You’ve probably seen the stats. Companies are getting more traffic on their Facebook pages than their home pages. And consumers want information from brands via social media rather than corporate websites. So is the company website dead? We asked two experts in the field for their personal opinions.
Arjan van Liere
Director Online strategy agency Present Media
Communication manager online media
|Social media is great for interacting with your customers. But companies will always need somewhere online where they control the message. A place where customers know the information is reliable. Your own website.Websites used to be mainly about PR and pushed information. Now they are critical to primary business processes.You have to use a website and social media in harmony. We talk about a circle model. The inner circle is your site; you have complete control. The next circle contains third-party sites like Kelkoo that let consumers publish their opinions about you within certain limitations. Finally there are completely open spaces such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube where people can say what they like.
Its important is to use all three rings. How depends on the customer you want to reach. Ask yourself how and why they use the web. What is your relationship with them?
If it is about visibility, social media plays the biggest role and your site is just a reference point. If the focus is on closing the deal and client services, your site becomes more important. And if you want the consumer to promote your brand; open media is the key channel.
The website isn’t dead, but organizations need to use all the online possibilities – including social – to achieve their business objectives.
|I can certainly see a world where Facebook is the internet. People would never need to leave it: they could find information and do all their shopping through it.We’re all familiar with social media as a channel for communicating with customers. I believe it is possible to do business via social media too. Facebook already has credits for making purchases from certain vendors. We could eventually see any number of “shops” on Facebook.This could appeal to small companies especially. If you don’t have huge web resources and someone has already created a place people are using, why redesign the wheel?
But Facebook’s rules on data could cause privacy issues when it comes to customer data. So companies with more resources and bigger reputations may want to keep their own web sites. But they will need to attract people through social media, and make their site portals look and feel like their customers’ favourite social media platforms. Visitors shouldn’t notice the difference.
Social media has shown companies that the internet isn’t just about them. It’s about the customer. If all your customers live in the city, would you build your store in the countryside? No you go to where they are. It’s the same online. If all the consumers are on Facebook, you’ll provide better service if you go to them. And great service is how you win customers.