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