Following is a guest post by Jessica Lehmann, owner of Propel Business Consulting. Greater Harrison Chamber members are invited to share their expertise. Contact the Chamber to learn more.

One of the top questions I receive from clients is if their company needs a website in 2023 or if they can get away with only using social media. In this article, I’ll review the pros and cons of social media and websites to help you decide what option is best for your business. First, we will start with the obvious: social media. It’s FREE, so take advantage!

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Social Media Do Have Advantages for Small Business Owners

The PROs to using social media are that you have 

  • A specific target audience: friends, family, and loyal customers
  • It is easy to post updates about the company (unexpected store closures, spontaneous sales/giveaways), events, etc
  • It’s great for showcasing consumer reviews
  • It’s a great way to feature images of products and video tutorials. 

Social Media Lack What Small Business Owners May Need

Social media is a wonderful resource for companies to build awareness, but it still lacks consumer trust and credibility. Why?

  • A large amount of spam and hobby accounts exist with little to no regulation
  • Potential customers will be suspicious about your company’s integrity and longevity 
  • Lack of credibility and trust: consumers will question whether you are serious about your business or if you are just “testing the waters”
  • Posting algorithm. There are so many FB pages and groups even the people that follow your page are unlikely to see your posts. 
  • Daily drop in productivity: all the ads, posts, and interactions that can deter you from, well, actually building your business. 

If you are a business that sells to consumers (B2C), then Meta, Tiktok, and Pinterest are the best social media options. LinkedIn is the most helpful option for businesses selling to other businesses (B2B). 

In summary, social media is a great tool. However, it still lacks the credibility and professionalism consumers get from a website–plus, it does not take advantage of the 8.5 billion Google searches per day logged by Live Internet Stats 2022.

According to Safari Digital, 97% of consumers research a company online before making a purchase. Also, 46% of those consumers are searching for a local company. Think about that: 46% of 8.5 billion DAILY searches want to purchase from a local company, but if you do not have a website, you are missing all those opportunities!

How to Determine if Your Small Business Needs a Website

So, does your company need a website in 2023? Imagine this: you plan to purchase a service/product over $100. Your research narrows it down to two companies offering what you want to buy. One company has a website, one only has social media. Which company do you feel most comfortable purchasing from? …there is your answer.

When a company invests in a website, it 

  • Creates more trust in consumers/clients
  • Provides a clear “Call To Action” to drive customer behavior (Order Now, Click Here, Sign up, etc)
  • Portrays the owner is vested in making this company succeed
  • Shows up in local search results from the 8.5 billion global internet searches a day

If you do not have a website, your company can appear less stable and reliable–making it seem like shortcuts are being taken. Consumers question if a company cuts corners by not investing in a website, where else are they cutting corners

When you invest in a website, and it’s done correctly (using SEO techniques), appearing in search engine results is FREE and will help build brand awareness and recommendations to people you’ve never met. Based on Safari Digital’s research, 28% of local searches result in a purchase. If you do not have a website, think of all the potential local purchases you are missing out on.

The only con to having a website is the initial investment of a few thousand dollars. But when you look at the numbers, your return on that investment will happen sooner than you think. 

When done correctly, a website can not only provide

  • Free advertising
  • Builds trust and brand awareness
  • Acts like a personal assistant – allowing clients to schedule online, providing FAQs, and several other repetitive tasks that a small business owner faces (and wastes time on) daily

In summary, if you are selling a hobby or side hustle, then no, you do not need a website. Keep peddling on social media & kudos to your success. However, if you want your business to become a main source of income, then you need to invest in a professional website.

About Propel Business Consulting

Post Author Jessica Lehmann worked in supply chain operations at a Fortune 50 company, sold industrial paint for a global corporation, and was a lighting sales consultant for a small family-owned firm. Today she is the owner of Propel Business Consulting in Harrison, Ohio. Learn more