Is Your Website Sabotaging Your Social Media Efforts? Part 2

Is Your Website Sabotaging Your Social Media Efforts?

In Part 1 of this series we looked at how poor design and not having fresh content can lead to your website sabotaging your social media efforts. Hopefully you did the homework and spent some time reviewing  your site to see what story it is telling to a first time visitor. In Part 2 I want to look at a model of how social media works hand-in-hand with your website to share content, generate traffic and increase search ranking.

The Model

The model I like to use for showing clients how social media complements a website involves a home base and several outposts. Think of this relationship in terms of exploring a new area such as space or the explorations into the western frontier of America. Your home base is where the mission begins. It’s where you come back to over and over, it’s where you live. The outposts are places where you explore. They’re where you interact with new ideas and people to gain a better understanding of the world around you. I first saw Chris Brogan use this model and think it is a great way to illustrate how the two platforms work together. Your home base is your website and your social media channels and sharing platforms are the outposts.

Home Base and Outpost Model

Home Base

This is where you live online. It is your brand home and it’s where you generate your content (I’m assuming you have a blog on your site – remember we talked about adding fresh content in the last post).  You want people that you interact with in other spaces to eventually land here. And once they are here you want them to find valuable information that keeps them coming back for more, and to eventually feel so confident in your expertise that they either buy from or hire you. Some have suggested that using other platforms such as Facebook or Google+ as a home base is the way of the future. I disagree. Having your own domain that you own and control is extremely important. You can’t control the changes that Facebook, Google, Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous, etc. roll out and how those changes will affect your online presence. You need to have your home base set up in a space where you control all aspects of design, content and any future changes. If you don’t have this space for your organization or for yourself, I recommend making that your top priority. Once you have the content on your home base, making it easy for others to share this content on the outposts via social buttons is essential.

Outposts

These are the other places on the web where you set up work spaces. You don’t live in these spaces, they are only there to help you engage with and understand the new world around you. These are great places to listen to what others are saying about your brand and your industry. They’re also great places to engage in conversation and share useful information. Places to share the helpful content you have created back at your home base. And as you and your readers share that content, it spreads. This allows others to find your content for the first time and if they find it helpful, to share it with their audience. The increased traffic from these outposts to your home base will help your search ranking, thus making it easier for even more new readers and potential customers to find you, and hopefully share your content with their friends.

Social Media Traffic Flow

Working Together

As you can see, your website and your social media efforts work best when they are working together. Neither can reach their full potential without the other. When they are working together, they generate a powerful force that you can utilize to share your story through relevant content and pull new and existing customers to your site.

In the next post in this series I will share why you need to develop a clear strategy not only for content development, but for how you will utilize your outposts so that you don’t continue to sabotage your social media efforts.

For Discussion

What outposts are you using and which ones are you finding the most beneficial?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Website Sabotaging Your Social Media Efforts? Part 1

If you are a small business owner or run a non-profit organization you’re most likely not only aware of the benefits of social media, but are probably already attempting to use this new media for your organization. You’ve probably created your accounts on Facebook, Twitter and even Google+, and set up your place of business on Google Places and Foursquare. Still you might not be seeing the results you expected. You might feel like your efforts aren’t being rewarded and you are wondering if the time you are putting into social media is worth it. I want to challenge you that your social media efforts my not be the problem. You’re probably thinking “How is my website affecting my social media?” Bear with me for a minute and let’s take a look at your site and what it is communicating to your visitors and ask the question “Is your website sabotaging your social media efforts?”

Web Site Design

Is the design, the look and feel, consistent with your brand? Does it communicate who you are? Does it reflect the culture and the real life experience of connecting with your organization? Is it welcoming, and easy to navigate? Can your customers find the solutions they are looking for? Perhaps the design of the site keeps people from returning after a first visit. [Read more...]

Personal Branding and Your Blog – Your Space and Style

On Monday I presented you with the idea of thinking about your blog as your online home. Today I’m going to provide you with some creative ways to start thinking about taking your offline personal branding and translating that to your blog.

