In the last month or so, I have come across quite a large number of people who rely solely on social media for their business. They don’t have a website and most of their customer sales take place via a social chat system like Facebook Messenger.
My neighbour recently asked if I could make a website for a charity he helps with. He is elderly, blind, disabled, and struggles with technology. A website would be extremely difficult for him to manage. The charity itself just wanted a small corner of the internet for people to find out about their events, and only because one person recently asked if they had a website.
It didn’t make sense for my neighbour to fork out a large some of money for my time and talent. Using Facebook in this instance is perfect as it’s free and easy to manage (plus his Granddaughter now runs the FB page)!
But if you’re a business looking to make leads and sales then read on because here’s why relying on social media alone is a really bad idea:
You have to play by their rules
Your social page doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the social platform and they can do whatever they want at any time. This is incredibly risky as they could delete any business page or account overnight and all your connections are gone in a poof!
I’ve listened to horror stories from friends who woke up one morning to find their Facebook business page removed because they’d posted something that Facebook found to be a breach of terms. It took ages for their appeal to go through and without any digital presence to connect with customers, no online sales were made in that time.
Over the last few months in particular, Facebook and Instagram suffered with spells of downtime so I’ve seen countless ranting posts of people struggling to access their business pages and losing out on sales.
It can be time consuming
A recent client of mine Anna Londei came to me because she spent so much time talking to customers and taking orders via messenger on Facebook.
Now with a website, people can instantly see what she has in stock and just buy in a click so she doesn’t have to spend all her time on messenger sorting out sizes and colours for each order. If it’s easier for the customer to buy something online, they’re also more likely to buy it.
You’re missing out on traffic and trust
More than 90% of people start a buying journey with an online search and because there’s more SEO opportunities with a website, you are likely to appear higher in the search pages and scoop up all that digital footfall.
Buyers are also doing more online research before committing to purchase and 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business without a website! Having your own professional website will boost your credibility and help potential customers trust (therefore buy) from you.
Reach is limited
Fed up of playing the algorithm game? You’ve probably seen by now that cosmetics retailer Lush certainly have as they plan to ditch their UK social media pages.
Reach can be really difficult to achieve as social media feeds are always adding new content. The life span of a Facebook post lasts 5 hours whilst Twitter posts last 18 minutes!
You can utilise social media advertising but the more people you want to reach, the more money you have to spend! Which is bad news for small businesses with smaller budgets.
I’ve seen businesses put a lot of effort into advertising their social pages with diminishing results when instead, they could be bringing back existing customers with blogging or encouraging website sign ups which has shown to be more effective (newsletters have a 70-80% reach!).
It’s a Distraction machine
How many times have you gone onto Facebook to check something, but get caught up commenting, linking and scrolling the news feed, only to stop and wonder what brought you to Facebook in the first place? #we’veallbeenthere #speakingfromexperience
Picture this: a customer lands on your social page, a notification pops up, they click it, get taken away from your page and forget your business even existed after 5 minutes. Not ideal!
You’re also surrounded by competitors. Adverts on social media are based on your interests and they judge this by what you look at and what you click on. If someone clicks on your social page, you can bet posts and ads from competitors will start following them around the web!
Your brand gets watered down
From the moment a person lands on your website, the digital space you’ve created paints a vivid picture about what your business is, who it helps and what it values. This creates an instant impression of your biz and within 3 seconds the customer has already made their mind up about whether they want to buy from you or not.
On social media, the space you create is more limited. It’s almost a diluted version of your brand. With social profile layouts all the same, it takes longer for people to make an informed buying decision.
Buyers are doing more online research these days. If they like what they see from your social pages, clicking on your website link to find out more is the next logical step for them. When they have to hunt around for it and realise you don’t have one, it’ll give them the heebie jeebies!
I’m convinced, now what?
If this article resonated with you and you don’t have a professional website, then that’s gotta change asap!
If you’re just starting out, still getting to grips with your business and your budget is non-existent then I recommend setting up a quick, cheap website from Squarespace.
But if you’ve been running your brand for a while, have a chat with a professional web designer (like me ;)). Because when you have a defined target audience with a growing following and clear business goals, a quick, cheap website will only take you so far.
Do you want more leads and sales? Request a quote and let’s turn your website into a dream client magnet.