The Digital Dilemma - Social Media vs. Websites

Eddie Mutema
Inside Infobwana
14 March 2024
Meta, for about two hours, users worldwide encountered error messages instead of content, leaving businesses temporarily disconnected from their audience...

The recent outage experienced by Meta's platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, serves as a strong reminder of the digital vulnerabilities businesses face. For about two hours, users worldwide encountered error messages instead of content, leaving businesses temporarily disconnected from their audience.

Meta, the parent company of these platforms, hosts a staggering number of users. Facebook alone boasts about three billion active monthly users, and Instagram is not far behind, expected to reach 1.4 billion users very soon. The outage, though brief, highlighted the seriousness of over-reliance on social media for business operations.

The Pros and Cons of Being on Social Media

1. Extensive Reach - Social media platforms offer unparalleled access to a vast audience, facilitating brand exposure.
2. Engagement - They enable direct communication with customers, fostering relationships and loyalty.
3. Market Insights - Businesses can gain valuable data on customer preferences and behaviour through social analytics.

1. Vulnerability to Outages - As seen in the recent Meta platforms' disruption, businesses can temporarily lose their primary communication channel.
2. Algorithm Changes - Frequent updates can reduce visibility, affecting traffic and engagement.
3. Reputation Risk - Negative feedback or reviews can spread quickly, potentially harming the brand image.

The Safety Net of Having a Website
While social media presents an incredible opportunity for growth, relying solely on these platforms can be risky. Here are some important advantages of businesses having their own websites:

The Pros of Having a Website

1. Full Control - Unlike social media, where policies and algorithms dictate visibility, a website is entirely under your control.
2. Customisation - Websites can be tailored to fit the brand image and customer journey, offering unique experiences.
3. Stability - In the event of social media outages, a website remains a stable, accessible platform for customers.
4. SEO Opportunities - A well-optimized website can attract organic traffic through search engines, diversifying the sources of customer acquisition.

The most effective digital presence incorporates both social media and a website. Social media can drive engagement and brand awareness, while a website serves as a stable, customisable hub for your business (which also provides additional links to its social media platforms). In light of the vulnerabilities exposed by the recent Meta outage, businesses are reminded of the importance of not putting all their digital eggs in one basket! A website acts not just as a safety net but as a cornerstone of a strong online presence, ensuring that businesses remain connected with their customers, come what may.