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.”