After all the effort many enterprises put into social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others, the truth is that the website is still the heart of all online marketing activities from pay-per-click (PPC) ads through search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts to mobile marketing (MarketingSherpa, 2012). It is therefore wise to pay attention to the website and what it can do for your enterprise.
The relationship between social media sites and websites are much like an online dating service or a matchmaker if you will. The online dating service or the matchmaker introduces two people, just like a user might get introduced to an enterprise through Facebook but that is all it is; the introduction. Now that the attention of the user is captured, enterprises need to keep things engaging to maintain the userâs interest and this is where the website steps in. The website is like the depiction of the enterpriseâs soul. It is the character, the personality, the everything of the enterprise laid out for the customer. This is not to say that social media is not important. It certainly is an important part of any modern marketing effort, however they do not replace a website effort for a few reasons:
1. Social media is like the greedy matchmaker.
Matchmakers make money from introducing two people to one another. In the same light, social media websites get their publicity by demonstrating that they can link user to user/ enterprise through their huge online presence, easy to use functions and advertising features. However, if there is no effort on either side of the match made party (i.e the enterprise) to make a move onto the next step, the traffic stays on the social media site. In other words, the matchmaker keeps the payment even though there was no union.
Image source: http://simantov-international.com/
2. Social media is like the first date.
It is the space where the customer gets to know the enterprise through the website content and features, and the enterprise gets to know their customers through analysing their behaviour on the site.
3. Blinders are not required to stay focused.
On a social media site, there are plenty of distractions - advertisements, newsfeeds, games, chats that divert the customerâs attention away from the message of the enterprise. Social media sites are great for getting attention, but when it comes to retaining it, the website with all its creative content and user interactive features, wins hands down.
4. Your website is the mothership.
Websites are the portals of information that users flock to to learn more about the enterprise. In a survey done by MarketingSherpa (2012), results showed that enterprises are most likely to use their websites as a marketing channel and an international resource. It is the place where the customer gets to understand what is offered by the enterprise and what they stand to gain from this business. It is an opportunity for enterprises to showcase their personalities and engage users with relevant content and features.
5. With websites, there is flexibility and greater control.
Having a website gives the enterprise ownership over what goes out there. On a website, content is controlled, yet can be made flexible to meet the customerâs expectations. Using unique landing pages, features to provide feedback, request for future e-mail communication are ways in which the user can be kept engaged. The control over the user experience that comes with having a website, enables the enterprise to control content relevancy and inevitably, the conversion process.
6. Websites allow you insight into your customer needs.
Websites allow enterprises to analyse their customerâs behaviour and gain deep insights - what they like, what they do and do not respond to. Once the enterprise understands their customer, they are more equipped to add value to their services. Simply put, they are able to get into the heads of their customers and provide them with what they want. Though social media sites do have analytics, they are not as rich as what websites can garner. Like so many men, they remain relatively clueless about what their partners want.
These six points do not mean to say that social media is not as good as websites in terms of marketing but rather that the two go hand in hand. Social media sites are great at what they do - drawing attention and âmatchmakingâ. They are the platforms that are most likely going to channel traffic to a company website. However when it comes to the final lead conversion potential, the ball is fully in the court of the enterprise itself in keeping the user engaged through the userâs next source of information - the website.
MarketingSherpa (2012), The 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report. Retrieved from: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/excerpt/2012-website-optimization-bmr [Last accessed: 2 July 14]
Guarino, J. (2013), The importance of a website - website vs. social media pages. Retrieved from: http://www.evolutionaryit.com/social-media-marketing/the-importance-of-a-website-website-vs-social-media-pages/ [Last accessed: 11 July 2014)
Murtagh, R. (2013), 6 Reasons the website (vs. social media) should be the ultimate destination for the brand. Retrieved from: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2272083/6-Reasons-the-Website-vs.-Social-Media-Should-Be-the-Ultimate-Destination-for-the-Brand [Last accessed 11 July 2014]
Mobley, D. (2013), The importance of a website to your small website. Retrieved from: http://www.advertisingindepth.com/86/the-importance-of-a-website-to-your-small-business/ [Last accessed 11 July 2014]