Any realtor can tell you the importance of getting a home inspection before closing on a house. The house may look perfect from the outside, but a home inspection may reveal significant damage to the foundation. Without this firm foundation, even the most perfect-looking home can become a nightmare.
In the Web 2.0 world, business owners are being dazzled by the potential of social media without first creating the foundation of a robust website. While it would be foolish to discount the power of social media, it is equally foolish to ignore the role of a website for bringing in new clients.
The Role of the Website
Think of your website as a combination resume and reference guide. Potential clients will go to your website to learn more about your offerings or to get information about related topics. Your website should contain information that is not time-sensitive. This is the place to include facts, figures and informative articles. It’s also a great place to have interactive tools. Think of your website as a very specific reference library, always available to those looking for information.
Your website engages readers by providing them information whenever they need it. Social media, on the other hand, engages readers in a more time-bound manner.
The Role of Social Media
Social media gives you a chance to interact with clients and prospects on a more personal level. This is where you can show the human side of your business. This is also where you can provide commentary or insights into time-bound topics such as news articles. This is both the advantage and the drawback of social media. It’s an advantage because you can have conversations in almost real-time. It’s a disadvantage because that interaction will scroll off the user’s screen in a matter of days or hours, relegated to the archives. Meanwhile, the information on your website is just as retrievable a month from now as it is at any other time.
To market online effectively, you need both tools. But first you need the foundation of a good website.
But Everybody’s Using Social Media
Social media can be a good way to engage clients and prospects. But when they want to learn more about you, they will go to your website. When they remember hearing about your company they will most likely look for you in the search engines first, before they look for you on Facebook or Twitter. What will they find when they visit your website?
When they come to your site you want to show them how knowledgeable you are and how much expertise you have. But you want to do it in a way that is easy to read and understand. This is where you can put your testimonials, your before/after photos, your thin-slice articles about the products and services you offer. This is the place for helpful tools such as calculators, quizzes and other interactive items.
Once you have good content (and a good quantity of it), it’s time to leverage social media.
Where Social Media Fits In
Social media can now come into play. For starters, you can post links to helpful articles on your website in your status updates. If you participate in online forums, you can insert references to your website to help answer a question. Or you can simply lend your expertise to answering questions.
With your website foundation in place, go ahead and engage others in a conversation about your products. Start the conversation in the social media world, and watch your website traffic increase as a result. Having laid that firm foundation, those visitors will soon convert into paying clients.