As bloggers or small business owners, we’d love to do everything we can to generate traffic and sales, from our website to social media, and more.
The reality is, and especially for those who are doing freelance or side gig work, we might only have an hour a day, if that, to dedicate to our marketing efforts.
So, doing both might seem like too much, and we find ourselves constantly going back and forth between should I write a blog post or should I spend time on social.
Honestly, while balance is best, and one thing can amplify the other, deciding to spend more time on your website or social media is going to depend on your unique situation.
Questions to Ask First
You should already know these things about yourself and your business, but here are a few questions and points that will impact whether or not you need a website or social media presence, or both.
- How do you plan on generating revenue?
- Are you selling a physical product?
- Are you selling a service?
- Are you only selling to local customers?
Keeping the above in mind, I’ll go through each option, and also provide examples from my personal approach.
When & Why to Use a Website
I’ll just say this—frankly, I feel every business needs a website; small businesses need websites; unpublished authors need websites. It’s your home base, your starting point, and the foundation on which you can build and build and build, and one that will always be there for you no matter what.
There will be a few instances where a business is born on social media either through the community it cultivates, or the beginning of selling a hand-made product, etc. And that’s fine.
But for the most part, the process will generally go from idea to the website to sell that idea in the form of a product or service, and then social media to help support it all, and fuel further growth.
Have you ever seen something mentioned online or heard a friend talk about a particular product or service, and then go try and find that thing online…only to find that there isn’t a website for it?
It’s an odd feeling, right?
To that end, a website establishes credibility. Even if you’re not planning using the website as a marketing tool, it still serves a purpose in credibility.
That doesn’t mean build a website and abandon it, so if you don’t plan on using it daily, at least build it and maintain it to the point to where you’re visible when people are looking for you, and with something you’re proud of in terms of representing the business.
As mentioned above, you definitely want those who are searching for you by name or by brand to be able to find you, as those will be some of the most qualified potential customers you’ll ever come across. A website makes you findable in this regard.
But beyond that, what about being findable to those who don’t even know you exist?
Meaning, think about all of the things you Google on a daily basis. Some of those searches might be for research and information gathering, others might be to make a purchase, and others might be to make something you already purchased better, and then some
In any case, your potential customers are looking for a number of things related to your business before they make a purchase, when they make a purchase, and after. Thus, these are all opportunities for you to get your brand in front of these searchers…but you can’t do it without a website.
Then, once you appear credible to those looking for you by name, and you are findable to those who are looking for those things related to your products or services, you’re in prime position to get those website visitors to take action, either as a lead or a paying customer.
And one of the best ways to do so? Through your website, where you can do things like trigger popups, and more. Yes, that also means you need to spend a little to get things going, and as owner, you are responsible for building the site, making it look nice, and maintaining it, but all of that is in your control.
When to Use Social Media
Yes! credibility is something you can prove out through your website and social media, just in different ways. While a site is there to make you look credible as a business, social media can help show you’re offering credible product and services; and that people are getting value from what you’re offering.
From comments to reviews, social media allows buyers to express their gratitude for your offerings.
And lets be honest, even the most perfect of offerings is going to have an unhappy customer or two. So, while social media opens the door for customers to publicly vent, if their comments are misplaced or not the norm, having your happy customers combat with their own positive comments could do wonders.
Per the above, how are you making yourself available to your customers and prospects? Yes, there are things you can do on your website—the contact page, chat bot, mailing list, etc. And while all are great tools to implement on your website, they can only go so far when it comes to truly connecting with your audience.
So, an active social media presence bolsters that ability, giving customers a new way to ask questions and make comments, and giving you a new way to move them along from potential purchaser to one-time purchaser, to lifelong fan.
What is social media known for? Easy sharing. You see something you like, you tag a friend, and on and on that page goes for thousands of others to see. That’s the hope, at least.
Point is, social media is, well, social, which means if someone sees something they like of yours, they can easily promote you to their network.
Beyond that, some brands rely on social media advertising as a main source of sales. Platforms like Facebook have robust ad setups that allow you to easily and precisely advertise to specific markets and users.
When to Use Both
Well, always—and that’s the goal…to maximize your website for everything it’s good for and then supplement with social media and everything that it’s good for.
Beyond that, there are number of ways a website and social media can take the efforts of both to new levels.
Blog on your website, share on social
With blogging, you have two camps—one side says it’s a huge waste of time and they never seen any returns, and then the other side says their business wouldn’t be as successful without it.
Frankly, blogging works, and if it’s not working for you or you believe it can’t work for you, I suggest giving it another shot.
I won’t get into the details here (not enough room!) but success with your blog has a lot to do with what you write, of course, but it has just as much to do with your plan of attack in promoting the writing.
For some, that promotion might mean relying on SEO and the search audience, and for others, it means putting it out to their audiences on social media.
Either way, and no matter your goal with your content, putting it out on social media is going to help. As mentioned above, the most obvious reason is you’re putting it front of a percentage of your followers. Sure, it’s a small percentage, but it’s free, so why wouldn’t you?
Beyond that, tough, putting content on social media aides in the crawling of that content, and, the more people that see your content, the better chance you have of someone linking to that content.
Listen on social, write on your blog
Again, a key benefit of social media is having one-on-one conversations with your customers and potential customers. It’s here where you’ll hear questions and pain points, and begin to see trends emerge among them.
Thus, if the same question is asked over and over again, perhaps you’re not doing a good enough job on your website in answering those questions, which means you now have opportunity to create the content and get in front of those actively asking the question, and the many others who are probably wondering, but just not asking.
Connect on social, convert on your website
And then last, lets not forget that social media is full of people who are scrolling, scanning, reading, and basically doing something to keep busy. They aren’t a captive audience, and there is a lot of noise, but they are there, eyeballs on screen just waiting for something to grab them.
So, if you can captivate them and make a good impression, perhaps you can get them to click through to your site, and if you do a good job there, get them to join your mailing list or even make a purchase.
Start with Website, Amplify with Social
Again, I’m a big believer in the power of the website, and the blog in particular. I’ve seen it work a thousand times, and when I’ve seen it not working, I’ve seen it get into working order and then some.
Really, if you can harness your content, the opportunities are endless. From there, social media is available to help amplify, either through the three main actions mentioned above, or the secondary actions when working in conjunction with your website for more visits, leads, and purchases.