Why is this important?
It is a well-known fact that the world is becoming an increasingly electronic place. We turn to the internet to buy our clothes, to see where the nearest gas station is located, or to read reviews about a hair salon before booking an appointment. We use social media to connect with our peers and celebrities, stay updated about world events, and be notified of what’s coming next from our favorite companies.
With this rather recent shift in the way that we live our lives, it is important for companies to adapt to this shift as well. Those who do not stay ahead of the curve risk losing relevance in the modern world, hence placing their company in peril.
This is especially important for small businesses and startup companies. Small businesses typically rely on locals for their business, so it is important to have a strong presence in your community—especially when communities are becoming increasingly online. Additionally, the internet makes it possible to extend your small business outside of your local community if applicable, like buying anytime and anywhere from online retailers, for example. For startups, the internet and social media are the best and easiest ways to get your name out there to new customers. The internet can also be a fantastic sole medium to use for startups due to low overhead costs, the ease of connecting with customers, and essentially being “open” 24/7.
Aside from the benefits that websites and social media provide for businesses, there is also risk involved for ignoring this aspect of all of our lives. As a 20-something on the cusp of the Gen Z and Millennial generations, regardless of whether I am a customer online or in-person, I almost always cross-reference any business establishment online (whether that be a website or social media). Let’s take a restaurant for example. I rarely choose a new restaurant without doing research online before going out for dinner. With that said, if I cannot find a link to a website or at least a social media page that allows me to view the menu, I am unlikely to pick that restaurant.
Restaurants are only just an example, but the same rules apply to all kinds of businesses. In general, if I cannot find a website or social media presence to back up the company, the credibility of the establishment is severely diminished in my eyes. There is also a very slim chance that I will choose that company over one that I can do ample research on beforehand.
What information should I include on a website?
The most important element to include on a website is who your company is and what you company is trying to accomplish—include an about page for further details. List products and services offered, even if they are not available for purchase online. Most importantly, list ways to contact the company. This includes but is not limited to: address, phone number, email, and social media links. Other things to include that may not always be applicable are login portals, career pages, help pages, etc.
How do I create the website and maintain it?
There are many good options currently available for website creation. Creating a site from scratch is always an option, but there are also dozens of simple platforms available such as Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, etc. where you have the skeleton of a website already given to you to then fill with content. After purchasing a domain and filling the site with content, the website is ready to go live.
However, websites require maintenance and updating content, themes, and products/services. For further reference, check out the Web Content and Maintenance Service offered by Enterprise Iowa here: https://www.enterpriseiowa.com/services/
Which platform(s) should I choose?
There are dozens of social media platforms available, and it is best to hone in on just a few that will best help your company succeed. Here is a list of some popular social media platforms that business should consider using:
However, not all of these platforms are appropriate for every kind of business. For example, if you are a bank, photo sharing sites like Instagram may be difficult to regularly post content, and therefore while not completely useless, Instagram is likely not the best option. On the flipside, more creative firms would flourish with the Instagram platform. Knowing your company and where your customer’s eyes will be is key when considering which social media platforms to focus on.
How should I upkeep social media?
Social media does require a fair amount of upkeep to stay relevant. However, it is a much cheaper alternative to traditional marketing and a much easier way to connect with your current customers plus attract new ones. Using social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to plan out content in advance can be extremely helpful, but if you are unable or unwilling to take on that extra cost, live posting within the platform is always an option. All in all, the benefits of connecting with and attracting customers typically far outweighs the cost of neglecting social media all together this day in age. Enterprise Iowa also offers social media management services for your business to utilize.
All in all, the advantages of implementing a web and social media presence can only elevate your business. Especially for small businesses and startups, consider creating a website and utilizing social media profiles on some of the suggested platforms. All of the details involved with starting or owning a business are a large undertaking. To avoid some of the chaos, consider hiring an outside firm to assist with your web and social presence. Visit https://www.enterpriseiowa.com/services/ for more information.