One of the most frequently asked questions from my clients who are starting out is where to post content:

“Should I start using my Facebook or Google Plus page or set up a website or use all?”

Get it right and you will have a successful strategy, building your online brand and income.

Get it wrong and you may spend time and money but see no return on your investment.

Read on to find out why choosing to post content primarily on Social Pages could be bad for you business and how to get it right.

Facebook/Google+ page or Website Blog, which should I start with?

I am going to assume that you have already done your analysis and made the decision that you will benefit from Social Media Marketing.

If you haven’t, then that’s where you need to start before you consider the question of Facebook/Google+, just a Website or all.

So you’re all set to get going with your Social Media Marketing (SMM).

Now remember that at the heart of your SMM is quality content.

You can only really be successful at SMM if you have quality content to share with others.

Of course this can be many things:

  • Your own blogs or those of others that you recommend
  • Your own articles or those of others you recommend
  • Your own ‘Other writing’ ‘How To’, ‘Top Tips’, ‘Reviews’ etc or those of others you recommend
  • Your own Podcasts or those of others you recommend
  • Your own Videos or those of others you recommend
  • Your own Images or those of others you recommend

And of course a mixture of all of the above.

So you will have built your Content Creation Plan (CCP) and you are ready to start Liking, Plussing and Following and using your wonderful quality content, entice people to follow you and share with others.

But here comes the question

Where should I focus?

Should I build my Social Media Profiles on Facebook, Google+ etc post my great quality content on the business pages I created there and see how this goes and maybe build a website sometime in the future when I see how well I am doing?

After all I still have a ton of work to do to create all this content right.

Or

Do I need to build a website as well as do all the Social Media Profile stuff?

The benefits of Social Media sites to post your content

I’m keeping this really brief and I may miss some minor benefits but broadly:

  • They let you set up business pages that are designed to promote your company and brand
  • You can post almost any type of content you like – text, images, video, audio etc
  • They’re already built – you just have to customise them
  • The sites have wonderful structures that allow you to tap into all sorts of services and tools
  • They have great analytics that help you know how well you are doing
  • They have great tools to help you add adverts, images, files etc
  • There’s loads of great advice out there if you are just starting out
  • They are well tried and tested
  • They’re free – although there are costs as you grow and add on business services
  • They are quick to set up

On the face of it, it seems like a no brainer

“Set up Social pages and start posting your great content on these free and well designed sites that others seem to have great success with – right?”

The negatives of using Social Media sites to post your content

However here are a few very important counter arguments to going down the Social Sites Pages only route:

  • You’re renting space! You don’t own that page on Facebook, Google+ etc!
    Your business doesn’t really own its social page, it’s just rented space in a social media mall. These social sites could, and indeed have, changed their terms and conditions and they are not always in yours or your customers favour. Remember the recently ‘privacy’ issues with Facebook and Google altering who can see email addresses via Google accounts. OK it may be fine now but if your customers suddenly don’t like what they are forced to do they may walk away and you’ll be in an empty shopping mall of Social Site pages.
  • Who owns the data on any of the Social Sites
    Did you check the terms and conditions when you set up your account? What happens if the Site crashes and loses all the data or the site is hacked and data is corrupted? You may consider this a small risk however if all your eggs are in one social basket then you could suddenly see your income drop off a cliff … as many did when Google changed their algorithms in 2012.
  • Not everyone uses Facebook/Google+ etc and not everyone likes it
    Your life may revolve around checking your updates and comments and everyone you know may be on it but in reality there are many who either only occasionally use them or never do. You may be missing out on a significant portion of your potential prospects if you only focus your attention on marketing using these social sites.
  • How professional is your Social Media URL?
    It’s important to remember that many customers will make all sorts of, possibly wrong, judgments on the quality, professionalism or other value of your business based on the fact that you only seem to have one page on a social website. Although solo websites may not be as dynamic they do suggest a solid presence in cyberspace.
  • Who benefits when you have a successful piece of quality content?
    If you create great content that others want to share and link to where are they linking and who is really benefitting. If you own a website then those links point to your website. Visitors come to your website and browse around … and let’s hope, take action. If you only have your content on a social site … who is really benefitting? Are you missing out on a great opportunity to earn SEO points?
  •  A great website is far more powerful than a Great Social Page on its own
    Of course the potentially large audiences you hope for by being on Google+, Facebook etc  make it an attractive prospect to build your content and promote on, and so I can understand why new businesses might think that this is the way to go. But a great website that is focused on its business, its clients and all the other factors that help convert visitors to action takers will always win over having a social page alone. Remember that there is only so much you can do with the look and feel of the social sites … users will never forget that they are on Facebook, Google+ or where ever, however a stellar user experience on a well crafted business website that users remember and return to and discover more will always outclass a social page.

The advantages of using your own wesite to post your content

So … the advantages of focusing on your own website and supplementing your marketing with social pages:

  • You own it lock, stock and barrel
    No one is going to take your site away from you, no one can lay claim to your original content, no one is going to change your terms and conditions. You can back up data and you have control if things go wrong (well unless the world goes down in a cyber attack). No one is going to suddenly say you must start paying £X or $X per month.
  • The SEO benefits are enormous
    If you are successful at your SEO, Content Creation and Social Media Marketing then you will see huge improvements to your visiting numbers. If you couple that with a great user experience then you will build a profitable business.
  • You have complete control over it
    You own it all, images, videos, music, writing the style, the name the lot. And you can sell it too, which is worth remembering if you decide to sell your successful going concern.
  • Anyone with internet access can find you
    If you are well optimised you can appear high in the search engine … and that includes those run by Facebook, LinkedIn, Bing, Yahoo, etc  No one has to be signed into one of the Social Sites in order to read your content.
  • You aren’t affiliated with any Social Service – and that may be a good thing because your eggs don’t have to be all in one basket. Also If Social Sites get a bad name you won’t be tarnished by the same brush.
  • You will be seen as a professional business that takes itself seriously.
  • You will have the opportunity to run any sort of campaign, adverts, incentives or schemes without worrying about ‘terms and conditions’. You can use the site in any way you please (within the law of course).
  • You can make it look amazing.
  • You can appeal to your potential market and create many experiences hat you couldn’t on a Social site … your own members areas, forums, incredible interactivity etc

To finish

Yes there are some negatives to running your own website in tandem with Social pages. The extra time you will need to create the initial site. The money that you will spend in design, build and upkeep of the site. There will be a steep learning curve too.

However the benefits far outweigh the negatives .

Building your own website can keep the costs down and if you choose a platform like WordPress then you can be up and running in less time than you think.

So my answer is simple.

If you are serious about your business you need your own business website and use Social Media to build Brand awareness and inbound traffic.

The two go hand in hand.

Don’t forget that whenever you post great content on your website use social media to link to it. Write a brief, engaging ‘teaser’ or include a snippet of the main content that you are linking to.

If you need to talk more about your website or social strategy then get in touch via email, phone or use my contact form.