Or does it like to get around, play the field and make sweet love to various types of social media?
If you want your website to pull it’s weight by attracting new clients, building your email list and selling your stuff, you need to make sure it is showing up and pouring on the charm in all the right places… like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, to name the top few.
In other, less metaphorical language, your website or blog should be seamlessly integrated with social media. That is, as long as you are active on social media. Which you are, aren’t you?
Please do not tell me that you are still poo-pooing Twitter and thinking Facebook is a “just a phase.” Wake up and smell reality! Social media is now (and will continue to be for a good long time) one of the most powerful tools you have to attract new business, build relationships of trust, create a community of fans and drive ideal clients to your website. It is no longer an option; it is essential to any smart, creative entrepreneur’s marketing strategy.
So, first, if you don’t have a social media strategy, get one. GET ONE! Now. Today. You don’t have to learn how to use every social media platform all at once. In fact, I recommend you focus only on one social media platform at a time, like Facebook, until you get savvy with the culture and best practices. Then, once you’re completely comfortable with Facebook, try on Twitter or LinkedIn… whichever serves your business best.
Either way, you need to make sure your website and social media are working together and mutually supporting each other. For instance:
On Facebook & Twitter:
If you have a Profile on Facebook that you use primarily to connect with friends, family and others outside of your work life, you need to make a decision. Do you want to market your business via your Profile (which has some limitations) or do you want to keep your Profile personal and then create a Business Page to represent your business? There are pros and cons to both, depending on your business, and this is another reason why it’s important to have an overall social media strategy.
When I first started out on Facebook and Twitter, it was an experiment. I dove in mostly for the fun of it. I connected with friends and folks who had the same interests (Internet marketing, entrepreneurship, and music). And I was pretty transparent with what I posted… maybe, at times, too transparent.
But when I realized what a powerful marketing tool both Facebook and Twitter could be, I changed my strategy. I decided that while I would always be me and share aspects of both my personal and professional life, I needed to also be aware that I’m representing my business.
If you are going to use social media to build your business and attract fans, you need to decide what you’re going to share, who you want to connect with and how you will use your social media activity to drive people to your website.
Yes, of course, you can still have fun interacting with friends and fans by posting pictures, sharing quotes, status updates and videos. You always want to be a real person on social media, not just a talking head for your business. But be sure to also regularly include status updates and posts that link back to your website.
If you have an active blog, a great way to drive traffic to your website is to post links to your recent blog posts… or even old ones! I’ve been seeing more and more of this lately where hot-shot Internet gurus are posting links to blog posts they’ve written months and months ago. The content is still up-to-date and valuable, so why not?
But be careful not to overdo this. If you are excessive about posting links to old blog posts, it can easily start to be perceived as overly self-promotional, and that’s a dangerous edge to walk in social media. You don’t want to become a blaring megaphone that is always shouting “Go read my stuff! Go to my website! Opt-in for my free offer!” or you will turn people off.
Remember, social media is about conversation, interaction, and engagement… not displaying billboards for your business. At the same time, you do want to regularly invite people to partake of what you have to offer, in the spirit of serving them.
I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn and I don’t pretend to be an expert at using it. I do know it’s a great platform for those who want to keep their social networking strictly business-oriented and make profitable business connections.
It’s also a great platform for sharing your expertise and finding business organizations that may be helpful to you. And you certainly won’t find videos of singing dogs or clips of The Carol Burnett Show or photo albums of your friends’ last trip to Tahiti. Though you may find a political rant every now and then.
If you’re producing videos in your business, create your own channel on YouTube and upload those videos! Include the link to your website as well as your marketing message on your Channel page. For each video you post to YouTube, make sure to include the link to your website in the description of each video as well as IN the video itself. You can even include an invitation to go to your website to download your free ethical bribe.
Make it easy for people to get more of you!
If your business is very photogenic, meaning, there are a lot of visual aspects to what you do (like visual art, graphic design, photography or even performing art), you should consider using Flickr as yet another way to drive traffic to your website. As with YouTube, make sure your photos descriptions include your website url. Tag your photos with your business name. Invite people to take advantage of your ethical bribe on your website.
As one of my mentors used to say, all signs point to your blog or website. And the more signs you have out there pointing in that direction, the better. (Which is why Article Marketing is such a great traffic-builder, but we’ll save that for another blog post).
And Vice Versa…
So, now that you’re up to speed about how to use social media to drive traffic to your website, let’s make sure your website is inviting people to join you on social media.
On every page of your website, be sure to have obvious graphic and/or text links to your social media pages. (You can see an example in the top right-hand column of this blog.) Include some inviting but short copy, like “Let’s Connect!” or “Join the Party!”or “Let’s Make Out on Social Media!” Okay, I was kidding with that last one, but you get the idea.
Actually, these days, if you just display the graphic icons for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, you’ve got the job done. Most people know what those icons stand for and they know what you are asking them to do.
BUT… it’s still a good idea to give people one or two really good reasons why they should hook up with you on social media. What’s in it for them? What will they get if they “like” your Facebook Page? What’s going to happen if they follow you on Twitter? Give them a compelling reason to do so.
You don’t have to do this wherever the social media icons appear, but you can include that kind of invitation at the end of blog posts or on your Contact page. Even your About or Bio page.
While you can do a lot of direct marketing and community building on social media without ever linking to your website, why wouldn’t you want to lead people to the one place online where you have total control over the message, visual impact and mood? Every thing on your website is about you, your business, what you have to offer and how you serve others. You don’t have to compete with Facebook ads, other people’s posts, that cute video of the cat nuzzling the dolphin, American Idol results or the celebrity gossip on Twitter.
But again, you need to have an overall social media strategy to get good results from your social media activity. Otherwise, you not only can waste a huge amount of time tweeting, posting and trying to keep up with what others are doing, but you won’t be effective in building a following, engaging your ideal clients and creating relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Let’s work on a social media strategy for your creative business, one that allows you to focus on the aspects you enjoy and makes the best use of your time and creative energy.
Lots of love,