This is a guest post from Phyllis Zimbler Miller of http://www.millermosaicpowerof3.com.
According to a webinar I attended, approximately half the small businesses in the U.S. do not have a website for their businesses.
Believe it or not, this could be good news for these businesses. Why do I say this if I believe every business should have a website?
Because many, many businesses – whether they’ve had a website for some time or have a new website – have an “old-fashioned” website that is not social media friendly.
What is an “old-fashioned” website? It’s one that doesn’t offer potential customers/clientele a connection with the business owners – one that doesn’t offer people the opportunity to interact on Twitter or a Facebook (business) page or a blog with the real people (by name) of a business.
What does your website home page say?
Imagine a website whose home page touts its products or services without any information about the people behind the products or services. And when you go to the ABOUT page all you read is how long the company has been in business. Maybe there are the names of people in the business or maybe just the “we have been in business.” And certainly no blog, no Twitter or Facebook page links.
Now imagine a website whose home page introduces you to the people behind the products or services that the business offers. The Twitter and Facebook page links are prominently displayed “above the fold” (before you have to scroll down). There’s a photo of the business owner with an email more personal than info@company name. And there’s a blog that enables people to leave comments about the blog posts.
If you were considering buying a specific kind of product or service, which website would be more likely to engage you? And I’m not even mentioning that the second website probably has an email optin box to capture your emails and stay in contact with you.
Now you may be thinking:
What’s the big deal about potential customers/clientele being able to interact with me/my business on the Internet? They should just buy my products/services.
Wrong! They shouldn’t just buy your products or services. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and a host of other social media sites, today people expect to have a relationship with the person whose products or services they are buying. They want to know whose reputation stands behind the company’s offerings. What are the company people like? Do they truly understand the potential buyer’s needs?
Think of your own buying habits
Do you frequent a neighborhood restaurant not just for the food but for the feeling of connection with the restaurant owners? I know I do. I love it when the waiters at the family-owned restaurant Al Gelato in Los Angeles automatically put a lemon in my husband’s water.
We are social creatures – and social creatures like connections with others. Thus when I come to a “cold” website that doesn’t seem to have real people behind it, I’m unlikely to feel welcome. Yet when I come to a “warm” website with the company personality up close and personal on the home page, I’m much more likely to stick around and see if the site has information/products/services for me.
What is the ideal for your business website?
The ideal is, first, have a website. If you don’t have one already, get one. This will serve as your home base for connecting with potential customers/clientele on the web. (And, yes, this is equally important for both online and offline businesses.)
Second, make sure your website is social media friendly. If it isn’t, make changes right now:
When people land on your site’s home page they should immediately know your name (and your photo) and that you are the site’s owner.
Then make sure you have an active Twitter account and a Facebook (business) page and encourage people to interact with you on those two sites.
Plus, if you can commit to publishing new blog posts approximately three times a week (by you or by guest bloggers), definitely consider having a blog. It’s a great way to interact with your potential customers/clientele.
If you want more convincing that social media works, watch this short video by Chuck Hendershot of Exit Realty Group NJ: http://budurl.com/socialmediapraise
Phyllis Zimbler Miller has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing. Get her FREE report “Twitter, Facebook, and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business” at http://www.millermosaicpowerof3.com