Someone asked us how a company should go about developing their website strategy – from participating in social media or does the updated/new website lead to the social media participation? How do we integrate the two successfully?
Get Back To Basic Marketing
My answer is first: offline marketing questions are still important when developing a website strategy:
• What do we want to accomplish with this site?
• What is our position in the marketplace?
• Who are my ideal clients?
• What do they want from a website, what is important to them?
• What can I build in to make it useful and engaging?
• Where else are they spending time (coffee shops or on Facebook)?
How are your ideal clients using social media? We have a client who was gung-ho to start a Facebook fan page but when we researched this by literally asking her clients (specific demographic), we discovered they are not using Facebook.
Web 3.0 Website Strategy
Website strategy shouldn’t develop solely from social media participation, but the core of it has had a very positive influence on “Web 3.0” sites in the way it fosters building communities based on common interests, generously sharing information and creating two-way dialogue with customers.
Gone are the days of closely guarding your secrets and being all about ME. Now are the days of being open and giving away information to create communities of enthusiastic supporters. No more broadcasting, but creating discussions and having two way conversations with the public.
All companies can integrate this idea through creating interesting and meaningful elements in their website – whether built right in like a blog or polls, or making use of Twitter and Facebook.
In fact, Google recently changed the way they rank websites to be heavily swayed by social relevancy. They want to see a blog, a conversion form, a Twitter account related to the company, etc.
Ideas to Integrate Social Media Into Your Site
Add useful and interactive devices to your website. Include activities people can participate in, use blogs, forums, polls. Use dynamic content to keep it fresh, pulling in information that’s useful to ideal visitors. Become the site to go to for info in your industry. Add multi-media like recorded teleseminars, webinars and videos.
Use outside platforms and communities. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel within your own site when tools like MailChimp and dynamic Google maps works fantastically. Actively participate in existing communities like LinkedIn and the like, where the eyeballs already are, instead of trying to build your own version. Include links to follow you on these on your website. Use YouTube and FlickR to host your videos and photos. Add ‘social share’ buttons where appropriate to make it easy for people to share your brilliance.
Make it Part of a Larger Marketing Plan
Developing your website strategy and then managing your participation in social media should be part of your overall marketing plan and budget. Many think of social media as free or low cost, but it’s often time-consuming. Think of how often you blog, how much time you spend on LinkedIn, etc. If you incorporate elements right into your website, you should commit to keeping it up-to-date or there’s no point. Create a plan around it, like regular blog posts, checking all the dynamic links are still working properly, etc.
It’s Part of Your Brand
Remember, above all that websites and social media participation should be a carefully considered part of your brand.