Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube: these days it seems that everyone is involved in social media in some way.
But David Meerman Scott in his book "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" cautions against ignoring the traditional website. He says that the company website is often ignored, but in his opinion it's probably still the most important thing to pay attention to. He believes, and I agree with him, that these other channels are added tools, not replacements for what you already have.
Here's how I think about it.
When I read your blog, Facebook page or Twitter posts, I get a snapshot of a moment: an article about something that's on your mind, a comment about a recent event, an announcement of your newest program, maybe an inspiring quotation. And that's all good. It keeps me up to date, gives me useful information, establishes you as knowledgeable.
But now imagine I'm looking for someone with your skills and talent to help me in my business or personal life. I want to know more about who you are and what you do. I want to know the benefits to me of your service and why I should choose you over your competitors. I want to be able to check out your background, your credentials, what makes you good at what you do. Then I may need time to think about it. I may go back and read your information again, perhaps several times, before I make a decision.
Maybe I can find that level of detail somewhere in your blog posts, Tweets, Facebook posts or in your collection of YouTube videos. But in my experience I have to do a lot of poking around to piece it all together. Many web users are impatient and in a hurry to find exactly what they are looking for and won't take the time to search around.
That's why the details of your business belong on a traditional web site that I can go back to as often as I want and still be sure of finding the same information in the same place each time.
Not everyone is as picky as I am when I'm choosing vendors, or partners to work with.
There's nothing wrong with keeping up with fast-changing social media tools, but don't let the buzz about Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other social media blind you to the basics of marketing and a core tenet of useability: make it easy for potential clients to find what THEY want and need - or they'll forget you really quickly.
Copyright 2011 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.