The simple answer to the above question is that you should use both. So, now you can stop reading. Just kidding, please continue reading. A lot of people tend to think that once they have a social media page they don't need a website and then there are others who don't see the need for a social media presence. I suppose if they uneducated about the subject then to each their own. However, the main issue I have found is people who think that their social media page(s) is doing the work of a website. In most cases the people involved don't know any better. So, here's what you need to know about the subject.
The most important thing to take away is that social media (which is a type of website) and your traditional website were designed for different purposes. Although, it's fair to say the similarity they both share is to engage people. So, when it comes down to the everyday use they serve different purposes. However, as a business or organization, you should use both to maximize your reach.
I like to think of social media as a spokesperson for your organization at a conference or your organization's booth at a trade show or exhibition. They can engage people and show off certain aspects of your business. However, you are using them to draw people into further engaging with your organization at a later time or have a live conversation. As the name implies it is for a social interaction and depending on the nature of your entity, you might not even need a social media page.
Pros of Social Media
Harnessing a network of people in your social circle: Since a lot of people are connected on a social media page like Facebook they help spread your valuable content to their connections.
Summary of your services: social media pages lets you create a summary of your business offering, your website, location, reviews etc.
Advertising: Social media allows you to run ads to a targeted audience of your choosing. This can also include sending out invitations to people in your network for upcoming events or running contests.
More Live interaction: It allows you to post pictures and start up conversations and also lets your public interact with each other in a timelier manner.
Cons of Social Media
Limitation on customization: one of the drawbacks of social media is its rigid template design that everyone has to adhere to. In a branding and practical dissemination of information, this might make it hard for an organization to express themselves uniquely and strategically. Right now, the only customization Facebook offers is with their banner. Some of the limitations you will experience has to do with certain features you can't implement (see website below for more on that).
Time Consuming: In order for your social media to work for you, you have to spend the time to constantly update it, respond to your audience and then possibly get distracted by all the fun stuff being shared.
Challenges with information retrieval: If the information you're sharing isn't one that is meant for the present it makes it hard for people to access. For example, if three months ago you shared that your company was now offering a form of specialized service. Someone visiting your social media page would literally have to scroll through your time line to find such information. When information is hard to access people get discouraged and try to find it elsewhere or may not even know that such information is there in the first place to begin with.
Damage control issues: If you accidentally put the wrong information out there, lots of people will see it quickly and share it. Even if you try to delete it the harm might be done already.
Not everyone is on social media: If you are relying solely on your social media to reach people you should consider that not everyone uses social media or might be using your type of social media. This means that sometimes only people who use Facebook might have access to you if that's what you have. Due to Social media having a bad reputation (not because of the service itself) because of its users' actions some people don't even to use it.
A website is like your home or your organization. You can customize it how you want, grant people to access to certain areas or all of it. It often gives a richer representation of your business and what it stands, for especially from a visual standpoint and if you have a good understanding of user experience (UX) you can direct how people interact with it, unlike social media.
Pros of owning a Website
Incorporation of social media: If you have social media accounts, most websites allows you to link them to your site. This makes it people for people who have any of your listed social media to further engage you.
Better information access: Websites allow you to create menus that link to different pages. This makes it easier to store information and for your audience to have better access to it as well. Instead of someone trying to scroll through an entire page of posts to view the information you have they can simply go to the right menu, such as services to view an extended list of what you are offering. Depending on what you're offering your site can allow you to restrict certain users to certain contents. Also, information can be shown on a short term or long term basis depending on your need.
More options for feature integration: There are certain features that can't be applied to your social media page and to certain pages. For example, may have a blog on your website and you may want to have a pop-up that asks people to subscribe; can you imagine doing that on Facebook. Other features that you can implement on your website include, rsvp, chat, commenting, blog, forum, contact form, scheduling for services, scheduling social media post, login, multi-language translation etc.
Analysis: Having a website offers you a back end means to analyze data through analytics. This allows you to study the behavior of your audience in order to understand how to interact better with them to increase sales or have a better engagement.
Better Customer Service: If you already have existing clients, your website provides them with access to resources that they can access anywhere and anytime. It also allows new clients of all backgrounds to find you. Even if someone doesn't have a social media account they can still find and have access to you.
Professionalism: having a website makes your organization seem more professional and serious. If someone stops you on the street to inquire about your business. You can easily point them to your website instead of spending a ton of time trying to explain what you do them.
Cons of owning a Website
Cost: Right now most social media accounts are free to own which might explain why a lot of people are trying to use them as a website. Building a website can be expensive depending on the designer and the level of functionality you are expecting. Certain features like scheduling require a paid third party service. You also have to pay for hosting fees and domain name.
Maintenance: Maintenance can be as simple as updating content on your site to fixing major issues. People who aren't tech savvy are often wary of having to pay someone to constantly make those updates and fixes for them.
Having a website is a worthy investment to make to help you and your organization stand out and succeed but it would also be better to have a social media presence that goes along with it as supporting casts. Was there any cons and pros that were left off this list please tell me below.