Almost all small local businesses with any kind of marketing savvy now use social media to connect with customers.
But a growing number of very small stores or restaurants are bypassing a traditional website altogether in favor of just using Facebook or Instagram. And that’s a bad idea.
“There is usually an expectation by customers that social media profiles will actually direct back to a website,” Kelly McKeon, at D.C.-based B2B research firm Clutch, told WTOP.
“Websites are definitely part of that customer expectation, and they help establish legitimacy for businesses. But pretty much anybody can just make a social media profile,” she said.
A traditional website is where a restaurant or shop can park all sorts of information that can be awkward or not possible to do on social media. And unlike Facebook or Instagram, a website doesn’t need constant updating.
“A website is basic content, so things like an ‘About Us’ page, contact info, privacy policies — a lot of that can actually be evergreen,” McKeon said.
That also includes restaurant menus, customer reviews, online ordering, reservations portals — everything a customer actually wants to find online.
Social media accounts are free, but websites, even well-designed ones, don’t cost much these days either.
“It is definitely important to use company websites and social media in tandem,” McKeon said.
“That might seem daunting, especially for smaller teams. But you can definitely create a more holistic marketing strategy that makes sense for your potential customers, where you are introducing them to your brand on social media and then guiding them down a customer journey that will lead them back to your website.”