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#7 Websites and social profiles


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Attracting customers from search engines requires a web property that Google can rank. That property can be a website, social profile or directory listing. But how do you prioritize the setup of those properties to get customers from search engines faster?

In this article I’m going to answer just that and provide you with a real life case at the end.

A friend starting a business asked me if she needs to build a website or if she can use a social profile as her business’ web home base.

The advice depends on your individual business circumstances. Below, I’ll discuss some general considerations and provide my recommendations for my friend’s specific case.

Online visibility

Digital marketing is about increasing your business’ web visibility. The more properties (websites, micro-sites, and social profiles) you have, the higher your visibility (given that you maintain those properties).

In general, I lean toward having a website as a baseline. Then, create social profiles one by one only if your audience is there.

But let’s look at some considerations.

Website as a place you control

A Facebook page or Instagram profile doesn’t belong to you. It’s the property of Meta. You are renting Meta’s tools and paying for it with your content. Meta needs content and engagement to sell targeted ads.

Your account gets blocked if your content doesn’t follow one of their rules. There are a lot of stories of legitimate YouTube content being demonetized. Read my Substack story. And yes, they can do it, because they own the platform.

Website, on the other hand, is all you. Unless you promote illegal activities (in this case agencies approach your hosting company or domain registry to block your account), you have full control of your content.

Website (domain) as authority accumulator

Simplified, web authority is based on the age of your domain and external links pointing to your domain. Your Instagram account/handle doesn’t accumulate web authority for you. It does it for Instagram because it’s within the domain.

Over the years of creating great content, you will bring great value to platforms but little to your brand.

Website as source of truth

Having multiple social profiles requires time and organization. Sometimes, things slip through the cracks, and inconsistencies (between your profiles) happen. Inconsistencies confuse your audience and reduce trust.

A website, even a single-page website, can serve as a single source of truth for your company. It can and should contain your company Name, Address and Phone number. It should have your story (about us page) and the services you offer.

Having a website as a single source of truth ensures that any important changes need to be updated on your website and not on 10 social profiles.

Website as a conversion tool

The primary goal of a website is to convert. Social profiles are tools to inform and entertain your audience, building trust. If your customers need to book an appointment, it should be done on a website rather than a Facebook page, Instagram and so on. It’s better to centralize booking functionality to streamline your process as a business owner.

Social profiles to reach your audience

When social media started, businesses were obsessed with building communities. Then, they realized that users had already built most communities. So, businesses learned that they should join the conversation.

One of the benefits of creating a social profile is that you can join the conversation on existing platforms. This conversation will be on a customer’s turf in a familiar framework with familiar tools. Making it easy for your audience will help you win their trust.

Social profiles are convenient

You’ve been using Facebook and Instagram for some time, you become familiar with how it works. You already have friends and followers. It’s convenient to use your social profile as a web base of operations.

A specific business case

Irina is a certified Pilates coach. She offers Pilates for rehab and training to women at her location. She currently has a Facebook profile that she uses to promote services to her friends and followers on Facebook.

My recommendation was to build and promote Google Business Profile first. It’s free and relatively easy to setup.

Going with GBP for the first few months 1) keeps the budget low, 2) increases visibility, 3) teaches Irina to manage her Google visibility and 4) introduces her to Google eco-system (account, ads, analytics, etc.).

I suggested she builds her basic website in a few months. A website will allow her to centralize her communication and act as a tool for appointment booking.

With a website and a domain name, she 1) increases search visibility (in addition to GBP) and 2) builds her brand authority with search engines.

In conclusion

Instead of a website OR social profiles, I suggest you look at it as a website AND audience-appropriate social profiles argument.

Your business case might be different. You can start with a social profile, but as your business grows, having a website with a domain name will become much more beneficial.

What is your case? Let me know in the comments below or reply to this email if you’re reading it from your inbox.

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