Social media is an amazing tool for marketing a new business. Tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow cash-strapped startups a way to generate buzz and engage their prospects and customers on a more personal level. But even with free tools, there’s always a cost: it takes time to connect with your fans, share ideas about your products, listen to what your customers are saying, or network with prospects and referral sources. Here’s the good news: There is a trick to consolidating your social media efforts, and when it’s done right, updating your social networking accounts can be done through a single tool: your website.
Just as it doesn’t make sense to force your customers to connect with you only one way – you probably wouldn’t limit customers to just connecting over the phone for example, or just through a contact form on your website – effective communication in today’s world requires you to be where people are. The companies who are best able to reach out and connect are the ones who are seeing real results.
Social media tools each serve a slightly different purpose – Twitter is great for keeping up with experts in any given field and marketing ideas. LinkedIn is the go-to spot to find talent and network with professionals. Facebook is where 250 million people go to connect with old friends. Couple the confusion of which network does what with the tools your company already uses – emails, your website, traditional advertising and even in-person networking or sales calls – and it’s easy to see why so many are overwhelmed by it all. However, a well-designed website using a tool like WordPress can do much of your social media connecting for you.
WordPress is an open-source content management system that allows users to logon to their own website from any browser and publish news articles (or posts), manage pages and add multimedia content with ease. Since it was originally created as a “blogging” platform, the community of developers that created it built in the capability to interact with visitors in a personal way. Articles you post to your website can automatically publish to each social site using simple plugins, and search engine optimization is handled seamlessly. With every post you’re getting the word out effectively, and engaging your prospects at every step.
Advantages of using a tool like WordPress to integrate your social media efforts include:
– Automatically publish your news to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook fan pages
– Search Engine Optimization – more links to your site equal higher rankings
– Your site’s visitors will be able to easily share your content with others
– Multimedia integration – video and audio are a snap to setup and share
– You own your own data (if LinkedIn or Facebook go down or decide to close your page, your data is gone)
– Allow your visitors to comment on your articles (subject to your approval of course)
Another advantage of WordPress is that it puts you in the driver’s seat of your site. You don’t need to call your web developer to make changes: sign in from your browser and with a few clicks you can introduce your latest product or announce a new special. Customers, clients and prospects expect to be part of a conversation with businesses – posting a press release and calling it a day doesn’t cut it anymore. Your customers want to ask questions and provide feedback. They want be the first to know when something new is coming. And they want to do it on whatever network they prefer.
Spend the time to setup a system to communicate automatically to your social media networks, and you’ll slash the amount of time you spend cross-posting to each network individually. A professionally designed website that is built to leverage social media and integrate your efforts will make generating buzz a lot easier.
Dave Meyer is the president and owner of BizzyWeb, a company that creates WordPress-powered websites designed to integrate with social media. BizzyWeb also offers social media training webinars and consulting services to help its clients “Generate Buzz Without Getting Stung!” Meyer is a frequent speaker on social media topics, and is currently the president of the Minnesota chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. You can find Dave at bizzyweb.com, or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dave1meyer.