Your Space

When you walk into the Abel home, you have entered into my space. I am an expert at where things are and how they relate to our family. Begin to think about your blog themes and topics in the same way. Most people who are thinking about personal branding have some idea of subject matter they want to blog about, but that isn’t always the case. Some blogs are focused on a single topic, while others tackle a wide range of material. As you think about what it is you want to blog about, or what you want your personal brand to be known for, answer this question. What is it that you just can’t stop talking about? As you are talking to your friends, what is the one topic that they might get frustrated with because you weave it into every conversation?  That topic might must be the subject of your blog. You’ve already established that as part of your personal brand offline, and maybe it is time to get serious about it online.

Also, I want you to think about your long-term goals as you develop your brand. For example, I have seen some bloggers build their platform around a new baby and the challenges of being a new mom. Well, soon they wake up to a child that is in middle school.  Building a platform around a situation that is a state of flux is okay, but you have to have a plan for taking your readers on that journey. You also need to go around your home and update your style every once in a while. Remember avocado green appliances?  If you need to transition your subject due to life-change, employment or educational shifts,this is also a good time to look at what changes need to happen on your blog. Think strategically about how you are going to rearrange the “rooms” of your blog home.

Your Style

We live in a world where people are obsessed with sharing what they love. Hello Pinterest? In the blog world sometimes the owner’s online style doesn’t match up with their personalities, and something always seems off. This is hard to explain, but trust me, you know it when you see it. When developing your online style, really hone into things that you love. Look at your style online in terms of design. Are you artsy or structured? Do you like bold color or are you more into sensible and classic?

One exercise you can do is take pictures of your “stuff”. Grab your phone or a camera and walk around and take pictures of your home. Snap photos of  your favorite items, fabrics, textures, whatever you see and like. Your style will start to emerge.  I want to also give a word of caution. You know how I joked about Pinterest earlier? It is a great way to capture and organize style ideas, but just be careful if you use this platform to do this exercise. Sometimes what you pin there is not a true sense of you, because you are capturing wants and wishes rather than reality. It can also become a huge time suck — not that I speak from experience or anything.

In a few words describe your personal style? Do you see the overlap between your home and blog? Leave your comments below and link to your blog so we can all check out your style.

 

 

 

Personal Branding and Your Blog – Your Home

 

Your Home

Your home is a place of comfort, community and hospitality. If your desire is to develop a memorable online presence, your “blog home” is essential. In the same way that developing your personal home style takes time and effort, the same is true for your blog. One thing I recommend to clients, based on personal experience,  is to spend a good bit of time thinking this through. I have mentioned before how I have gotten wild-hair ideas about things that I wanted to talk about, and how I have abandoned not one, but two personal blogs. I am learning, and the next go round will be more strategic. So don’t feel like you have to do this all in one day, take some time and plan.

While you need to spend some time on social media spaces (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), your blog is where you and your content lives. It is your space. A place where you invite others in for a cup of coffee (or in my case some sweet tea) and conversation. As you are developing your personal brand, spend some time making sure the space fits you well. In future posts I will be talking about very specific ways to do this.

If you are developing a personal brand, having your own domain is essential.  Using a WordPress.com or blogger site to get started blogging is fine, but if you are thinking about personal branding, it’s time to take it up a notch. Find a domain name that fits you and your brand. Later on in this series I will be giving more specific ways things to think about concerning this. It is important. Stay tuned.

After you have your domain, you need to think about design. The design of your blog needs to fit your personal style, but it also need to have a layout that is functional. Spend some time looking at other blogs and at some templates. Make note of what elements you like and want to incorporate into your blog. You may have to spend a little more money here if you want something that is truly unique, or you can go with an off the shelf theme if you are looking for something clean and simple. Functionally, either option will work and it just depends on how personal you want the space to look.

Developing a blog that is a reflection of who you are and what you want to say is important. Sometimes it can also be overwhelming. Just like those times you have to hire an interior designer or professional organizer, sometimes you need to hire a professional social media consultant to get you strategically started. At Rocky Mountain Media Group, we love bloggers. You have made the web interesting and personal. What you have to say is important. We would love to assist  you on your journey to developing a meaningful and memorable space on the web that is your home.

If you are currently blogging, leave a comment and a link to your “home” below.