Your Website: The Cornerstone of Your Social Media Campaign

When I work with small business social media campaigns, I’m often surprised to hear that the manager or owner has such clear focus of what they want to achieve from a social standpoint, but has little concern with their website in the overall plan. It seems that while many small businesses undoubtedly understand the need for social to reach out to their audience, they don’t realize that their website is one of the main tools used in creating an effective social campaign.

Social media is a relatively new component (historically speaking) in marketing. As the resident new-and-shiny-thing, it garners a lot of attention and glory to the small business looking to reach out to new markets. But what many seem to forget in their enthusiasm to take on a new outreach program, is the main purpose for social media: to build an audience that you can interact with.

For the small business, social media is not the end of the communication with your customer or prospect, it is the beginning.

Social media channels are a way for you to make new connections with your customers and prospects and build a familiar brand reputation. It allows them a window into your company, a convenient place to talk to you and a way to inspire confidence in a brand they can trust.

But social media works in small chunks... 140 characters here, a few sentences with a photo there, maybe something funny once in a while. Social media is an introduction to your small business in a platform that is centered around the audience. It is not the full picture of who you are, what you do or all the ways you can help your customer. In fact, if you try to “sell” too much on social media, you will often lose the interest of the audience whom you worked so hard to connect with in the first place. Social media is all about them.

Your website, on the other hand, is the cornerstone of your business online. It is the one place where you are allowed shameless self-promotion and no one will fault you for being too focused on yourself. Your website is where you can provide your full story, your sales pitch, your products and services and all that you want your customers and prospects to know about your small business.

Your website is the place you want your social media audience to come to so that they can build a deeper connection to your business.

Ignoring your website when you plan your social campaign not only misses using one of the best marketing tools available for your small business, it can cause inherent problems in achieving your social results. A site that is not optimized to work with the social campaign may not be able to track the social results, limiting your ability to measure social campaign effectiveness. A site that is not integrated with the social campaign messaging will not help lead the prospect down the marketing funnel. A site that is not optimized for social audience outreach will not help you collect or manage leads effectively. A site not optimized for mobile will not drive leads coming from mobile platforms.

Social media campaigns cost money and TIME, one of the most valuable commodities to the small business owner or manager. Before you invest your limited resources in a social campaign, you need to step back and evaluate your website presence to ensure that it will work for your campaign purposes and meet your goals.

Your website doesn’t necessarily need a full redesign to start using social media effectively, but it does need an evaluation to determine if the function, presentation and the content will be effective in deepening the relationship with the social visitor. Before you invest in social, invest time in evaluating your website as part of the overall plan.

If your online marketing expertise is limited, this is the place to consider a consultation with a professional who can point out areas of concern and help you determine an effective path to reach your goals with your budget in mind. In the long run, it will provide a more effective overall campaign, and a better investment of time and dollars for your small business.