Making the Most of Social Media11 October 2011 Online Innovations
What is Web 2.0? Wikipedia explains Web 2.0 as:
“The term associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centred design and collaboration on the internet. A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of content that was created for them. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, hosted services and web applications.”
These social platforms have in essence, provided the community with a surplus of new and exciting opportunities that is perceived to be low cost. They are generally free and if not, come at a far more affordable price to the traditional above-the-line marketing activities from before. However, the underlying costs of a social networking strategy can be considerable and easily understated.
Consider what it is going to cost your business in revenue lost over the long term if managed incorrectly or ignored altogether? Also consider the brand message you are projecting if:
- you are not making use of the social platforms but your competition is;
- your message is aimless and vague;
- your website is outdated;
- and your website ranks poorly over your competitors.
A Full Time Job
In most large organisations, the web strategy is managed by either the marketing or IT department. This tends to lead to the departments conflicting, with the web strategy becoming the victim of budget constraints.
In reality, the strategy is not particularly suited to either group. The IT department may be excellent at understanding the technical requirements and limitations of a system, but it is by no means is suited to developing a friendly user experience or establishing or complementing the brand.
In these times when prudence is the order of the day, you may find it hard to justify establishing a new cost centre. The fact is that a successful web campaign is a full time job and the need for a dedicated webmaster is almost imperative to your brand.
Get the Right Advice
A web strategy and correct use of the social platforms needs considerable research, technical understanding and more often than not, access to your website’s source code. Make sure that your service provider doesn’t fall short of the mark here and doesn’t suggest and implement solutions which are within their own limitations and not necessarily the right solution for you. Know what you want and get the right advice from professionals.
Own your Content and Traffic
It’s easy to forget that not everybody uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks. Even if your visitor does subscribe to any or many of these services – it’s important to consider how much time they spend using them.
If you commit to a particular social media website, you may spend days, months or even years loading content to it - and then a better site comes along. What do you do?
How do you decide which social networking site to join? Do you join several and repeat the work?
So, rather than putting all your data on someone else's website, you should put your own data on your own website and use the social platforms to drive traffic to your site. This way you will own your content and still get the value of social media.
Getting it Right
The cost of an effective web strategy, direct and indirect, lies in the management and administration thereof.
Like pretty much everything - money spent creating it right the first time translates into massive savings and value benefits in the long run.