Do you really need a web site?
My good friend Joel Richards at J-3 Media recently sent me a thought provoking article: http://www.mpdailyfix.com/is-social-media-killing-the-website/. The article poses this question: if you're actively engaged in social media, like Facebook, do you also need a website? Isn't social media taking over the traditional website? Franz Keller, the article's author, answers his own question with a "no." Then he goes on to list ways in which websites and social media sites perform different functions.
Well, yes, websites and social media sites are different. But Mr. Keller barely touches on what I believe are the most important differences. Perhaps the most critical difference between the two forms of communication is the use of language. In a world of text-speech and acronym-babble, I realize I risk ridicule to suggest that language matters. But in fact, I believe language matters to an enormous degree. Saying the right thing, the right way, to appeal to the right audience is at the very heart of good communication. And good communication is how your organization defines its mission and differentiates itself to customers. Is it too much to ask that we pay attention to how people really understand us and take time and care in crafting our message?
Social Media, Facebook or Twitter, if you will, are not designed for that kind of language. They are tools of informal conversation. That's not a bad thing, and having an informal conversation with your clients or customers is useful. But it is not the same thing at all as a message with purpose and effect. If conversation and message were the same thing, there would be no State of the Union address.
Your website is your State of the Union address. Your website is a careful construction, unifying language and graphics, form and function, to present a message that resonates with customers, is useful to them, is relevant to their lives and moves them to action. A website is an important part of an overall marketing strategy and creates an image of who you are. That's not easy to accomplish because you have to put considerable thought and effort into exactly who you are, what your mission is and who your customers are.
Social media sites can be a useful adjunct to your website, stimulating conversation about your organization and helping to establish relationships. They are, perhaps, the buzz of the honey bee. They are, however, not the honey comb.
Guest blogger Dennis Mathis is a long-time resident of the Four Corners who nurtures an interest in writing, marketing, technology, reading and business. About a year ago, he retired from a public relations job and is now formally self-managed. It is a harder job than he imagined it would be. He and his wife, Nancy, live in a log cabin near Lemon Lake decorated with birdhouses, and when the water is calm, they kayak along Lemon's graceful shoreline.