The New Company Website

Chapter three of Socialnomics was a perfectly-timed read for me this week. In this chapter Erik Qualman explains that email is on its way out, referring to the decline in the use of this technology by Generations X and Y (p. 46). He also points out that websites are serving different purposes these days, they should no longer be the sole means of online information about a company:

… [A company] could be in communication with fans and consumers on someone else’s database (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.). Yet, many companies fail to grasp this new concept. They build elaborate YouTube or Flicker pages, placing callouts and click actions that send the user outside the social network, often to their company website (p. 48).

Qualman vividly compares this antiquated strategy to the following…

It’s analogous to meeting a pretty girl in a bar and asking if she would like a drink. When she responds “yet,” rather than ordering a drink from the bartender, you grab her and rush her into your care and drive her back to your place… (p. 49).

Okay, so we all get Qualman’s point, but why was this read well-timed for me you ask? Well I would just love to share… A friend of mine introduced me to her photography business this week. It is a small, hobby business, but growing quickly and earning her a nice supplemental income. Over lunch we were discussing new businesses, marketing them and the-like when she happened to mention she didn’t have a website. (Gasp.) I had to hide my surprise and the inner-dialogue, What is a snazzy little photography business doing without an equally-snazzy website?! Well, as I found out later, the answer is quite a lot.

After lunch we scheduled a time for her to come and take pictures of my kids the following evening. The next afternoon I noticed a Facebook message from her suggesting I “like” her page so that she could “share” with me a sneak-peak album she would post after the shoot. Hmmm, now you have my attention. Absolutely, I will like that page right this minute… task completed.

Painted Iris Photography + Design’s Facebook Page

After an hour of photos and lots of good chatting, my friend headed home. The next morning I checked Facebook, thinking she couldn’t possibly have anything posted already. Yet, there they were, a dozen or so darling shots of my kidlets. And the marketing beauty of it for her little business? All I had to do was hit “share” to post them to my wall along with the link to the original album located on her Facebook page. Twenty-four hours later, dozens of my friends and family had commented about the photos and quite likely browsed her business page. A page that is updated almost daily, unlike most websites, with new sneak-peak albums… all spreading kiddo-cuteness among family and friend networks. THAT, my friends, is brilliant and in this particular scenario MUCH more effective than a static website.

The best way for me to summarize this lesson is to finish with Jack Molisani’s frank comment in Is Social Networking for You?: “Why should your company have a Facebook presence? Because that’s where your audience is” (p.10).

Posted on September 22, 2012, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Great post. I wasn’t sure I really got the analogy in the article when I first read it. I mean, I got it in theory, but I didn’t really understand why it was such a bad thing to bounce people from your social presence to your website. I think your example helped me to really get why things have changed. Business leads are generated in the social space and then companies immediately pull you out of that space and drop you in solitary confinement.

    Maybe it is more like you are hitting it off with a girl and her friends at a bar and ask to buy her a drink, she says yes, and then you wisk her away to a formal tea by herself.

    • Good point! I think your edit to the Qualman analogy adds an important perspective. It isn’t just about being where your audience is, but also about being at the same level that they are. There is a certain casualness about social media that is very non-assertive. This feel carries over to business social media pages as well. (Though probably not to the same extent as a personal social media page obviously.) As a potential consumer I may not be ready to “commit” to the formality of a business webpage with all of its mission-statement-stodginess.

  2. It’s quite a coincidence that you offer a story about your friend, who does photography as kind of a side job. My friends and I were recently discussing (on Facebook, of course) how it seems that everyone with a camera fancies his- or herself a “photographer.” By no means am I demeaning your friend’s work, I am making a gross generalization. Do you think Facebook and other social networking outlets diminish the legitimacy of true photographers or other artists by making it too easy to advertise themselves as something they may not be qualified to call themselves? What makes a “true” photographer or artist? Do we just accept that someone we find on Facebook to take professional pictures might not be what we expect from an established brick-and-mortar business and take that chance based on their friends’ recommendations? It’s hard to imagine that a friend would say something negative on a social network when their photographer friend is undoubtedly watching.
    Wow, this was a cynical post. I should refrain from posting on Mondays.

    • I completely agree that with less expensive technologies comes the birth of many new “experts.” I am most familiar with this in terms of photography and graphic design. It can be painful to say the least. The nice thing about both areas is that a person’s level of expertise and style is very visible within an online portfolio – whether accessed via Facebook or standard web page. It is all about the client’s expectations in my opinion. For example, I was looking for informal, candid shots and was pleased with what I received. I expected this is what I would be getting from viewing my friends other work on her business’ Facebook page. However, had I been expecting classic, formal shots (due to lack of access to a portfolio, Facebook or otherwise) I may not have been pleased at all.

      Good points… Monday cynicism and all! 🙂 Ha!

  3. Wow! What a great example–why spend any money at all for a domain & host when everyone you know is on FB and can “share” and “like” all over the place! Typically I would think the successful business has both [in addition to Twitter/YouTube/etc. pages], but if 1 is enough and it’s working, then so be it!

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