Social media is a great tool but should only be used as an add on to your main web site.
I am very surprised to see the number of people who rely solely on social media for their online presence. I guess this should not surprise me since it is a very easy and effective way to communicate with customers. There are some inherent dangers in relying on this. With how quickly things come and go in the computer world, companies should not rely on social networks only as their online presence. Right now if you are on Facebook you should be aware that there is a lot of buzz about "Facebook Fatigue". As this sets in and people are moving to other sites, the time and effort you have placed into social media sites will be insufficient to sustain your online presence. Let's review the trends that came and went ...Friendster... Myspace... Facebook... Google+. Facebook is currently on the way out according to many recent articles. Who can tell what the future will bring? Social media is undoubtedly here to stay, but specific sites will come and go. When they do, it should not affect your online identity. You should be in control of your online destiny.
Here are some valid reasons as to why you should have control and not rely on social media for your online presence and sole communication to your customers.
- Control - Social media sites have all the control. They can change the game at any time. As we have seen over the last year, Facebook has gone through several iterations of it user interface. The changes could have an adverse affect on your ability to communicate with your customers. These changes can be untimely and demand your attention to mitigate on your side, taking your time away from other demands of your business.
- Outages - Social media networks are subject to outages & overloads...enough said.
- Security - Social media networks are targets for hackers, and they do get into accounts and post messages. This could adversely affect your image to the community and you might have liability for the items posted under you business name.
- Identity - Overall, you need your own professionally built website to add credibility to your company. I know that personally, I always check out a business's web site for legitimacy. I use this as a measure of whether or not I can take their business seriously. Your site should demonstrate that you are professional & legitimate.
- First Impressions - People go to the internet to do the majority of their research for purchases. This is your chance to make a great first impression and capture that customer. The internet is a level playing field, so you can easily compete with larger corporations.
- Search Engine Optimization - SEO efforts, implemented properly, can yield significant traffic to your site. Your web site should be the centerpiece of this effort. Although many people use social media, there are still a significant number of people who do not; they rely on searching the web. Don't miss these customers.
I believe that Social Media is a very important aspect of your online presence. However, it should be an augmentation to your site and your channel marketing. As one social media site dies in popularity and is replaced with another, you should easily be able to switch without affecting your visibility and brand. Efforts in search engine optimization should be focused on your personal web site. Those efforts should demonstrate authority & longevity in your specific expertise, but that discussion is for another time. Everyone likes to buy but nobody likes to be sold.