About a third of the world is on Facebook and more than 200 million are there on LinkedIn. Apart from being; ‘casually online’ on Facebook and ‘professionally online’ on LinkedIn, what else is the use of both social media sites? Like creating your personal profiles on both the social media platforms, you use Facebook and LinkedIn to create your online business pages too. Easy to use DIY formats as well as drag-and-drop website building features make business page creation on these platforms look like a cakewalk. Considering the fact that both Facebook and LinkedIn allow your business to have an online presence, what is the role of online website builders like Wix and Weebly?
What do website builders like Wix and Weebly do? Both give basic elements to help you create a website, obviously with a slight difference when it comes to customisation flexibility. Both have a huge base of subscribers, picturesque templates, drag and drop features, website builder tools and elements, support desk, enquiry forms, online lead generation attributes among others. All-in-all, Wix and Weebly are applications that enable you to profile your business online.
So we agree that Site Builders are SMART. While they offer you ‘so-called’ FREE versions to build your own website on their platform, they would bind you under their domain name (example: companyname.wix.com). But, who would want a Number-Plate with the Car Dealer’s branding or a Home Sign-Board with Real Estate Agent’s logo? As soon as you would ask them to remove their ‘names or logos’ from your website, you will be slapped with a ‘Premium Upgrade’ Invoice. That being said, once you become a ‘Premium’ member you do get your own website on your custom domain a.k.a. a white-label website.
Interestingly, Facebook and LinkedIn are no different. Though they don’t push a ‘Premium Upgrade’ invoice since they follow a ‘forever-free’ model, both social media platforms make sure that they are promoted in every marketing communication, as your online-address is bound to their own domain name. Also, unlike Website-Builders, social media profiles do not give you the option of ‘multiple-templates’ and make your visitors compulsorily sign-in to their social media accounts to access and engage with your content. So while Facebook and LinkedIn are ‘Forever-Free’ and have huge consumer communities, their threat to Wix and Weebly looks limited as ‘serious’ businesses would never want to compromise with their branding and/or their boiler-plates.
By using either of the two, social media pages or website makers, you do manage to get your business online. But after that, you need to reach out to your target audience. Having a great media plan and a poor creative or a great creative and a poor media plan leads to an unsuccessful campaign. Similarly a website or a social media page without traffic is useless and traffic is generated through engagement. Unlike print media or outdoor media advertising, the window of opportunity and engagement level in case of a website is as longs as that of television and radio. People tend to spend more time watching TV or listening to the radio because it is ultimately about engaging content, but sadly the communication on radio and TV is always one-way.
Though Wix and Weebly will get you a great website, they will never be able to match the engagement as well as user visits that Facebook and LinkedIn generate, all because of the sheer number of people on the social media platforms. Hence, the more the prospects, the better the ROI and possibly this looks like the reason why small businesses are happy with their Facebook pages and LinkedIn pages, rather than the idea of creating a business website.
Since the online platform gives the visitor a chance to ‘engage’, as compared to conventional media formats, digital engagement today is thwarting TRPs and GRPs. For a marketer the medium can be accounted, as Google analytics is more accurate than TAM, RAM, INS etc. Here too, Facebook and LinkedIn have an advantage over Wix and Weebly, as they don’t shy away from presenting analytics, which they can easily get because of a huge user base.
Balancing the thought, both Facebook and LinkedIn will be great to have an Online Business presence; Wix and Weebly might take it a notch higher by availing you the chance to create your own website and a Business Profile. However, both have their Pros and Cons; while Pros look in favour of LinkedIn and Facebook from a ‘marketing outreach’ perspective, the only Pros with Wix and Weebly is level of ‘layout customization’ a brand would achieve.
The sooner we look at this from a macro-perspective, we realise that the very ‘rationale’ of being online was to reach more people and create lasting ‘engagement’. Irrespective of mode, media or vehicle; what ultimately matters is business leads, which is directly proportional to numbers. Facebook and LinkedIn with their massive interest-specific communities and highest frequency of consumer engagement will always lead a business, beyond just a ‘Website’ or an Online Presence, and we feel that while Wix and Weebly will argue with all Pros, they still have a lot to catch up with.
World Wide Web has seen a paradigm shift in last decade with ‘#Social’ word of mouth marketing as the epicentre of being relevant and staying relevant. Facebook and LinkedIn have been the undoubted pioneers in this new era of consumer engagement. While Wix and Weebly were the pioneers of online website creation, with a two decade head-start, it’s sad to see they didn’t catch-up to upgrade themselves so that they could compete with Facebook and LinkedIn in today’s Social-before-Digital era. Looking at this transformation in the current digital environment, would it be too much to ask for a Social-Website-Builder platform that could challenge Facebook and LinkedIn?
Rumours say eventfulindia is doing something similar… to see if it can make a difference to this ever-evolving Social-Website-Builder marketplace. The idea looks fascinating, but can it match the Forever-Free model of Facebook and LinkedIn coupled with Customization benefits provided by Wix and Weebly? A new start will atleast fuel impetus in the positive direction… do subscribe to eventfulindia’s newsletter to be updated about anything new in the similar direction…