Spotlight on Online Marketing
You Need Both
With all the focus social media these days, it may seem as if a website is extraneous, but that's just not true. You need both. Not only do they serve very different purposes, but they actually work together to promote the success of the other.
Social Media is about engagement. I compare it to texting. I read a clever piece of fiction recently consisting completely of texts. There was a gripping plot and you did get to know the characters, but most of the details I had to create in my head, because there was no context. That's social media.
Your website is the context for social media. It's a one stop spot for everything about you. No scrolling through your Instagram feed or clicking around your Facebook page for more information. A good website will have everything you want people to know about you, organized in an easy to access way.
In real life, if someone you don't know texts you, it's called spam. Don't be spam. Always have your context available with a click.
Social Media Breaks the Ice
Social media is hot because it breaks through all the old barriers. It allows people to get to know you and to know about you outside any traditional method, like storefront, print advertising, mail campaigns or networking. You can get out in front of all kinds of people for free - just by using the right hashtag. Or maybe you spend a few dollars boosting a post. It's a lot cheaper than any ad in a magazine!
Websites Fill in the Blanks
What happens when that social media connection turns into a potential client? During an online seminar I heard a portrait photographer say many of her clients follow her for six months to a year before they ever call her, but when they get ready to call they go to her website. They know her work, because they've been following her. They've even gotten to know a little about her personally. However, they need to know if they can afford her, where her studio is located, if she'll come to their location and what her hours are. If all those details click, then they'll need a phone number or email address to get in touch with her.
And Visa Versa
There's no denying social media is giving people access to vendors in new and exciting ways, but search engines are still very important to your online presence. "Hamburger Near Me" is a powerful tool. Relational people may invest time on social media to be connected with potential vendors, but not everyone is relational - and perhaps your business is one where relationships aren't quite so important. If the toilet is running over, then all someone wants is a plumber that will be there before the whole house floods.
Search engines skip over all that relational stuff and get to the point. At 2 o'clock in the morning "24 hour plumber near me" will get the call every time. They are looking for a website with the emergency contact information displayed prominently. But while they wait for the plumber, perhaps they'll check out his social media.