The effectiveness of social media, as a tool to reach out to customers, continues to grow. It’s a great way to create brand awareness and communications between your brand and your customers or fans. But there are several important reasons to host these messages on your website, as opposed to only on Twitter, for example.
The best use of social media is to direct traffic to your website, where you host news or marketing messages in greater depth. There are a few important concepts at work here:
- We cannot rely on the existence of social media channels forever. For example:
– Myspace, one the largest social media site in the world, has now all but disappeared.
– Google often changes its products, e.g., Google+ is on its way out.
– Facebook changed its content filters to de-clutter people’s news feeds. The result is that many messages don’t get through to your audience.Social marketing channels come and go, so it’s not advisable to single out one as your only information/news host. If you put all your PR eggs in one basket, then you run the risk that your chosen social media platform is bought by another player and that your PR work disappears.
- This is related to point one, above. The only media platform that you have full control over is your website. This is why a company’s website should be “ground zero” for its communications. In other words, you should typically host all information on your website’s news feed first, and then use Twitter, Facebook and other external news-release systems to POINT TO YOUR WEBSITE. I use all-caps because this is really the whole point of social media – it’s a big arrow pointing to home base (your website). For example, have you recently won an award? You could put an announcement on Twitter, e.g., “We’ve just been recognized by ABC award agency!” with link to news on your website where you could elaborate on the award.
- Twitter posts have a maximum length of 140 characters – that’s only suitable for the briefest of communications.
- If you want to reach the world at large, then you need to realize that your company news (or blog) is probably the one of the biggest magnets for search engine traffic. Google gives big points for dynamic content, e.g., blogs (compared to a static page). You might think of using Twitter or Facebook for the following reasons: to increase brand awareness among potential customers and among employees (team-building), to connect with potential employees and to support external initiatives (e.g., community involvement). However, your website’s news feed does a better job of all those things. It gives people something to read on your website, in turn increasing the likelihood that they will click around to find out more about you, and potentially contact you. In SEO, this is called “reducing the bounce rate”, which, by the way, is a factor that Google uses to rank the quality of your website.
- News should be part of your overall brand image. Your website should give people an overall vision of your company brand, including your projects and accomplishments, expertise, contact info and involvement in the community. News (hosted on your site) adds to this and keeps people engaged on your site.
- People want to know that your brand is backed by real people – building human connections is simply good business. Keeping them up-to-date on your company’s newest adventures, projects and employees is one way to help them feel connected to YOU and not just perceive a website with a logo.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Yes, if you build it, they will come. Some people think that SEO is dead. It isn’t. SEO is still a very effective way to gain the attention of customers. Keeping an archive of old posts supported by new news will add credibility to your brand, not to mention content to your site, which is a huge factor in SEO. The world changes every day and customers get bored by old content. Google knows this, and therefore guides searches toward new and relevant content.
Social media is a great tool for connecting your brand with people in ways that websites did not in the past. Many companies now incorporate their Twitter or Facebook feeds directly into their websites. This enables people to go back and forth between platforms. They visit your website, and see your Twitter feed, and click on it to see your social activity. Likewise, they find a social post on Twitter related to a community event and discover the link to your website. Don’t get me wrong, i’m a huge proponent of the power of social media networks! The online world continues to evolve and create new and engaging tools to help connect people and brands like never before, but don’t forget to build your foundation – your website.