I’ve been recently trying to encourage a client to incorporate social media channels into their advertising efforts. Their fears are the same I hear with all clients new to social media: they will lose brand control, there will be haters who post negative things, they don’t have the resources to do it, they need approval from someone else to do it, etc. But the real root of these fears is the fear of the unknown. They don’t understand the way this “New Web” works, and they’re afraid of it.
The way it was
The “Old Web” was a passive library of static information sitting on a URL waiting to be found and read. To add content to the Web in the old days required knowledge of HTML. Your goal was to “get people to your website” and then make them stay as long as possible. There were a lot of expensive techniques we used to get people to find your website. Your website cost a lot of money, and you paid hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly to companies to do “search engine optimization” so that you could be found on the Web. Visitors had no way share what they read, unless it was by forwarding a link to someone in an email.
Good news. Those days are long gone and will never be back.
The way it is
The “New Web” is the web you see when you go online right now. It’s full of interactive blogs. it’s got Facebook, it’s got Twitter. It’s all googled immediately, thoroughly, and with pictures. Much of the content on today’s web is actually conversations between people. It grows and expands organically through connections.
Your website isn’t the only home for your brand anymore, whether you like it or not.
Your brand doesn’t live exclusively on your website anymore. It lives all over the Web, all over the world, wherever people are talking with each other. With the boom in blogging technology, social media tools, and smart phones, now people can say anything anywhere, about anything, without an iota of technical skill required. They can post on Facebook, on Twitter, on Yelp, on their own blogs, on the blogs of others, or in a million other places. But even though you can’t control what people say, you still have control over how you respond.
People are free to love you or hate you as they always did, but now they have the power to tell whole world about their experiences with you. What they say about your company is determined by how good your product is, and how good your service is. If you’ve got something fundamentally wrong with your company, they will tell you. If you listen and fix what’s wrong, you’ll win a loyal following and create a stronger brand.
It’s scary realizing you don’t have control of your brand. You can’t control the spread of information and the flow of conversation. So you really have only 2 choices left:
- Let it happen without you, or
- Make it happen with you. Join in the conversation. Create a Facebook page, get a Twitter account, brand it like your website so it all looks cohesive, and create a venue where you can connect to your customers directly.
Your website isn’t the only home for your content, either.
The information from your website doesn’t exist solely on your website anymore. Now, the same exact content can be viewed any number of places. With a WordPress-based website, you can simultaneously publish that content to your accounts on Twitter, Facebook, to your subscribers’ news readers or email boxes, with no additional work, technical skill, money, or effort. You can also add plugins to your website to facilitate visitors sharing your content with their own networks of contacts.
Free high-traffic advertising and web space for your very own content? People who like what you’ve said, and telling others about it? Pretty amazing! Remember how much we would’ve paid for that in the days of the Old Web?
I’ll leave you now with a couple of good articles I’ve run across lately in my quest to help clients get over their fears. They’re great reading, and I think will help the fearful to be a little less nervous about welcoming social media into their business strategy.
- The Top Six Reasons Companies are Still Scared of Social Media
- Top 4 Reasons Why Companies Are Scared of Social Media
- Are Local Business Owners Scared of Social Networking?
- Afraid of Social Media? Excuse 1: Lack of Control
- Afraid of Social Media? Excuse 2: No One To Monitor
- Afraid of Social Media? Excuse 3: We Do Not Have The Budget
- Afraid of Social Media? Excuse 4: Corporate Red Tape
- Afraid of Social Media? Excuse 5: Why We Aren’t Blogging
To quote one blogger, “The main thing I want you to take away from this article is that social media marketing is just a new twist on an old tactic. It’s not scary, and it’s not very different from many of the other forms of online marketing you’re probably already using.”