Do I need a website AND social media?
This is an easy one folks; my answer is an absolute, 100% yes! In this modern age of social media potential clients want to see your website as well as tapping into what your business is up to on a regular basis.
In my experience your website is your showpiece – it is the essential information that your customers need to know about your business. For example, in the case of a café your customers will be wanting to know what your opening hours are, what’s on your menu and how to find you. You will also want to show your business at its finest. Remember that images are just as powerful if not more so than your written content. The old saying ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ is more relevant than ever in the online world.
So why bother with Facebook or Instagram? In two words – personality and accessibility. As I mentioned above, your social media presence is about your day-to-day happenings; think of it as the personality of your business. Returning to the café example, if the staff are having a particularly happy and fun day – post it on your Facebook page with a little explanation of what they are up to. If a dish is looking scrumptious share the image on Instagram and watch to see if more customers start ordering the dish. Social media provides you with the flexibility and simplicity to communicate with your customers. It can take minutes to share experiences on social media while it may take a day or two to do the same thing on your website.
There is also the potential for a dialogue with your customers that a website doesn’t allow for in the same way. As an example, there is a Melbourne-based jewelry business that I am a huge fan of. I have never met the designer and she doesn’t have a retail store. A shop around the corner from me sells her stock and that is how I discovered her. She has a website which I have looked at a couple of times. I have never contacted her through her website, although I could. However, she has an Instagram account and I follow her. I ‘heart’ the majority of her images and when a particularly gorgeous pair of ear-rings appeared on her feed I commented and asked whether my local shop would be selling them. The power of social media and Instagram is that she replied to me. This has made me feel even more connected to her brand and products. I am also keeping an eye on the Instagram account from the shop around the corner to see when the new stock arrives.
I am not saying that once your website is launched it becomes a dinosaur and is never touched again. One of my favourite tasks is updating sites that have been launched. I love knowing that when the website is viewed it is accurate, up-to-date information that the public is finding. There is nothing more frustrating for your customers than old, irrelevant information or even worse, broken links. Have a think about how frequently you should update the content on your website. If your customers know that your website is updated regularly they are more likely to be return visitors.
As part of your promotions and communication strategy the combination of a website and social media is a powerful mix. The more effort you put in and the more you engage with your current and potential customers the bigger chance you are giving your business to strive.