The uptake of Social Media by Internet users has forced business to take note of this phenomenon and initiate Social Media into their marketing mix.
Social Networking is an online activity, therefore once interaction with consumers has started it is likely the next customer interaction will occur on the company’s web site.
First Impressions Count
First impressions count, and on the Internet that impression is made in fractions of a second.
Web Usability expert Dr. Jakob Nielsen found web users are becoming increasingly impatient and just want to accomplish their goals and go. “People want sites to get to the point, they have very little patience.”
To make a favourable impression in short time framed requires attention to detail in:
- Web Usability standards
- Web Page design and layout
- Graphic Design
All the above elements require attention and expertise ensuring they work together to enable visitors to immediately:
- What services/products the company provides
- Determine who the company is
- The benefits obtained by visiting the web site
- Navigate intuitively to required information and processes
Social Media Necessities
I favor minimalist design, visit Google and analyze the home page using the considerations listed above. It works doesn’t it?
However, your business isn’t Google and will require more in-depth information to fulfill your visitor’s process and information needs.
Web Navigation is a critical element to ensuring both Search Engines and visitors can easily and intuitively access all web pages. Navigation had to be mentioned because of the importance of the web site’s navigation system in enabling visitors to accomplish both their objectives and your business’s goals.
Must have web pages
The overall information architecture of the website will be dependent on numerous factors such as business niche and site purpose. However, there are some Must Have web pages that are common to most businesses.
- Home: Introduces company and web site benefits
- About: Information about your business, management and employees
- Contact: Contact information forms, physical address, phone, emails
- The Blog: Web 2.0 is about user created content and it is becoming essential to develop the corporate blog to educate and interact with consumers.
Processes and Visitor Interaction
Social Media encourages communication and interaction. The social interactions which occur on Social Networking and MicroBlogging web sites must continue on business web sites.
Web2.0 has created a multitude of web applications enabling business to communicate and interact with consumers. Some of these include:
- Site Blogs and Forums
- Photo, Video and Podcasts
- Email and live chat customer support
- Interactive forms to capture customer information a queries
- Downloads for whitepapers and discount coupons
The Social Media Necessities
The internet is busy and very noisy; every opportunity to establish multiple points of contact and promotion must be utilized. Some of these are mentioned above.
Addition of the following Social Media tools should be available on your web site:
- Links to your Social Networking web site profiles
- Links to Social Book marking and Social recommendation web sites
The Last Word
Social Media Marketing is becoming increasingly important to businesses and it is important the web site supports and promotes your business’s Social Media initiatives.
As an outline and a starting point the above outline provides an indication of what you should be considering when upgrading or developing your web site to support your business’s Social Media online activities.