As more and more people move towards using social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, and others institutes, businesses, and even local services are faced with the dilemma of should we focus on the website and let it target people on social hubs, or should we focus on the social hubs and drive traffic to the website....
As we are all aware, websites are linear and generally characterized as a one way communication channel that businesses use to push out their marketing messages to consumers. In the last decade, more and more websites changed character by becoming more user centric, generating content and incorporating methods to engage consumers into conversation that builds brand loyalty, which is basically moving websites from a push marketing paradigm into a pull strategy where users become advocates for the brand and use the website to express their needs and interests.
Different businesses create different sites and although generally sites are more responsive to users needs these days. We can all see that sites are not all the same, and even within a mature company that understands its customer base we find businesses creating different types of websites to tackle their marketing messages. So a typical company might have:
- A corporate site ( from the old model of sites where basic marketing information is laid out and pushed to the site visitor)
- E-commerce site (the standard model for businesses that sell products or services online)
- News and article base portals (like large news paper portals and Blog sites where the focus is on the articles being published)
- Community sites (sites that build discussions among registered users like forums, university campus sites..)
From the latest, consumers moved into social networks and became more involved into discussions with other members within that community and less involved with corporate and e-commerce sites. This drove businesses into the need to adapt a new type of website or as technically defined as a page on a social network.
Social Pages, redefine websites
A social page is basically businesses way of going with the flow.. Most commercial companies seek to attract and engage with their customers. So for a commercial entity like Apple, Dell, and many others they can not afford not to have a social page. They move from the comfort of their own platform of a hosted website into a social window that is provided by a third party.
Digital or online marketing is all about evolving and growing dynamically pushing the boundaries of traditional marketing. However, one thing we need to be careful about is the use of channels to meet business objectives and not customize our own strategies to fit social windows.
A social Page is not a website
5 main elements that set social pages apart from the various website types we grew familiar with are:
- Social pages are 90% driven by users' content.
- Navigation is limited to the structure of the social network platform.
- The front or landing page drives the main message for the social hub, which is similar to the home page, but search engine indexing might drive traffic to other pages. For the social page, the traffic will always load the landing page.
- Content is generally short and highly commercialized with imagery and dynamic video. It should be written for the social platform and not a copy of the main site content.
- The concept of a site map is foreign, as the users' journey is non-linear on a social platform.
A lot of social networks offer plug-ins and widgets that can be placed on websites to highlight the discussions from the social network on the main site. Many companies use feeds from their Twitter page
or wall posts from Facebook
on their e-commerce and news portal to enrich their sites content.
This solution seem to work well for news portals and charity organization as well as entertainment sites.
Regardless of the solution, one factor must remain.. the use of the social page should not be the strategy , it should always fit within an integrated marketing campaign that address this as a channel !! Respecting its boundaries and harnessing its benefits...!!
So, how do you rate the social page you have setup for your company ? comment below....