When it comes to your home page, think outside the box.
You obsess over the design, positioning and content that is presented on your company's home page. Of course, all the care and strategic thought that goes into it is well worth it. But does that level of focus go far enough?
In today's socially connected world, a potential customer's first online impression is not likely to be that home page. It is almost assured to be your presence on Google, and increasingly, Facebook that introduces new and returning visitors to what you have to offer. That's because the vast majority of the eyeballs fixed to browsers start with Google, or camp out on Facebook.
Facebook pages for businesses are already a widely known and accepted tool. But it's still wild out there in terms of best practices. Do you just syndicate your web site content on your page? Or are you offering something extra for those who "like" your page? That may be a contest, an app or even exclusive images. It just may be that you can do almost everything you need to do on Facebook that you do on your web site. And the results we see strongly suggest it is easier and cheaper to use Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your Facebook Page. We think that's because all those Facebook-ers are in their Facebook world and they don't want to leave. They are addicted to the look and feel. They don't have to work hard to understand the page. The threshold to getting a "Like" is much lower than getting some personal information on your site. And you still have a way to reach them, build a relationship and hopefully ride a viral wave to millions of others. All that happens on Facebook because that's where the eyeballs on the browsers are.
The bottom line is that social networks represent a fundamental shift in the dynamics of marketing. Companies no longer have the influence they used to when they advertise their products and services. It's other consumers reviewing and talking about products and services that make the difference one way or the other. The discussion at the consumer level can your business go viral in surprising ways. It's critical everyone in the organization is prepared to respond constructively.
Here are some things we think about in helping clients with their social marketing:
- Establish or enhance a business's online presence.
- Raise awareness of the culture and purpose behind the business's products.
- Make it fun and easy for customers and prospects to interact with the business and each other.
- Establish ways for the company to constructively participate in the discussion
- Plan for ways to use social networks in an emergency
Yes, social marketing is not a mature advertising channel. It's hard to plan and test, it's hard to track and it's hard to staff. But we said the same things about e-mail marketing and search engine marketing in the last 10 years. As fast as online marketing develops, we are convinced social will take its place soon. It's very hard to play the "wait and see" game while all those people are out there talking about how you make your living.