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Until recently, having a website – and preferably, one with a .com extension – was a necessity in the business world. When potential clients or customers wanted to find you, they went first to your website. As a result, companies sometimes spent lavishly on their websites, in an effort to make a good first impression with customers.
However, that’s no longer the case in the era of social media. The way customers are finding companies is changing, and the types of interactions they are having with these companies is changing. A static website that’s updated maybe a few times per year simply can’t keep up with a dynamic social media platform that gets updated multiple times per day. So here’s a closer look at why many businesses are making traditional websites an afterthought and embracing social media instead.
In the era of social media, does anyone really need a website anymore
Until the creation of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the way that customers found you was via traditional advertising. That meant TV, radio, and print. Sometimes it meant banner ads on popular websites. Customers saw ads about you, and if they were interested, went to your website. But think about how first Google, and then Facebook, completely disrupted the advertising game. As soon as Google introduced search ads, it started to break up the old traditional advertising monopoly. And as soon as Facebook introduced social ads, such as ads that appeared directly within your newsfeed, it further shifted the momentum to social media.
As a result, many companies now acknowledge that the first point-of-contact with customers these days is via social media. That’s especially the case for smaller businesses that don’t have the financial resources to spend big on splashy TV or print ads. So if customers are first interacting with you via social media, doesn’t that mean you should be shifting more of your advertising and marketing resources in this direction? It’s gotten to the point, for example, that some restaurants only have social media sites, and not restaurants. Some clothing brands handle everything via Instagram, since it’s now possible to generate e-commerce sales without a branded website.
How are your customers using social media?
Once you’ve realized that social media can be very powerful as a web presence for your brand or business, that’s when you’ll have to figure out which social media platform makes sense for you. A lot of the time, the answer to this boils down to a single question: How are your customers using social media? For example, if half of your customers are using Instagram, then you need to be on Instagram. If half of your customers are using Twitter, then you need to be on Twitter.
Then, once you’ve set up these social media platforms, you really need to deep-dive into the metrics to track things like lead generation, conversions (i.e. the number of people visiting your site who decide to buy) and demographic profiles. Some brands think that one particular demographic is their top priority, but once they dig into the numbers, they might discover something completely different. In order to maximize brand engagement, you really need to understand the underlying metrics.
A few final words of advice
Of course, it almost goes without saying that you need to keep your social profiles active. Failing to update your social media platforms is like failing to update your website. Most customers and clients will trust a business more when they see an active presence and lots of updates.
Just keep in mind that trends continue to shift when it comes to digital marketing and advertising. On social media, for example, the new emphasis is on “live” experiences, so look for ways to host live events with your customers or partners, and to get feedback in real-time. And, of course, since video is still king in the social media content world, it never hurts to make video a centerpiece of your social media presence. With these few tips, you’ll soon forget about the “old days” when everyone needed a website. Today, it’s all about social media and maximizing brand engagement.