I don’t know John Burke, and he’s probably a kind and smart guy, but I don’t think his article does business owners any favors:
It’s actually the headline I disagree with most, because the rest of the article primarily makes the point that websites alone aren’t enough — a point I can support.
Still, the headline just begs for debate, so I’ll take the bait and argue the opposite viewpoint…
Why Websites Are More Important Than Social Media
1.) You Own Your Website. You Don’t Own Facebook.
Facebook has more than a billion users. Everybody’s using it. It’s more important than a website. Facebook is going to last forever!
That’s what everyone thought about AOL in the 1990s. And about MySpace in the 2000s. And what happened to them?
What happens if a business owner invests all her time and energy in Facebook, or some other social network, and then it crashes? That’s why a website is more important. No one can take it away. You own it. It will always be there, growing in value like a great real estate investment. If anyone says some social network should be your primary business asset, ignore that advice.
2.) Finding Your Audience Can Be Difficult.
For social media to work, you have to find your customers and be where they are. That’s easier said than done.
Many small businesses assume that their customers are on Facebook and they setup a Facebook presence because it’s “the thing to do.” But Facebook isn’t the right fit for every business; for some, it might be LinkedIn or Pinterest or maybe even old-school social sites like forums.
With a great website that’s marketed well, your audience can find you and find the information/products they want to learn about or buy.
3.) A Great Website Works Around The Clock.
There’s this thing in social media about trying to find the best time to post/share and interact with fans and followers. I tend to think it’s a bunch of hogwash, but it speaks to one of the big challenges of social business: getting heard through the noise.
But if you have a great website, it’s working for you around the clock. Someone looking for your products/services at 2:00 AM? Yep, there’s your website.
4.) Social Media Isn’t Always Good For Selling.
Many business owners don’t realize that social media requires a different mindset. Sales pitches don’t often work. Consider that link I mentioned above about a “boring B2B” company that failed with Facebook ads primarily because people on Facebook aren’t there to buy moving/packing products.
Social media is great for listening and providing customer service. Sometimes it can be great for selling and lead gen, too, but that’s an approach that some businesses have struggled to adopt. That might include the 30 percent in a recent survey that said Facebook isn’t valuable to them.
Let me make this clear:
I believe a social media presence is a must. It’s important and can be an effective channel for businesses of any size.
I’m not saying social media is useless; the many social media articles I’ve already written should make that obvious.
What I’m saying is that social media is not more important than a website. I think a website is more important for all the reasons above — primarily because it’s your real estate that you own forever and no one can take away.
Ultimately, they’re both important. It’s not an “or” question … it’s an “and” answer. You need a great website and and an intelligent social media presence for long-lasting online success.
(Stock images via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)