Why you need a website, not just Facebook.
Time and time again I come across websites that only have a Facebook site, or Instagram. When this happens, I’ll be honest here, I get a bit annoyed.
Plush Design Studio Coffs Harbour is not against Facebook, it can be really great for growing your business. It can be great for connecting people, sharing stories, socialising, networking and definitely getting your business out there. But is it enough to have Facebook only? No, and that is what I will explain here.
So I have put together 7 reasons why having a website is super important, even for your small business.
1. TIME IS IMPORTANT.
Time is an incredibly important commodity. To all of us. There are only so many hours in the day, and so we want to get things done quickly. This is even more true today then it has ever been, given that we can watch something now, we can send something to someone else now, we can buy now- we don’t need to wait like we used to. We want things quick, and when they aren’t we get annoyed.
When a consumer is looking up a business, especially for the first time, they want the essential information quickly. Information like:
What hours they are open
Where they are located
What do they have on their menu / or what products / services they provide
What they are about
What special products, services, or entertainment do they have on right now
How long does it take to find this on Facebook? If they have a menu at all on Facebook it is usually uploaded as a photo in one of their albums, but which one? How many photos are on their account? If this takes too long, people leave the site. New research suggests we have 3 seconds to help capture our audiences attention. Can they find that key information in that time? Not likely.
2. SELLING ONLINE
If you have a website you can have an easy to find button that points to your services, products or menu online. Easy. People can immediately find what you're selling. And then once they find it, they can buy immediately from your website.
While Facebook allows you to sell products directly from your business page, you have to manually manage all your orders one by one - which can be time consuming for your business. However on your own website you can sell as many items as you want, however you want. You can also still sell those same products through Facebook as well, so you are essentially doubling your sales chances.
On your own website you can also sell services, digital downloads, vouchers and even take donations. If you own a cafe or restaurant you can sell dinner vouchers right from your site. So after highlighting how amazing your food is and your dining experience is, someone can buy a lunch voucher right then and there, and give it as a gift or come in later. A sale straight away! You could also add online bookings or reservations - further reducing your time as you don’t have to take a call and manually enter the booking yourself. Or if you are in the beauty or health industry - someone could book and pay for their appointment, right from your website! Boom.
You could also sell services if you are a professional- like singing lessons, coaching or classes. Or provide digital downloads like planners, eBooks or workshops. All one on location, your website.
3. YOUR SITE IS YOUR AESTHETIC.
Your brand identity is what makes you known and ultimately what gets you sales. Your brand identity encompasses everything - your tone of voice (written or spoken), your images, your style. It is also your logo, your colours, your fonts. And with social media these choices are limited.
When you own your website you can completely control your aesthetic. Do you want your site to look busy or do you want more white space? Do you want monochrome or colours? Do you want fancy script fonts or bold chunky fonts? All of these things not only look cool, but they say a lot about your brand to the consumer. You probably know the saying - a picture is worth a thousand words. Images, colours and information we can see plays a huge part on our subconscious idea of a brand and what it stands for. However with social media only a small part of this can be modified or truly customised.
Facebook or Instagram are brands too - so it needs to provide a cohesive look in order to allow its consumers to identify that they are dealing with their brand. So when you have Facebook only you are adhering to their brand aestehcic, and not your own. While this is completely fine for socialising and connecting (what Facebook is best at) it doesn’t allow your brand to really speak on its own terms.
4. YOU CONTROL YOUR SITE.
Social media is always changing. They can change the algorithms, aesthetic and rules at any time and you don’t get a say. They can also be taken down or become unpopular at any time. Remember MySpace? It was HUGE! And now, well, is it even a thing? While this may never happen to Facebook, we never know what the future holds (and in fact trends show that young people are using Facebook less nowadays, and using Instagram much more).
Using social media as your main hub means that you are at the whim of change. What happens if a social media site crashed? Or something happened? Can people still find you? Can you still advertise your business and sell your products?
If you have your own website then you are in control. You choose when changes are made, and you can stay consistent to your customers regardless of external changes. This makes you a trustworthy and reliable brand, that your customers can turn to no matter what.
5. NOT EVERYONE ONLINE USES SOCIAL MEDIA.
At the moment (late 2018) there are over 2.27 billion users on Facebook. Definitely too big to ignore, and absolutely worth having your business on there. Plush Design Studio does not have Facebook, it just wasn’t for me or my business. I do have Instagram however.
Many people use social media, but many don’t. So not only do you put yourself at the mercy of the other 4 reasons listed above, it also means that customers may not be able to find you properly, or may not want to connect with you on those platforms.
6. YOUR WEBSITE IS LIKE QUIET OFFICE SPACE
I read a while ago that Facebook is like a pub - social and fun and noisy. It has a few columns as default and so it has lots of constant distractions, things that catch your eye, and pull you away from the brands message. When your customers are looking at a business page and logged in to Facebook they might see their friends come online, they might receive a message from them, or a customer might notice that someone they know has commented or liked something, which might pull them away from the business. The customer might also see "people also liked" in the right column, and click to a different business, away from your brand. There are constant distractions and so many easy ways to be pulled away from your business.
Your website, however, is like your office. A quiet space where customers can easily see and hear your business. Your message is easily conveyed and you don’t need to fight for attention. You completely control what people see and hear and so you can limit how many things might take them away from your business, or how much you hold their attention. Your website is a professional space for people to quietly take in what you have to say and can really connect to your business more completely.
7. HAVING A WEBSITE BUILDS TRUST.
A website helps consumers to build trust in your brand. It shows that you are genuine and that you take your business seriously. You are willing to spend time and money on your business, because you know your business is worth the investment. Your website is your quality product that you curate and construct. People know that Facebook and Instagram are free, and there is nothing wrong with that at all, but free products don’t denote the same level of quality as something that is paid for and something carefully crafted.
Having a quality, professional website builds customer trust, and trust builds sales.
I do like social media, and I find Instagram inspiring. But I encourage you to go further, and invest in your business, because it is worth it.