Is Social Media a trap?

8 03 2010

OK. I get it. Social Media tools enable you to update content easily and frequently. You can Tweet every five minutes. Facebook provides a casual forum to deliver your message in a hip, friendly manner that often succeeds in penetrating the various barriers we tend to hide behind. Casual repartee is now the norm.

Is there a cost that we might be overlooking in our efforts to be chic and timely? We go to great expense to create a website that is an accurate reflection of the most important characteristics of our business. In the process, we spend hours researching the market, the consumer, the competition. We spend a fortune on SEO to make sure the right words are in the right place. Once the website goes live, we monitor SERPS on a daily basis. We begin PPC and banner advertising, investing in software that will manage cross-platform campaigns and deliver reports with fancy charts. We become pros at CPC, and CPM.

What next? What about a blog? How about Facebook? RSS? Twitter? Linkedin? Pick your poison. Now that we’re into the Social Media whirl, let’s make sure everybody knows. Let’s put appropriate links across our home page to our favorite Social Media outlets. After all, that’s what everyone else is doing, right?

The question that remains unanswered is, “How much traffic does a Facebook link on your website siphon off?” When you put so much time and effort into getting people to your website, is it really a good idea to boldly place multiple exit signs at your entrance? Do those exit signs suggest that your website content is dated and irrelevant?

No one can allege that the presence of the cute little Twitter bird or a colorful and stylized “f” on your home page will increase the number of visitors to your website. That would be incongruous. By the same token, every time someone takes advantage of one of those convenient links, that person is leaving your website. His or her return is contingent upon a future decision over which you have no control.

We conduct extensive research and engage in lengthy discussions to select home page content. Until such time as there is irrefutable evidence supporting the value of Social Media icons on a home page, it might be a good idea to limit their usage. An alternative would be to add a navigation tab between the “About Us” and “Contact Us” tabs entitled, “Connections.”

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4 responses

19 04 2010
mike buczek

Walter, I think you make a great point. But I think there is another side to this. While social media may be a fad, people are spending lots of time hanging out there. And while a link to the social media channels may be an “exit” from your site, it is also an “entrance” to your other content. People are spending hours upon hours on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites. Chances are they only spend minutes looking at any given website. If you can craft your message often and place it in front of the people where they are looking, weather it be in Facebook, Twitter, or the appropriate blog, then that truly is the key to success.

P.S
Hope all is well and you are enjoying the G9 GXP 😉

19 04 2010
mostcasualobserver

Point well taken, Mike. Why do people “only spend minutes looking at any given website?” Could it be a reaction to dated and disorganized content? Could the time spent updating Social Media outlets be better used managing a centrally-located compendium of information on a given subject, e.g. a website?

Tell me, Mike, are you as satisfied today with the quality of information you find today on pbpost.com vs. the content quality one or two years ago? As the online “news” presentations lean more and more toward the Social Media standard, the content becomes less reliable, more difficult to research and follow.

The blogs, facebook, linkedin and twitter people I follow are all known to me. As one who is totally committed to “consider the source,” I have a real problem with the absence of meaningful background info. I can’t attach much credibility to someone who won’t use his name.

24 03 2011
sarahbernardy

I think you both make good points. I do find this all extremely helpful as I am a business women who is currently questioning if I am doing enough in the “social media world” that we live in. I currently started a FB page for my company, but am yet to link it from my website. I think the “connections” page is a wonderful idea as it’s never smart to have someone leave your site if they only have their lunch hour to find you.

24 03 2011
mostcasualobserver

You appear to thrive in an extremely competitive industry, in a saturated market, in a particularly challenging economy. You have earned my respect already. The consistency with which you have updated your blog speaks very well of you.

Is it possible that blogs, facebook, twitter, etc. exist because website edits are costly and time-consuming? Did people who were frustrated by html, php, flash, etc. go to social media not by choice but by necessity? When web developers failed to complete edits and additions in a timely manner, did people begin seeking self-managed alternatives?

Your website is awesome! The crisp, minimalist approach has created an understated elegance which is a perfect representation of a designer’s skill, but where is the “news” section with articles about your accomplishments? Where is your explanation of the importance of ASID, the steps involved in a design project, the elements to consider when evaluating a design, the most common pitfalls you see in failed design attempts, your commitment to community service, the charities you support, etc.? Is it possible that you’re not expanding your website because the process is too involved/costly?

The Alexa rank for your website doesn’t come close to Lilu Interiors, Kuhl, or Eminent, and yet there are pages and pages of indexable content on your blog. If the blog was part of your website, or if the blog entries were pages of your website, then your website would be more popular. Sarah, don’t spread yourself too thin. It appears as though the blog and now facebook are consuming valuable time that could be spent improving your website…

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