A Modern Article

Open the Castle Gates: How should I integrate my website with Facebook and social media?

I love using Facebook. Are you on Facebook? If so, let’s get to know each other.

Facebook recently made changes that allow Facebook Pages (a feature used by businesses and other organizations) to behave more like a website. This is a terrific change.

Facebook is telling us all: “We’d like show potential customers more of your content on our website.” Wonderful. Now we can really build a connection between our websites and Facebook pages. To find out why, keep reading.

What is a website good at?

In 2011, Forbes published an article titled Now Every Company Is A Software Company. Software is changing the way we work. You are now a software company. We all are. Websites are a huge part of that software package.

While a website used to be a good way to put a virtual business card or brochure online, you’re wasting your time if you focus on that in 2012.

Today, your website is part of your organization’s software library. Your website still has to promote what you do and inform visitors about you, but it also should be collecting information about your customers, allowing visitors to become your best salespeople, and acting as a virtual treasure trove for visitors.

A website should be able to do the following:

  • Store all of your organization’s public articles, imagery, videos, etc.
  • Display those media in ways that help you help your customers
  • Act as an application and offer instant interactivity and customized views of your content
  • Allow you to set goals, track goals, and watch as your visitors respond to changes on your website
  • Give you an instant voice on any topic, in any style, using any media, under your own brand
  • Allow you to work with any social media software that comes along.

…and much, much more.

Your website is your digital property. You can (and should) do things with that property that you cannot do anywhere else on the Internet.

What about all of those social media sites?

Twitter, Facebook, where is it all going?

“Things don’t replace things, they just splinter.”

NYT Technology columnist David Pogue wrote the quote above, referring to his 10 years of experience working the technology beat.

He continued:

TV was supposed to kill radio. The DVD was supposed to kill the Cineplex. Instant coffee was supposed to replace fresh-brewed.

But here’s the thing: it never happens. You want to know what the future holds? O.K., here you go: there will be both iPhones and Android phones. There will be both satellite radio and AM/FM. There will be both printed books and e-books. Things don’t replace things; they just add on.

David is absolutely right. This is why your website is so crucial. There will be a sea of social media technologies, never one that is king for long.

Your organization has have a spot on the web of its own. Your website should be able to work with any social media application that comes along, without having to treat it as a permanent fixture.

The current social media trend is industry-specific. Do your customers knit? You’d better integrate with Ravelry. Are you in the food or beverage industry? Better be on the lookout—there are many fantastic social networks in that space.

Back to Facebook

I’ll be writing more introduction-length content on my Facebook page. You should, too. Then link it to more information on your website for the full experience. Watch those Facebook visits come in via your website visitor statistics (watch your Facebook statistics, too). Then repeat on other social media networks or online communities. Compare and see how you get the most interaction.

Remember, technology will keep splintering. Use your web space as your brand’s territory and software package. Put your content out there—make it available as a virtual treasure trove. Update it often. Work with existing social networks, and be on the lookout for new ones.

So I can’t just have an online brochure and simple news feed?

I really wish that approach worked well, but no. Brochure websites are generally a waste of time and money. The same is true of Facebook Pages that consist of you, talking about you.

Shocked? I hope not. The web is a customer service medium—not a forced marketing seminar.

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Photo of Marc Carson