Will Social Media Replace Websites?

Rachel Strella  -  Jan 19, 2014  -  , , , , , ,  -  6 Comments

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Will Social Media Replace Websites

One of our clients recently inquired about the relevance of her website.  She said that someone informed her that websites don’t serve the same major purpose they did even a couple of years ago and that social media is replacing websites.

This feedback is nothing new.  As social media continues to evolve, there’s been speculation that it will replace websites, email and even the phone as a customer service outlet.

My simple response is one that I’ve reiterated countless times – social media is a relationship building tool that works best when it’s integrated with other marketing outlets. And websites are no exception. Social media is not nor should it be a replacement for other communication vehicles, especially your website.

I firmly believe that a website is the heart of a solid marketing presence. There are some folks who want to take a short-cut and bypass a website. I also see a few – very few – cases in which a website is not always necessary. Overall, though, it’s fundamental. In fact, it’s the first thing we evaluate when meeting with prospects for the first time. When used most effectively, a website works in conjunction with all of your other marketing – including social media.

I could list a number of arguments about why a website is critical, but my overarching reason is this: You own the content and the web space. Sites like Facebook or Twitter can disappear at any time – and take your following with them. As we’ve seen over the years, these sites change a lot. And there is very little we can do about it. I would never advise someone to put all of their eggs in one basket, especially one that can disappear without a trace.

I’ve found that websites don’t ‘work’ for some people for one of two reasons: either they do not know what exactly they want their website to do or they have not built the site in a way that does what the business wants it to do. While that’s an oversimplified version, it’s one I stand by because I think people get “starry-eyed.” They want their website to be the holy grail of leads, when again, it’s one piece of the puzzle.

Each quarter, we evaluate and develop marketing goals for our clients and we develop a plan to integrate all of their communications outlets to meet these goals. While we don’t specialize in website development, e-mail marketing or graphic design, we understand that these pieces are critical to the success of a social media plan. We would be doing a disservice if we did not evaluate them – and refer our business partners who can help effectively execute these pieces.

In fact, one of my website partners, Eric Karkovac of Karks.com sums it up well, stating, “Your website should be a place where visitors can get more information about your brand.  Customers won’t necessarily want to scroll through social media archives for that information.”

Have you ever considered ditching your website in favor of social media? Why?

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6 Comments to Will Social Media Replace Websites?

  1. Gerald vinci
    January 21, 2014 7:55 am

    Thanks for writing this. A friend of mine reposted this content and I whole heartedly agree with your position. I wrote an article about two years ago talking about how vital a website or some kind of marketing “hub” can be to your overall marketing efforts, building a brand, etc. With all the changes on social media lately, further restricting some features and functionality for business owners, that makes the article even more prevalent now than it was two years ago when I wrote it. There’s lots to be said about owning your own marketing space, even if social media makes it easy, there’s too much to risk by not having your own central marketing hub. I think my article complements yours nicely. http://www.vinci-designs.com/online-marketing/social-media-cannot-replace-a-website

    • Rachel Strella
      January 21, 2014 8:46 am

      You’re very correct in the restrictions and changes to social media. Facebook is a prime example. Why risk it?

  2. Laura E. Kelly
    February 4, 2014 7:55 am

    I recently had someone contact me saying “I use Facebook so I only want a web landing page” (for people to sign up for her yoga courses). She then sent me rambling copy for an “About” page, a “Contact” page, “My Services,” and more. I explained to her that what she needs is a website that works for her 24/7–a landing page could be part of that larger site. It seems obvious to me, but she’s hesitating. I’ve realized that when people hesitate over setting up a hub website, they are usually ambivalent about their business and goals in a much larger way. And that’s a whole different discussion.

    Love your explanatory line from Eric Karkovac: “Your website should be a place where visitors can get more information about your brand. Customers won’t necessarily want to scroll through social media archives for that information.” Am stealing it.

    • Rachel Strella
      February 4, 2014 8:26 am

      Laura,

      I think you’re probably right about the reluctance to embrace a website due to uncertainty about business goals. Social media and websites are an investment, not an expense. I find when they start to shake their head about it, they aren’t meant to work with me.

      Thanks for reading and responding.
      Rachel

  3. Lynn Ruby
    February 4, 2014 11:00 am

    As usual you are SPOT ON Rachel! I too recently had this discussion with a client. “Why do we really need a website? Can’t we just do everything on Facebook?”

    My response “No no no! Why in the world would you want to leave all your valuable content, you contacts, your relationships in the hands of a third party who can do anything they want with it? Keep it under YOUR control.”

    Thanks again Rachel for a very insightful article.

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