Social media can be fun…in your personal time. Social media in business needs a purpose. It’s not an end unto itself. The end goal is not to bring people to your social media page for fun. You want to convert them into buyers (or users) of your product. The best place to do that is on your website where you control the environment and the experience. However, you can use social media as just one of the marketing tools available to get them there. You just need to use the right one for the job.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. —Abraham Maslow
When MySpace was “IT”, my friends and family pushed (hard) for me to open an account. I said, "No Thanks! I already have a website." MySpace is really just a website substitute for people/companies that don’t have their own sites. In 2003 if you were a small start-up, it made perfect sense to go to a structured environment like MySpace where, for minimal investment of time, you could have a site and generate some untargeted traffic. Today, that is still MySpace’s function but there are many other players in that space, see hosted blogging/CMS tools like WordPress, Blogger, etc…. (But that’s another post!)
Facebook is Vegas! It’s all marketing and bling but very little substance. You can’t scoff at 500 million users though. The biggest mistake I see when companies put all their content on Facebook and think they’re done. You’ll get a lot of "likes" that way. But you’ve given no incentive to your "friends" to move on to your website and convert into buyers. Your website languishes without traffic and fresh content while you’re making Facebook rich. (Facebook thanks you—because you know—they’re polite that way.)
Don’t give all your web traffic to Facebook! Use Facebook to capture your audience and direct them to your site. Put only introductory (or teaser) content on your Facebook page. Think of it as the front page of a newspaper (if you can remember what one looks like). Many of the day’s biggest stories start on the front page, but continue on page 21A. Keep the good stuff on your website and your Facebook followers will come to your site, which is now content rich. Search engines like to support that.
When search engines see lots of traffic coming to your content rich site, your company website rankings go up. (I know. It’s like getting credit only when you don’t need it.) When your rankings go up, you get bonus new web traffic that has nothing to do with Facebook. That’s a win-win for you.
Twitter doesn’t bring you new traffic—at least not directly. Twitter is best at generating excitement and urgency among your current followers. Think "Breaking News" or "Act Now" and you’ve got the idea. Can you use this in your business? Well it depends on your business.
By the way, anything tweeted yesterday is ancient history.
LinkedIn is where you can find professional rock stars in their respective fields. Now that you understand how social media can be useful for your business, go to LinkedIn and recruit all the additional help you’re going to need to create and maintain your web presence including all those social media marketing tools and your website. (Pssst! I could be persuaded… for the right price and any location that’s not 100 degrees
right now ever.) Don’t forget that once your new marketing campaign takes off you’ll also need sales people, etc…
The future of social media
Are Facebook and Twitter the evolutionary pinnacle of social media marketing? Hardly. These tools wax and wane, morph and change all the time. Make sure they continue to support your marketing needs or find the next big thing just around the corner. Above all, make sure they are supporting your website efforts not competing with them.