Social media is an increasingly important mix of your web marketing strategy, but does that trump the importance of your website?
Get the answer from Dave and me in the latest edition of our ongoing series: 2013 in Review.
Dan: Today we're talking with Matt Mesenger, the Director of Web Marketing at Aztek, and Dave Skorepa, the Chief Creative Officer here at Aztek. You can find them at Aztekweb.com.
Guys, businesses have limited resources, and you guys live in the web world. But a lot of businesses are just doing their own thing trying to make money, trying to save some resources, get new customers and all. There are different prongs of what they can do with these resources. One is the traditional website. You know, you've got to have the website and there are all these social media platforms now.
If a company only has the resources to really pursue one of those strategies, what advice would you give them?
Matt: Well, first off, I would make the case that both are monumentally important in today's web. We can definitely understand limited resources. There are only so many hours in the day.
If you twisted my arm and said I had to choose one over the other, I would say the website is going to be the most important component in terms of your web presence. It can really be the hub, especially a site that has an actively updated and maintained blog and fresh content. You can provide a lot of value for your prospective customers and even existing customers in that way.
But, I would say if the website is priority number one then social media has to be #1A. There are a couple of reasons I'd make that statement. First of all, the user preference. There are a lot of different ways that a visitor or somebody who would be in your target audience might want to interact with your brand. Maybe they want to pick up the phone and call you. Maybe they want to communicate through email or a contact form on your website.
But, more and more you see a lot more engagement and interaction in social properties. So, by expanding into the social space, as well as having your website, you're catering to that demand of your market.
Additionally, there's a biannual report that Moz.com releases about search engine rankings and visibility. In the 2013 report, among the topics that were the most agreed upon, was the fact that social media, if it's effectively managed, does have a positive impact on the ranking of your website as well. So they're really kind of mutually beneficial and that's why we say it's priority one and #1A between the website and social media.
And, if I could add another point on that, being sensitive to limited resources. Just because you have Pinterest, Vine, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn available to you, I would encourage you to take a step back and think about which properties or social media profiles are going to actually generate the most benefit for your business.
A lot of times, what you'll see is that not every social media property is the right fit for every company. So you don't have to jump in and manage these eight different profiles on top of the website all at once. You can kind of take it more incrementally. Say LinkedIn is your most beneficial social profile. Start with that. Incorporate that into your daily process. Get efficient with that. Then, if there are other properties that are going to be valuable to your business, you can start adding those on incrementally one at a time.
But, again, if you had to twist my arm I'd say website, but definitely social media cannot be ignored in today's day and age.
Dan: All right. Now, Dave, when we twist your arm, what do we hear?
Dave: When you twist my arm it's going to be “what does your audience want?” I think, ultimately, probably the website you still have to have. But, I think it's important, like Matt said, to realize that not everybody wants to come to you anymore. That mentality has to go. Your website is not this huge destination.
The reason social media's been so effective for people is you're coming to them, and they're able to follow along passively. The notion that, “Oh, they'll come to my website, I'll control their experience, and I will tell them...” That's long since gone. You don't have that kind of control, and you're, quite frankly, foolish if you think that people are that motivated that they're going to come seek you out all the time.
You've got to be willing to go to them. So, your website is important, but it's not the way it was even three, four years ago.