Your company’s website is hard to maintain, so expensive to update and modify, and so time-consuming… Ugh, just give it up and go all social media all the time!
Christian Briggs, writing at Marketing Profs, says the Big-Time Companies (like Skittles and Coca-Cola) are doing it, so you should too:
That brings me to a new trend worth watching. Everywhere around me now, I see companies dispensing with the traditional website in favor of integrating the most popular social networks right into the website and communicating with customers in real time via tweets and Facebook posts. Big players like Skittles and Coca-Cola have completely bought into social, as have savvy small mom-and-pop shops.
Here are four reasons that brands are opting for social sitesand why you might want to follow their lead.
The thinking behind Brigg’s post is seductive and reasonable, laid out in four points:
1. It’s fresh
2. It’s automatic
3. It’s familiar
4. It’s affordable
Unfortunately, I must disagree, for one very important reason:
You don’t own it.
Your website is your home base for real estate on the Internet and the best place to cultivate and store information that establishes the credibility of your business and brand, becomes a trusted resource for your current customers and attracts new potential buyers. For a B2B this is essential. Yes, the Twitter-driven Skittles website is fun and quirky. It ought to be, it’s a candy brand. I doubt it would have the same effect for the company that makes the parts for the machines that make Skittles.
You own business website is the one place where you can publish and share important, up-to-date product and service details without being at the mercy of “what’s popular now“. Anybody remember MySpace?
Keep Building Your Castle
Because it belongs to you, you can decide what is displayed, what gets featured, when it goes out. You have access to many free services to monitor who is seeing your content, where they come from, and how it is getting shared. You control it. The Social Networking sites, on the other hand, control how much of your content gets seen – and by whom.
Just like the physical space that your business occupies, your website is an integral part of your business operation. The costs for its upkeep and maintenance need to be included in your budget, just like the occasional office renovation or expansion.
Keeping it Fresh.
Your website needs to include a blog. Period. This is how you keep your website fresh. Go ahead and share your new posts on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn (or wherever your customers are), but draw them back to your website. Give them something in exchange for their e-mail address so you can keep them in the loop with what you are doing.
Even if your customers aren’t using Twitter you can set up your WordPress blog to publish automatically to Twitter and those tweets can be automatically forwarded to your Facebook page. Boom. Write it once, click “Publish” and out it goes.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
My Lovely Bride logged in to her Facebook account the other day and I noticed that she had something like 26 notifications in the little red box at the top of the screen. “Why so many,” I asked, “when was the last time you logged in?“
“Oh, I never click that.” she replied…
Can You Afford Not To?
What is going to be the Next Big Thing? What changes might Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest make that blow up the model that you have been using? I’m pretty sure that the Social Networks have their own agendas for growth and profit that may have very little to do with your own goals. With your own website you remain in control of the look, the format, the entire user experience. Build regular updates into your budget and test new concepts often.
I am definitely not saying that your business should not use Social Media. Far from it. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – all have excellent uses as channels for communication with your customers.
Like the telephone and e-mail you have to have them and develop skills and policies for using them.
Like all forms of technology you need to incorporate training and professional development in their use.
Like all sales and business development techniques you have to create strategies and tactics for getting the best results.
Just don’t put all of your eggs in one Social Media basket.