June 14, 2010

With the rise of the social web, it’s becoming more important to make it easy for your target audience to find you through social networking websites.

In the past, it was enough to have a brochure website, ensure it was visible in Google, and send out the occasional email newsletter to your customers to tell them about a special promotion you were running.

But this approach isn’t really working any more, especially if your target audience is under the age of 30.

For most web users under the age of 30, the first thing they log into each day isn’t their email, it’s Facebook. The first website they visit isn’t Google or Yahoo or even Trademe, it’s Facebook. When they get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, they check Facebook – maybe on their phone. You get the picture…

If this sounds far-fetched, here are some numbers:

There are now more than 400 million active Facebook users. ‘Active’ means they use it regularly.

50% of active users log in every day.

OK, so how do you get your website into the social networks so it’s visible to all of these people? They don’t check their email much, and tend to change their email address all the time anyway.

  • You could start by creating a Facebook page for your business. But what are you going to put on it? who’s going to keep updating it? And why would people want to visit it?
  • You could also create a Twitter account. But how are you going to get followers? And what are you going to tweet about?
  • You could put links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts on your website. But why would someone want to visit those if they’re already browsing your website?

We seem to be missing the point of social networks here… if you think pushing out a one-way stream of content is an effective use of social media, you’re wasting your time.

Social networks exist because people like to interact with each other.

If you want to penetrate the social networks with your messages, you need to give people a reason to follow you, share your content for you, and interact with you.

So how do we do this?

  • Offer your followers and fans an incentive – e.g. a prize draw, exclusive offers, a free e-book, whatever you think will work for your target audience and get them on board.
  • Enable your website content to be shared by placing Facebook and Twitter sharing links on every page and article on your website, so when someone shares or tweets your page, all of their friends or followers will be notified with a link to your website.
  • And make it easy for people to interact with your content by asking questions in your social media updates, e.g. ‘Do you like our new website?’ is quite a hard question to answer but ‘Do you like our new website more than our old one?’ is easy to answer. It just takes a Yes or No.

If you want to see some of these social media techniques in action, check out the following sites we’ve worked on lately:

If you’re keen to find out more about how a well-planned social media strategy can increase the effectiveness of your online marketing, make sure you come along to one of our workshops. We hold them every second Friday at 7.15am and places are limited.

Contact us today to register your interest.