How social media mentality can help or hinder your business...
A few months ago I wrote on how you can reach a wider base of people by utilizing social media such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and blogging sites.
If you can get your existing customers to recommend your products or services to their friends, you should accumulate a wider customer base to draw from. However, when using any kind of online promotion, your priority is to drive traffic to your web site so that people will make contact or buy something from you.
With this in mind, any social media campaign needs to be very carefully thought out before diving in head first and blindly setting up Facebook or Twitter profiles for your business, and covering your site with "Follow us" and "Find us on Facebook" buttons. The reason for this is often missed. Because such profiles are on each respective external site, all you are realistically doing is diverting needed customers away from where you want them to be, which is on your website.
If you have a website that is kept current, and especially if you sell products, you can damage your sales conversion rate by distracting people away to Facebook, Twitter, or a blog where you do not have any products to sell.
With the Internet being such an impulsive yet social place, once a visitor has diverted over to Facebook or similar, they can easily become caught up in the cute dog photo that Sue posted, or that funny YouTube video, and completely forget that they went to your site to have their HVAC fixed or to buy a new shirt for little Timmy's communion. Having a "Find us on Facebook" button is fine if you have a very small company site, a site that has not been updated for a very long time, one that you simply don't feel represents you effectively.
If any of these are the case, you may not have anything to lose by 'favoring' a Facebook business page over your actual company site, especially if your site is not a site that you can easily update yourself (like our WebUpdate range).
Because people equate news and change with dynamic companies, you can also reach more people by keeping a social page updated more frequently than you can your actual site, as long as these changes are relevant and not repetitive. When it comes to social media usage, it is a coin toss between distracting and maybe losing visitors, and generating new customers. The number one priority in most cases is that you should not use "find us" type buttons or links because they can send people away.
Instead, you should favor the simpler "like" button, linked to your actual web site, not a Facebook profile. That way, anyone who "likes" you is generating a link TO your site, that their friends can follow and generate traffic.
If you have a Twitter feed, it is also advisable to contain that within your site, maybe within a bar somewhere, and if you want a blog, it is better to use one within your site than rely on WordPress or Blogger type products, which again divert people away.
If you are ready to increase your business, now is the perfect time to consider our WebUpdate systems, which employ advanced marketing, promotion, social media and security features designed to give businesses the best competitive edge online.
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design,
the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.
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