We are asked this question regularly, mostly from potential clients. A website is the showcase and supporting structure for your entire online presence, and all your social media should drive traffic to that central point of contact. Here’s why…
Comparatively, social media business pages on Facebook or LinkedIn have much in common with websites. Both have a landing page of sorts, an “About” section, image galleries, contact information and details of products and services (albeit limited on social media). A website is a radial layout with pages emanating from a central Home Page. Social media pages are more linear with a continuous chronological list of posts and comments.
Let’s first look at websites. A website serves as the hub for all your online and offline marketing. It is the place that pulls in new customers that have either searched for you online, or have received your marketing messages (often via social or other digital or offline media). Your website is your forward-facing showcase to the global public. It is the only place where you can introduce and describe your products and services in detail. You get to introduce your team and provide contact details, often with a single click. A website is designed to get potential customers to contact you. The rest is up to you.
Conversely, an unattended, outdated website implies that the business either a) couldn’t be bothered, or b) can’t afford it. Neither of those auger well for future dealings with that business.
Let’s look at Facebook (and LinkedIn). A Facebook business page has a very specific purpose – to create a forum of 2-way communication between the business and the customer. It’s an open line of communication which allows a business to communicate and promote special offers, events, notifications and ideas. It’s push-communication that allows for an immediate response. This immediacy is Facebook’s strength and by harnessing these features, businesses can direct their communications to those that request it.
Even though some businesses may benefit from the immediacy and direct marketing of a Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn page, that immediacy can be limiting. Let’s look at an artist, for example. A social media post shows the artist’s recent work. However, if the potential buyer wants to see previous work, they have to scroll down the page for a very long time to get to anything that was posted more than 3 months before (depending on the frequency of posts). A website can have categorised pages where different collections can be showcased, with the opportunity to buy the works online with a single click.
The sweet spot between marketing and sales is to use social media to generate interest, and then create a clickable link from each post to the website, where a call-to-action can generate a potential sale. The website is the showcase, the shop and the contact portal, and all your social media should drive traffic to that central point of contact. Remember also that website pages are tracked and monitored via Google Analytics, so any traffic generated via social media can be measured, even in real time, for efficacy. The ability to track conversions is a cornerstone of successful marketing campaigns and ultimately to increase sales and satisfy your customers and clients.