Would Your Business Disappear If Twitter And Facebook Did?

Social media marketing has become the central component of online marketing for many businesses. Online marketing can mean many things – websites, blogs, forum participation, email marketing, and much more – yet a lot of businesses, especially small ones, have put increasing focus on just one aspect: Social media, and Twitter and Facebook in particular. Is this approach a good one? It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad approach, but too many businesses are missing the point, and they’re putting too much stock into just one marketing strategy.

Making Online Marketing Work for You
Many businesses have found great success with converting fans and followers into customers. Offer a few coupons and discounts, post valuable content, have meaningful conversation with your audience, and they see a great deal of their leads and website traffic coming directly from Facebook or Twitter. That’s great! But what about other methods of online marketing? If you aren’t aggressive with them, too, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to build a strong online foundation.
Getting Back on Home Turf
Here’s the problem: Your Facebook and Twitter profiles aren’t really yours. Either company could delete them at any moment, and you would have no way of getting back everything you built there. You don’t own your profiles. You need to concentrate on getting people to your home turf – your website, blog, or eCommerce site – because that’s where you’re really in control.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Don’t be naïve and think, “This is ridiculous! Facebook and Twitter aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.” Maybe that is so, but it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. There is a lot of scrutiny toward both sites from users, mostly because of an increased emphasis on advertising. As Facebook and Twitter work to monetize as much as possible and make advertisers happy, they’re neglecting the people themselves, and that’s never a good sign for any business. New social networks – like App.net and others – are cropping up, offering a more customer-oriented approach to social networking and hoping to become real competitors in the game. Perhaps Facebook and Twitter remain, but all your fans jump ship to a new network. It’s the same result – starting over.
Converting Fans into Customers
If your business relies too heavily on social media, it’s time to make a change. You need to do two things: Adjust your social media strategy, and expand your online marketing efforts. On Facebook and Twitter, concentrate on improving your conversion rate and lowering your bounce rate. Experiment with different types of content, and put more of the “good stuff” on your actual website. Consider providing a place for open discussion, like a forum, on your website, and encourage fans to contact you there, too. Increase your efforts to collect personal information from your fans and get them to subscribe to your email list (you do have an email list, right?). If you lose Facebook or Twitter, you could lose contact with all of your fans, too, if you don’t collect their information. Offer a coupon, contest, or whatever it takes.
Remember this important tidbit: Email marketing is still the most effective form of online marketing, more effective than Facebook or Twitter. Getting your fans and followers to join your email list is a key takeaway from social media. “Never put all your eggs in one basket” is a piece of advice that applies to online marketing, especially when those eggs are controlled by third-party sites that you have no control over. Facebook and Twitter may seem strong, alive, and well, but large companies are often good at hiding their cracks until they’ve crumbled completely.
Josephine Rey writes about social marketing for SEOMap, you can read more of her work here. Or by visiting www.seomap.com.