There’s no question about it – maintaining presence on social media has long been part of the professional online marketing strategy. One US study reports that around 90 percent of medium-sized and large US companies were using social media for marketing purposes in 2019. There are many reasons for active social media marketing: simple interaction, potential reach, ease of use and so on have made social media platforms an indispensable instrument in the communication mix for companies.
The arguments against corporate websites have become louder, reasoning that they have become unnecessary in light of the advantages of social media. Maintaining a company website is often connected with more effort and higher costs than looking after social media profiles. Of course, this is true to some extent, but we still hold the opinion that social media should only be used in addition to your own company website.
Can social media replace corporate websites?
Not everything that glitters is gold – also not in the social media arena. We’ve put together a few reasons why corporate websites remain relevant despite social media:
Owned media? Not in every respect
Owned media refers to all communication channels over which a company has full control. Apart from corporate websites, this also applies to the company’s social media profiles. However, outside of managing your own profiles, some loss of control is unavoidable, whereas 100 percent power of control is a given on your website.
More borders than freedom
Every platform is built differently. If you compare Twitter to Instagram or Facebook to YouTube, you quickly realize that you are forced to adapt your content to the channel-specific factors to position your business. When it comes to design, you have much more freedom with your corporate website and therefore also more options.
Not everyone is active on the social web
Yes, it’s true – even today there are still people and specific target groups that either completely refrain from using the social media phenomenon or are not registered on all platforms. Social media allows companies to reach many customers, but certainly not all of them. Why reduce your reach by doing away with the company website? A corporate website allows for a different approach: every online user can access it without restrictions as long as the internet address is known and the content has been well-prepared for search engines.
Social networks: top today, flop tomorrow
Do you remember MySpace? In 2006, the social network counted as the most popular social network with 100 million users. Today, hardly anyone remembers MySpace. Who knows where Instagram or Facebook, for example, will be in a few years? The competition notoriously never sleeps. While your Instagram profile may slowly but surely become obsolete if user numbers start falling, your corporate website will largely remain unaffected by the problems of other websites.
One change follows the next – but not on your corporate website
For a long time, users complained that commercial content was increasingly showing up in their Facebook news feed. At the beginning of 2018, the social network took this feedback to heart and changed its algorithm. The result was that companies had to invest large sums to just be seen. These kinds of algorithm changes are nothing new in the social media arena anymore. For commercial users, such changes can result in their existing social media strategy becoming useless. This is a problem that does not arise with your own corporate website.
New, newer, social media
Social media lives off of delivering the very latest information. Even if your content actually does reach users, it does not mean that they will actually notice it amongst the mass of content they face. And, the rule also unfortunately applies that content published today will probably be forgotten by tomorrow. By contrast, information can be positioned permanently and prominently on the corporate website.
Sometimes, a little more is what it takes
Those looking for specific information about a theme usually want to get in-depth details. Social media allows companies to give users bite-sized portions of information, but the corporate website is still the go-to for (potential) customers to find detailed information. Take Twitter, for example, which doesn’t allow tweets to exceed 280 characters in length. It’s simply impossible to include all the relevant information in a single tweet.
A serious company without a corporate website?
Imagine browsing through the social web and finding an interesting company that you would like to get more information on. Your enthusiasm will take a big hit if you find that the company doesn’t have an official online presence apart from its social media channels. Amongst users, this could lead to doubts about the trustworthiness and professionalism of the company.
Despite these limitations, social media is and remains an integral part of the marketing mix for companies – but only in addition to the corporate website, which should remain the key component of your online communication.