Over the past few years, social media has become more than just a place for individuals to spend their time but also an important business tool. Social media gives small businesses a chance to interact with their target market without spending a large amount of money. Building a website seems like a basic first step for most businesses but many small businesses are now choosing to forgo a website altogether in favor of relying solely on social media.

Building a website can become a large overhead expense for small businesses. Since many small business owners don’t know anything about website development, it is necessary to either invest large amounts of time into teaching themselves or hire someone to develop the website for them. On the other hand, establishing a Facebook or Twitter presence for a small business is completely free.

Another advantage for small businesses relying on social networking is the built in audience. Even with a fully functional, well designed website, businesses will have to find a way to drive traffic to their site. Like web design, it can cost upwards of $1,000 just to drive a substantial amount of traffic to a new website. The cost of flyers, handouts, postcards, online advertising, and Google AdWords can really add up. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks already have thousands (if not millions) of people already using them on a daily basis. There is no need to spend money driving traffic to the sites, only to attract attention to your own page.

While some companies hire one or two employees specifically to run their social media pages, this is unnecessary for small startup businesses. Owners and employees at small businesses can easily post great content on their pages whether it be about their services or daily life at the office. Fresh, original content is the best way to attract people to your page.

With all these advantages, it is generally not necessary for small businesses to have their own websites unless they have functions they need to perform that won’t work on social media. However, once a business starts to grow and their customer base is large enough, developing a website becomes important for the legitimacy of the company. It’s worth it for businesses to spend the money on a functional website once they have the income to support it.

When the time comes for a business to develop their own site, they can use their existing social media presence to support their new website. The business can post links to their new site and drive their customer base to the new site.

Social media makes a great tool for small businesses and a fantastic way for them to communicate with their customers until the time comes for them to create their own website.