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From your local plumber’s website to the neighborhood roofing and remodeling company, social media icons are popping up on websites faster than California wildfire blown by the Santa Ana winds! If you own a small business, you’ve no doubt heard that social media marketing is the next big thing.
According to the social media gurus, it’s critical that you build up your “online community”, “monitor your brand”, create a Facebook Page for your business and spend your weekends Tweeting. But should you really be placing social media icons on your website – possibly encouraging people to leave your site? According to Brian Massey, the answer, in all but a few rare cases the answer is, “No!” And we agree with him.
In his recent article on Search Engine Land, “How Mark Zuckerberg Stole Your Search Traffic & What To Do About It”, Massey explains that every visit to your website has a cost. Why would you pay to get more visitors to your website only to turn around and send them off to play on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.?
Think About It Another Way
Most small business owners think of (and treat) their website as if it were a brochure. Your website is NOT a brochure – it’s a sales rep or a virtual online store. It doesn’t matter that you’re a plumber or HVAC company and you don’t actually sell anything online. For a plumber or an HVAC company, the “sale” is getting a website visitor to call or fill out an appointment request form (i.e. lead generation).
At the highest level, your goal should be to get more qualified visitors to your website (i.e. get more people into your store). Once there, you either want to entice them to buy or build a relationship with them so that they are more likely to buy at some future date (when they’re ready). What you don’t want to do is pay to attract them to your store and then have one of your employees tell them that another store down the street has a much larger selection.
If your website is a store, Facebook and Twitter are like gigantic flea markets (or trade shows) where you have one small booth in a sea of thousands of other booths. People on the web are ADHD. The last thing you want to do is send them from your website into the social media abyss.
The Right Way to Use Social Media Icons
A better way to use social media is to encourage existing clients to connect. If you have an email newsletter that goes directly to current clients or people who have purchased from you in the past, put your social media icons there. If you own a local plumbing or HVAC company, encourage past customers to visit your Facebook page and post a testimonial.
One of the coolest things happening in marketing today is the idea that companies and brands can become the media. If you own a home renovations company, you can create your own TV channel and share helpful tips. If you do a great job creating and promoting your content, it can spread unbelievably fast and at a very low-cost (remember www.willitblend.com?). However, you want to be careful and balance getting your brand in front of a larger audience with keeping your target customers focused on YOU (vs. the alternatives).
Be social and build online communities. Promote your business via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., but follow Brian Massey’s advice and recognize that you want traffic to flow from Facebook and Twitter to your site – not the other way around! Learn more about how to use social media to grow your business.
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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