhatsApp. It can be true that you could create content that goes viral, but this isn’t a strategy to bank on. If it happens, great, but you will need to be ready to invest in ads at some point to grow your business.
A website can vary in upfront and ongoing costs, but there are is an option for every budget. Sites like WIX offer the ability to create your website without code by using designer templates that allow you to simply edit the content. WIX offer free and subscription options. Other options like WordPress involve a designer/developer, which can range in cost from a $1k to 10’s of thousands of dollars. Start simple, get your site live and then worry about upgrading later.
Whether you start with a website or a social media page, the key is to start where you will get the most return for your efforts/resources. You can’t escape doing the research, putting in the resources to grow your business, and measuring your progress. It will pay off sooner if you put that effort into the optimal social platform or website for your business at the early stages.
Hopefully these tips were helpful.