"Whooaa," I exclaim. Your website looks nothing like your social media platforms, your tweets or the person you're proclaiming to be in the world of social media. Within a few seconds, chances are you have 95% lost me. Chances are I will probably move on to more inspiring social pastures unless something grabs my attention to give you one more chance.
Many business leaders and marketeers spend "mucho money" and time on building out their social network profiles yet forget about the properties they actually own rights to. What if, Facebook was gone tomorrow? I know it won't be. However, chances are someday, one day you too will move on to other platforms as will your audience.
The relationships you build, the community you grow and nurture is what will keep you afloat during the technology changes and shifts. Do you really want to rely solely on another business, another platform for your sole identity in business? I sure hope your answer is NO!
Given the recent addition of Google+ to the market, Facebook removing deals and the list goes on, is validation you should not be putting all your social eggs in one social basket. No matter how big and pretty that basket may be today, it could be literally gone tomorrow.
Business Platform vs Silo Website
A website should be more than a website. I struggle with calling websites "websites" anymore. What business leaders need is a business platform. A platform that supports the efficient execution and achievement of business goals and objectives. These goals can usually not be obtained without a focus on your audience, customers. Inspiring and connecting with your audience is no longer an "option". It is a requirement. One of your top marketing goals should be to inspire your audience to further engage with you and your brand.
So, back to the website problem. You know it's an issue. It's on the list of things to do. Yet, budgets are tight. You have minimal resources and there are a few hundred tasks in front of the website.
Tip: Move it to the front of the list. Do not pass go. You will not collect your $200 until you have a platform to bring them back to!
If the things that are front of the list are such things as beef up your Facebook page, grow your Twitter following, enhance your profile on LinkedIn, launch an integrated campaign for an upcoming event etc. then your website better be an integrated part of every one of those plans.
Why would you want to send them to a website that doesn't knock the socks off your Facebook page? You own it for goodness sakes! Your Facebook landing tab should be the appetizer and your business platform (via your website or blog site) the main course and the dessert!
13 Tips to a Social Savvy Website
1. Get me there in the first place! This is a no-brainer. If I don't know it exists I'll never visit. If you don't inspire me to click I'll never see what ya' got, good or bad.
2. First Impression Must Rock! You have 10 seconds to make a first impression with me. Don't blow it. I know it's hard to hear "your kid is ugly". However, if your kid is ugly chances are ya' lost me before you said hello. Take the time to understand your audience, develop and execute a consistent brand across your online platforms. This is not Sesame Street where one thing should look different than the other. The best way to make a first impression when I am coming from one of your other platforms is to ensure consistency.
3. TrustFactor. Why should I believe a word you say? If your tweets, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile proclaim you are the "go to social media rockstar" and I can't find a link to your Twitter profile or Facebook page without having to look, chances are once again you've lost me. Make sure the first impression includes the language that validates who you are, what you do and why I should listen.
4. Inspire me to stick around. Why are you worth more than 10 seconds? What about you is good, different, worth my time? Better present it to me fast, concise and real. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me do something, anything!
5. Make it easy. User experience is the key. Navigation should not be over complicated. I should be no more than 1-2 clicks away from your primary call to action. If you want me to join your email opt-in then tell me on the first page I land on. Don't make me click thru 3 pages to find it. If you have a Free whitepaper I can utilize for my business then tell me about it. Many agencies can help you design a website leveraging the input of your target audience. Do a quick survey or focus group of your current customers, partners and blog readers. You'll be amazed what they'll tell you if you dare to listen!
6. Care more about me than you. I know you think you're cool. I know you like that you won the biggest farm on Farmville. However, I don't give a rip. Tell me why I, yes ME should care about you. What can you and all your fancy awards to do help me and my business this week?
7. Establish thought leadership. Even though the website should be more about helping me, your visiting than helping yourself it is still important you include information about yourself. Who are you. What have you accomplished? What is your experience that relates to the services you offer? Why are you different than your competition? Why should I choose you over them? Telling me it's all about price or service is not going to get me. What can you do for MY BUSINESS? Why should I even listen to you in the first place?
8. Invite me to your other platforms. Please make it easy for me to follow you on Twitter, like your Facebook page etc. If you have the landscape include a Twitter widget, Facebook like box. I love seeing the faces of my friends who also like your page. Chances are if you've done good at the items thus far, I will be inspired to click when I see a few folks I know.
9. If it's broken, fix it fast! Never tolerate broken links on your site. I visited a website yesterday of an agency that provides social media planning & execution services. On the bottom of their page the twitter button took me to a Twitter account that didn't even have a name, was not following anyone and had never tweeted? What!? Their site also had no Facebook page link. It had a button I could "like" the page but no link to the page. I had to search for it on Facebook. #Fail Don't let this happen to you!
10. Invite me to join YOUR own community. I'm not talkin' your community ON Facebook. I'm talkin' your community which you have access to my name and email. I am shocked at how many businesses and people teaching online marketing and social media today do not have an opt-in on their own site.
11. Ask me to buy something. I'm also amazed at the number of businesses that have a blog, website, Facebook page but they never ask me to buy! Many social media consultants and agencies do the same thing. They set their clients up the same way. Yet, they are encouraging people to buy Facebook ads. If you have no sales funnel then what is it all for? Why would you consider buying a Facebook ad if you have nothing to sell them and no funnel to further nurture a relationship with them? Even if you are still working on your products for sale, at least start growing your email list. Initially your goals can be focused on inspiring your audience and growing your list while you build out your product. Then when you launch the products you'll have an engaged following ready to buy from you!
12. Tell me how to contact you please. Simple, give me a name, number, email. Something, anything that I can learn more. Don't be the website behind the black curtain, please!
13. Plan yer work & work yer plan! I can't leave a post like this hangin' without mentioning the plan. Did you think you could really accomplish a successful "hello" without a plan? Nope! Every marketing, website, social media project I ever recommend assumes you are working under a larger, uber, smarter plan. Random acts of Marketing (RAMs) will eat your website for lunch and all the positive ROI that goes with it if you don't plan ahead. Set goals and objectives for your business. Leverage online marketing and social media as a strategic weapon that is integrated into your business. Remember though that perfection is the enemy of good. Don't lose sight of the forest through the trees. Get something out there and make it as good as you can. It will never be perfect but make it good!
So what are you sitting there waiting for? I know you have at least one of the things on the list above you need to work on! If not, then leave some tips for others so they can get a move on it!