Up until as recently as five to seven years ago, a company could pretty much rely on their website for the majority, or even all, of their presence online. Now, that is hardly the case. The explosion of social and business media is phenomenal. Nowadays, a company needs to have an active presence across several channels of online content: a website, a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page, as well as several other sites, depending upon the business’s area of expertise or content.
Your customers need to find and see your business online, and that is increasingly happening on social and business media. Customers will still go to your company’s website, and a website is still a key part of your company’s online infrastructure, but before they do that, you need to go where they reside on the web. That is increasingly on social and business media sites.
The most popular site of course is Facebook. Once your company’s website is up and running, the next logical step is to construct a Facebook page for your company and stock it with useful, relevant information, as a good adjunct to your company’s website. Have your web marketer keep it updated regularly with fresh and informative content about what is going on with your company. Post and promote daily or weekly specials or offers to customers there. View it as a sort of online “sales flyer” for your business. Millions of people engage with one another daily on Facebook; make sure your business content and information there gets updated on a regular basis to keep your customers and clients engaged with your business. Facebook is also a great place to post pictures and video of your business, your employees and your company’s events. This will show your company as an active, valuable and dynamic organization.
Next up would be a Twitter account. For years I wrote off Twitter as little more than a passing novelty that would go the way of MySpace eventually. I happily admit to having been wrong on this. Twitter is now a popular and growing means of “microblogging” with your current and potential customers and clients. Twitter is a great way to communicate with your audience daily, in short messages to promote a daily special, or something coming up in the next day or two at your business. Because you are limited to 280 characters, Twitter by its very nature is meant for short, punchy messages people can read, oftentimes on their mobile devices. It is an excellent way for your customers to provide feedback on your business as well.
Finally there is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is like a business version of Facebook, where you can message and network with coworkers, corporate managers, community leaders and others. LinkedIn is a great place to share business ideas, your latest business news and events, links to business articles you find useful, and other work/career-related content. LinkedIn is also a great place to find out what business and community leaders in your area are doing and thinking.
There are many other business and social media channels available on the Internet, but the three listed above are the most visible ones.
In summary, your website is only one part of your business’s online presence. Think of your website as your business’s “home base” on the Internet, with all the social and business media channels as arms going off of that home base. Then you will have a good idea of how your business needs to be present across the web, and not just on a website.