Not a day passes when self proclaimed “experts” will claim a once acclaimed technology dead. In recent days some have doubted the value of websites over business pages in Facebook, LinkedIN, etc. Pages in these networks allow one to create a simple and feature lacking presence on the web without the potential offered in the expansive options of a professional website. Without question social media is a powerful part of any modern marketing effort, even simple pages such as these add value — but they do not replace a website effort. Here’s why:
Social Walled Garden
These sites are often described as “walled gardens” or digital labrinths that keep the user captive to their experience of the web. The goal of a walled garden is to keep you neatly captive within its confines utilizing its features and functionality. Why is this a problem, you might ask? Well, because you cannot control what content or ads that will show when the user visits this walled garden page in the garden. For example, a visitor to your Facebook page my see ads to a competitor – not exactly optimal. Additionally they will be confronted by a wide array of features and functionality that distract and detract from the message you desire to deliver.
Building Customer Mindshare
Communicating the value you deliver to your client, customer or constituent is vital to the success of your business. Your website is a unique space where you can deliver such a compelling message and persuade your prospects into customers. No other location in the world of social media (or the digital world for that matter) has as much potential persuasive power than your website to build this understanding.
When you drive traffic to your website you capture rich web analytics about your prospects and existing customers. You find everything about what is working with your site and deep insights into how you can improve it. With a social media page you have weak and lackluster analytics in comparision. Rich analytics can mean understanding your customers better and delivering more value to them.
Powerfully Deliver Your Message
When you own the portal delivering the message you have direct control over the content and message. This differs from the world of social media pages where you compete with social media features (chat, friend feeds, etc.), content and even ads on the same page. These can clutter or even dwarf your message and may even leave you positioned next to the ads of competitor. No so with your website where you own the whole message, method of delivery and have complete flexibity on how you approach your customer.
Websites Still Relevant
Pages within social media sites are NOT the equivalent of an actual website. Often a social networking presence is a powerful way to engage and connect with prospects/client. Ultimately it can be used to drive traffic back to your homebase or website and out of the walled garden. These social media pages can be used in an additive way to engage customers and prospects but they are not a replacement for a digital home base or website. The benefits of a coordinated web effort involving both will only be reaped for those that embrace both.