You can't move for social media companies it seems, all preaching the message of harnessing social media to grow your business and connect with your customers. Don't get me wrong, there are some really clever people out there who can help you to maximise the potential of all these channels (you know who you are!).
This certainly isn't my area of expertise. I only use Twitter and struggle to stay on message, continually confused as to whether it is a business account or a personal one. I'll flit between talking about web techniques one minute and moaning about a middle order collapse in the cricket the next.
My expertise lies in websites, more specifically turning visitors to sites into paying customers.
So why am I writing a post about social media?
Good question and the answer is to reddress the balance and try and preach a message of moderation in all things social media.
I'll start with a plea: "Please, please, please don't add a Facebook and Twitter feeds to your web pages".
I get it, you invest a lot of time posting interesting and useful points and articles. You're proud at the conversations you have with your customers. You want to grow your audience by showing them the great content you have on offer. But you are diluting you primary sales tool, your website.
Your website is a precisely engineered tool to turn visitors into customers (if it isn't it should be, speak to us!). Us web designers spend a great amount of time researching how to best direct visitors down paths and subtly manipulate them into taking those actions you want them to. I know it sounds a bit sinister, but hey, we're in marketing, it is what we do and what we get paid to do.
The moment you add a social media feed to your web page you are diverting attention away from these goals. Worse still a visitor could end up clicking on something and being taken away from the website! No matter how interesting the posts are you have significantly reduced the chances of making a sale, if they are now on your Facebook page they will also see any alerts from their network of friends, you've lost them now for sure.
There are (of course) legitimate and genuine reasons to use social media. It should be used to entice and draw visitors to your website, not away from it! Posting interesting content that will lead to an increase in visitors as well as to broadcast your voice to a wider audience. Consider having teasing snippets of information, with a link to read more, guess where that link goes? You got it, your website.
By all means have links to your social pages on your website's contact page, include links in your email signature and definitely have them on any automated sales emails. At this point you have a customer and the next step is to turn them into a loyal customer, a customer that identifies with your brand, social media is amazingly powerful at helping this transition.
So my message is simple; use these tools to drive traffic and then use them to keep your new customers informed and feeling valued.