Online Content: Divide And Conquer For Success
Originally published: 12.01.11 by Lauren Whitson
Websites and social media function differently, so manage their content differently.
If your company has both a website and social media accounts up and running, then you have taken integral steps in creating an online presence. But now what? Managing multiple resources on the Web can be confusing. The key is to divide and manage content based on how the function of each — websites and social media sites — support your marketing goals.
First and foremost, it is important to know where to include certain information on your sites and when this information needs to be restructured. There should be a clear distinction of content for your company’s website and for your social media accounts.
Your website should always include the most important and concrete information about your business — essential details that are the most important for people to know about your business. Usually this means details that are not often updated, but that by no means should deter you from finding ways to keep site content current over time.
On the other hand, social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, should be updated regularly.
In order to determine how to divide up material properly, you must first define and recognize
Websites: Getting To Know You
Customers, both new and current, probably will view your website initially to gain basic facts about your company, such as contact information. Such basic “getting-to-know-you” information should always be accessible on your site.
Your website also should include specific information about your products or services. This can include pictures, descriptions, pricing, and even testimonials from previous customers. Keep in mind that potential patrons want to see what your product or service can do for them. By providing pictures of specific products, descriptions of services you provide, or feedback from satisfied customers, viewers will have the information they need to make an accurate judgment of the quality of work your business provides.
Finally, your website should include (if it fits your business model) a way to purchase products or order services.
Social Media: Create A Community
Your business’ social media accounts should be managed differently. Although both your main website and channels such as Twitter enhance and market your brand, social media is best used for creating a community around your business. Your two main objectives should be: to build relationships with customers (both current and potential consumers); and to give customers a platform for their voices. Social media will help you to show the “human” side of your business, using tweets and posts as new updates on Facebook, for example. It shows your visitors that you are easy to relate to and an approachable resource for their needs.
As far as content, not every Facebook update or tweet has to be strictly about products and services. Are you showcasing at an upcoming home show? Post a Facebook update about it. Tweet about interesting things you have seen or done while in a new city. Share pictures or video on Facebook from a trade show. Or, post tutorials, questions and polls for fans, as learning tools about your industry. And always let visitors comment with their feedback. These sorts of posts bring a conversational tone to the page, so your visitors feel as if you care about what they have to say.
Social media outlets also provide people with a place to communicate and interact with others who have similar interests. All of this is great for building brand recognition as a small business, but you can also use these channels for direct marketing. If you use Facebook specifically for customer management and community building, then perhaps consider Twitter as a promotional tool that you post special discounts or deals to. Connect the two pages, and you have both areas covered.
Managing Content During Mergers
Another common issue is how to adjust your website when acquiring new businesses or expanding your current business. If your company obtains a separate entity with different products or services, you could be concerned about merging the third party’s existing website with your own. Start by defining the goal of the newly merged business. What is the purpose of these new products or services, and who is going to buy them? From here you can evaluate the content needed from each site.
Take the vital information from the external site and integrate it into your existing one. If the business you acquire has completely different products or services for instance, you may want to simply make a new “tab,” or page, for these on your website. If not, you may be able to integrate the new products into already existing pages and packages. However you plan on selling your new goods or services (together or separate) should mirror how you market them on your website.
Finally, be sure to redirect visitors to the new updated site, especially if you changed the Web address. Old customers will still go to the original site out of habit and should be informed of the changed address while getting redirected. On the previously owned business site, remove information and include a note and link that explains what happened and where visitors can now find information.
Having a website and social media accounts for your business are extremely important, but irrelevant if they are not used properly. Your online presence in this consumer culture can really impact your business’s reputation. If you follow these suggestions and always keep website information updated, professional and creative, your business will increase its visibility and be on its way to success.
Articles by Lauren Whitson
Recipe For An Effective Social Media Mix
Online Content: Divide And Conquer For Success
To manage your online presence, first define and recognize how each platform discretely supports your marketing goals. Then develop content appropriate to each channel