By Marcy Mitchell

With the recent explosion of social media, many companies and professionals are asking about the role of their website. In fact, some people wonder if they can just put up a Facebook page or use a social media page in place of a website. As with most marketing decisions, you should first consider three things…your brand, your audience, and search engine optimization.

If you simply want a little online presence, then maybe that is enough. But, will your customers be researching more than just your name? You need to evaluate if a social media page can truly communicate your “brand” and your “benefits”. According to a recent article on MediaPost.com, “…more than 40% of customers now say they will not buy a brand if they can’t find the right information about it online.” So, if someone researches your company on a search engine, does the social media page really tell the full benefits as to why they would like to do business with you? Furthermore, the article suggests that “…online research by consumers also influences the purchase decisions for everyday products like shampoo and fast foods, where over 20% of customers say they will not touch a brand without first seeing the required online information about it.” Can a one-page social media site or page give your customers all the required online information?

Secondly, if your audience consists of a majority of people who have not yet embraced the social media age, then you will be missing out. The most active members of Facebook are between the ages of 18-35. Those are based on national statistics. However, does that reflect your audience? Many of the business owners I work with are in small markets in Colorado. You have to survey your customers to find out if they get the majority of their information through Facebook or Twitter. Many people 40+ year-olds may check their Facebook page occassionally, but do not do significant research into companies through Facebook. I believe a company should get a Facebook page and get involved with social media, but they need to continue with website marketing and Email marketing to touch the full range of their customer base.

Third, you need to consider search engine optimization. A website with a blog can rank high for a number of both quality keywords and long-tail keywords, but a single page on a social media site cannot do this. In addition, your blog articles are an integral part of a social media strategy and will drive traffic back to your website/blog. Social media and SEO go hand in hand when used strategically to gain a larger audience and better ranking. Most of my website clients still get the highest amount of traffic from organic search. In fact, they often get 10x more traffic from organic search than from their social media pages.

Owner Marcy Mitchell coaches business owners in the Four Corners area of Colorado about Internet marketing, social media and website development. She has been developing websites for the past 15 years as well as blogs and social media pages. For a free consultation, call 970-731-6325.