Yesterday morning, I typed the question in the subject line into Google.
I got a mish-mash of results, some of which – like this post from New Media and Marketing – were quite insightful, while others … well, not so much. The gist I got is that this is a phenomenon of concern for brands, and corroborates thoughts I expressed in a previous post. But I didn’t feel like I found concrete evidence regarding why this is happening.
That led to today’s exercise, which is a dual-post effort with my friend Phil Gerbyshak. Here at Branding Bricks, I’m going to discuss why it appears some brands are trending in this direction, i.e., orchestrating a pristine social media experience, but allowing their website, or in the case of some brands, a family of websites, to languish. Phil is posting on his blog about the implications, i.e., what will happen if a brand neglects its website in deference to social media.
So why is this happening? Four thoughts immediately come to mind:
- Cost. According to this Zoomerang report based on a survey it conducted of about 750 small- to medium-sized businesses, "the growth of social media could be linked to more than half the businesses surveyed having a marketing budget of $1,000 or less." That means social media is a cost-effective marketing tool, allowing a brand – especially a new brand – to make an impact with target audiences. It’s more costly in terms of budget and time to develop, launch and maintain a website.
- Competition. It can be very tempting for a brand to see its key competitor launch a coordinated social media campaign with a multi-channel presence, and feel behind in the game. "We have to be there too!" should never be the primary reason for entering social media, but it’s also not a reason to divert website-dedicated resources, both human and monetary, to social media.
- Channel infatuation. Ragan’s PR Daily Europe posted earlier today about five questions brands should ask before entering social media, using the moniker ShinyNewSocialWidget.com to refer to the latest channel that everyone is talking about (e.g., Pinterest). I had to laugh at that, but focusing on the channel isn’t nearly as important as the result, or where users finally land and how they experience the brand there.
- Content strategy. Engagement in social media is crucial, of course, But lack of a unique content strategy that uses social media channels to drive engaged target audience members to a central hub, like a website where they can find rich content and a better understanding of a brand’s attributes, falls short.
I’ll also add that at the end of the day, many users who have no interest in social media (like my dad, for instance) use a search engine to find a brand, which justifies SEO costs, among other things. What brand experience are they having when they arrive?
Phil and I are going to follow up today’s posts next Saturday with ways a brand it can effectively utilize all availalbe channels, including its website, or its a family of websites.
Meanwhile, tell us about what you’re seeing. Are brands neglecting their websites for social media channels, or perhaps other initiatives? Feel free to post here or at Phil’s blog, and we’ll respond.
(Image credit to CaseDetails.com.)