Social media isn’t just a hook for your website.

Social media hookHere we are, several years into the rise of social media, and companies still have no clue about what the social web is about.

When I scan through a company’s Facebook page, for example, what I see for the most part are links to its website.

Someone at the company wants to drive traffic to a particular page. So they send out a tweet, or create a Facebook update, or a Google+ post. The social media content is often automatically created, drawing the title and a photo from the site’s web page.

In other words, the social media update is simply a link back to the site, with no intrinsic value of its own.

That’s not social media content. That’s just a hook.

When all you are doing is linking back to your website, you’re missing the point. Your “friends” will soon tire of your antisocial efforts. They won’t stick around if all you do is try to hook them and reel them over to your website to buy something.

If you think about it, you’re not being “social” at all. You’re simply being promotional.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You should create social content that is unique content. You can take a photo and upload it to your favorite social media site. Or a video clip. Or a short text-only post. You can even…gasp…link to great content that resides on a website that isn’t yours.

As with all content, social media content should be original, high-quality content…not derivative or a duplicate of what you already have on your website.

You should also be available to get into conversation with people on your social media profiles. Be there. Engage with people. Answer questions. Acknowledge the value they bring to your page or channel.

“But where,” asks the CEO, “Is the ROI for social media if we don’t use it as a promotional tool to drive traffic to our website?”

The value resides within the social media pages themselves. This is where you make friends, build trust, undo wrongs, improve perceptions and build loyalty.

This is where you build deeper relationships with your customers and prospects. This is where you create unique content that is so great, your followers and friends want to share it across their own social media pages. And so on.

How many likes or retweets do you get when all you do is try to hook people over to a sales page on your website? Not many. I certainly don’t want to share your sales page with my own friends and followers.

But if you give me something unique and interesting to see in your social media streams…and if its value is intrinsic, and it’s not about promoting something…then I’ll be happy to share.

I know, this all sounds obvious. But take a few minutes to view some big brand social media pages and for the most part all you’ll see is hooks and promotion.

And, of course, there is nothing wrong with the occasional link back to your site. That’s OK. Just don’t let those links dominate your social streams.

There only two things you need to get right if you want your business to be a social success online.

First, create unique, quality content that delights your audience and screams to be shared.

Second, jump into the stream and get into real-time, authentic conversations with our friends and followers.

Finally, be patient. You can’t rush relationships.

Go easy on the real-time hooks, and invest more in long-term social.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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1 thought on “Social media isn’t just a hook for your website.”

  1. I rather disagree with your view, Nick, regarding the use of social media promoting a business. I believe the vast majority of social media posts should be ultimately aiming to somehow segment any given business’ audience. That’s not to say a business need not concern itself with engaging its audience. You are absolutely correct on this account. Indeed, every social media post a business makes should be anticipating some measure of engagement. Furthermore, every post succeeding in this aim should (and, indeed, MUST if the business wishes to remain a going concern) have an ultimate objective wherein an audience that is now proven to be passionate about a certain subject is lead to a place where their passion meets that business’ bottom line interests.

    Per a business’ employment of social media, this ultimate objective of segmenting its’ audience may be best satisfied employing a lead capture system offering as incentive something of considerable value that’s in line with the proven passions of that given business’ audience. This proof of passion in a given business’ audience, again, would having been demonstrated by the response to a business’ social media intervention/post(s)/campaign, the likes of which, itself, should be venturing as much as humanly possible a strategy raising the likelihood that business’ social media effort goes viral.

    FREE is always the best price for encouraging action among those among a business’ audience whose passions have been proven. Yet it’s not difficult to imagine how a valuable coupon (even for something selling on, say, Amazon–it doesn’t have to be a product/service the given business sells) could align very well with the proven passions of a given business’ audience, as well. The important thing here–the critical business objective–is the business’ deployment of the means to capture the email addresses of those among its audience whose passion for a certain subject has been proven. From there it’s “only” a matter of feeding their passion and marketing to it.

    “Lather, rinse, repeat.” That’s how a business should be viewing its social media presence. The “lather” part certainly requires audience engagement, just as you advise. Yet the “rinse” is where the money is at. This is where a business, through its social media engagement, is venturing to segment its audience and serve it everything they desire, and make a boatload of money in the process. “Repeat” is simply a matter of finding the next profitable passion held by the given business’ audience.

    This idea I am expressing here also touches on an ONGOING CURSE carrying forward into the internet age from the television era. Too many businesses in the internet era remain focused on “branding” as a primary objective of their social media efforts. Boys and girls, the internet is all about “POSITIONING.” Just look at King Kong GOOGLE. That AdWords CASH COW of theirs? It is “Positioning 101.”


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