The title of this article isn’t a question about a comeback from the ’90s when consultants were really asking themselves this question about the nascent internet, it’s a serious question for this year.
Websites for financial planners have emerged in a big way over the past 30 years with their increasing complexity, sophistication, and aesthetics along with the jobs available.
Beautifully built, high-performance, optimized, mobile-responsive sites with multiple pages, links to customer portals, blogs and, for at least some, shared news, blogs, and even performance data.
Why the question?
Mubadala social media site
I recently showed up at a session I was doing with exercise counseling. The founders are keen to continue to stand out from the crowd, and to be seen as innovating in everything while improving operations and customer communications.
During the team session we were discussing the way they look online. We’ve been exploring how they set out to keep their digital communications constantly up-to-date and dynamically promoted and this practice has a particular fondness for using team images, their work, and their passion.
Striving to be very visible as they do, they have already become prolific on Instagram and we collectively ended up exploring whether Instagram and/or Facebook with ease of use, the ability to post longer form articles, online discussions, and possibly putting Company website replacement tag.
Since we are all familiar with websites and web hosting, and the associated and ongoing costs, pros and cons, since we all have one, let’s consider this question.
Setting up an Instagram page, or running an already created page, is free if not for the time. Maintenance and development is the responsibility of Instagram/Facebook/Meta (yes, Instagram is owned by the online monster that is Meta).
It’s very intuitive compared to Pronunciation, WordPress, or other CMS systems in use. It takes no time to get up and run at all.
They can perform many of the same functions as a website. Promotion, images, blog, links (using a system like Link tree or similar).
It may be easier to create easy and more emotional connections and build or benefit from online communities, many customers are already on social media and the pandemic has increased its use and usefulness.
Luxury brands are also making huge efforts with their Instagram and Facebook pages where they have found that while younger users have migrated, wealthy and baby boomers are very active on these platforms and are now using them to search, peer-reviewed products and services and browse much more on her.
Many practices already have an Instagram page or a Facebook page, they already make time for them, and they are simple and free to set up. Uploading and managing the content is also very easy, there is no huge learning curve or excuses from team members based on not understanding the software, because almost all of us have at least one social media account.
While there are plenty of examples now of both individuals and companies using social media well and even abandoning an official company website, there are some real drawbacks to consider along with ease of use, low cost, and social media options.
While this approach may reduce costs, the easy-to-use functionality provided by social media platforms may not be sufficient for the majority of small businesses, especially those that need to offer e-commerce, access to customer portals and websites can be very important to establish on Chain of responsibilities.
The well-designed and managed company website allows for a more customizable experience, and gives greater control over the look, feel and functionality.
Getting access to SEO and analytics with a deep dive is much easier to access websites and link to portals, other sites, and services like platforms more easily.
While it was great to explore the pros and cons, for me at least and while the company is still contemplating the issue awaiting a final decision, the risks of social media are pretty great.
The lack of data control, feedback oversight, direction, or functionality adds up to some results. Moreover, the risks of withdrawing services without warning, just look at the different accounts of users who have a “Meta” in their social interaction after the announcement from Facebook whose accounts are allegedly suspended for “pretending to be some other”. So, to me, it’s still not clear that the ease of use and low costs for most companies will outweigh a high-quality, well-designed, bespoke website.
However, as many services and platforms continue to overlap in functionality, and continue to introduce new innovations such as reels, discussion spaces, blogs and microblogging, and more real-time messaging, it is certainly a topic that should remain closely reviewed.
Lee Robertson is the CEO of Octo Members