When is it OK to send people AWAY from your website?

June 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

SM icons by pniebrzydowskiThe purpose of most marketing efforts these days is to drive traffic to your website. So when I mentioned to someone the other day that I prominently post links to my social sites on my website, I shouldn’t have been surprised by his reaction. He pointed out that by posting those links I was encouraging people to leave my website. And he’s right. But I have my reasons.

First of all, I’m a communications consultant helping businesses adopt social media tools and emerging methods of communication. Consequently, my philosophy needs to be reflected on my website. I want people to be able see how I use social channels to connect on different levels with different audiences.

But what if you’re not in the social media business? What have you got to prove by sending visitors to your social sites? What can potential customers find on your social sites that they can’t find on your website?

Pondering those questions made me realize something. The website isn’t necessarily the ultimate destination anymore. It’s one of many destinations. The journey is no longer sequential. Your social sites and your website work together to keep your visitors engaged.

Displaying your social sites on your website sends a message

A business that uses social media and displays links to its social sites on its website is sending a message that says something like this: “In addition to everything you see on my website (which, hopefully, is valuable to your visitors), I’m also making it easy for you to listen to my conversations, ask me questions and see who I hang out with.”

Or, maybe this: “Here is where you can find everything about the company and our products and services. Also feel welcome to join us on our social sites and find out who we are as human beings. We’re looking forward to talking with you.”

Additionally, they may be sending this message: “Our company is forward-thinking. We recognize the value – and the power – of our customers, and we want to get to know you better and let you know us better.”

Conversely, a business that doesn’t display links to their social sites might be sending a message like this: “We refuse to accept the fact that our customers have a voice. If we don’t hear you, then we don’t have to listen to you.”

Or, maybe this: “All the information you need to make a buying decision is on our website. We only want to hear from you if you’re ready to buy. Nothing else you have to say matters.”

Displaying your social sites on your website sends visitors away

Sending visitors away has more to do with what’s NOT on your site than what IS on your site. If your site is boring, your visitor’s next move might be to your competitor’s site. If your site is interesting they’ll stay and learn and interact and maybe even buy. THEN, they’ll go to your social sites and spend even more time with you. Even if your site is boring but you have links to your social sites, there’s less chance that you’ll be sending your visitors to your competitors.

Social media is not just changing the way we communicate. It’s changing the way we do business. Traditional website theory might have stressed the importance of keeping visitors on your site. But emerging methods are giving you more options and ways to not just hold people’s interest, but engage them and increase their chances of coming back to your sites . . . your social sites and your website.

photo by pniebrzydowski


Entry filed under: Social Media, websites. Tags: , .

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