Will Social Media will go the way of the website?

“Social media is either a time-wasting, wool-gathering, yak-shaving waste of effort or, perhaps, just maybe, it’s a crack in the wall between you and the rest of the world. It’s a choice … up to you.”

Seth Godin, Brainwashed

I have previously made the point that Websites are the forgotten creature of business development.

Social media, for all the crazed attention, is at risk of going South, too.

Just imagine a landscape where every business has the obligatory Twitter feed, Facebook page and multiplicity of blogs.

What are you supposed to do?

Given our viewing habits, the likelihood of someone taking the time to unpick and decipher all that content is remote. Add in a few email Newsletters, and you will upend any attempt to earn attention (see the talk of David Meerman Scott).

[Note: Before you answer the question, you need to get everyone in the business facing the same way. Cultural change is key to embracing social media. And I don’t mean the type of incremental, adjust the dynamics at our pace change, but the sort of change that has the potential to revolutionise the business.]

My advice:

  • develop remarkable content focused specifically at adding value to the relationships you have already garnered with your raving fans, influencers, referrers, friends and orphans.
  • adopt no more than 5 platforms including the website.
  • make sure that more than a few people get it.
  • start now. The laggards, unless they pull a few rabbits from deep down in the hat, will face the insuperable obstacle that there is a plethora of wannabes that have already stolen their clients’ eyeball time.
  • create a centre of excellence or something internally that acts as a constant resource. Cisco have something resembling this.
  • understand the ROI.R – return on investment in Relationships. If you have insufficient people in the space you are trying to develop (Google+ and Facebook), might you be better off with a WOW (un)event or using the more traditional media to reach your clients?

Too much is made of winning new business, which, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, leaves you exposed to bugging people for attention (spray em senseless marketing!). Stop worrying about winning new work, and look how you can add value to those people that have already formed a bond. Use social media to drive greater engagement, and spread your message. If word of mouth is the great leveller, then build a platform that enables your referrers to point to a resource on your website focused at answering the $64,000 question – “Are you any good?”

You would do well to have a strategy but not one that sits in the bottom drawer gathering dust.  It needs to have a vision which is centred around the values of the business and goals for your team and (lastly) the tactics that you will deploy. In addition, you need to develop a comprehensive communications plan to manage your programme of activity.

The bottom line is that social media is not something other than the business. It is simply an extension of the social and intellectual capital at your disposal. It is not a substitute for marketing, but should be considered as a powerful suite of tools that opens up a line of extended dialogue that was previously silent.

But just imagine if you are struggling now with resourcing your website what it will be like when you give yourself the headache of the push and pull of social media.

You will sink before you even get started.

Summary

Can you answer the questions: Why are we engaging is social media if the website is not up to scratch?

If you are focused on driving traffic to your site, surely that is the place to start to think WOW, remarkable and a bit of eye-sparkle? Otherwise, you may just find that people wonder what all the social media fuss was all about.

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