It was 1982/83 and I was pulled out of my 3rd grade class with 4 other kids in my Atlanta elementary school to go to the library and write computer code using BASF cassette tapes, keyboards and televisions. It was a bunch of 1’s and 0’s used to write very basic programs. I couldn’t tell you today what we created, but I remember trying to play that cassette tape at home weeks later in an audio cassette tape player, and all I heard were these screeching sounds.
The average Internet user today is more visually savvy than the best web developer 20 years ago. Not only have the older generations become more critical of what they find pleasing to see and use on websites, but the educational standard in schools today for the younger generations include learning programming code. And these kids are not using cassette tapes and televisions!
The point of this little history lesson is to point out how far programming has come, and why this is important to you. Printed media is on a downward trajectory. Many news and entertainment periodicals are going the way of electronic subscriptions. E-readers are replacing paper as a means to get your news. TiVo created a way to fast forward through commercials. Sirius/XM Radio & Podcasts created a listening environment that was commercial free. Through these developments, businesses lost their means to speak to their customers. Websites became the #1 resource for B2B and B2C businesses to get in front of their audiences.
On September 26, 2006, a new player opened their doors to the public: Facebook. This company changed the way businesses would look at their marketing for years to come. The age of Social Media Marketing began and shortly after exploded. There are almost too many social media platforms to name today. However, some of the big players are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. This new marketing revolution helped level the advertising playing field for small businesses. We now have the opportunity to target our marketing efforts just as efficiently as the huge conglomerates with their billion dollar marketing budgets.
The biggest “hiccup” of businesses’ pages on social media is that they do not own those platforms. We are all just visitors there. The most important feature of your website is the simple fact that you own it. This is why you need to make sure your website not only has as much information for your current and potential customers, but you also have the means to gather contact information.
Social media is a great way to make sure you are getting your message to the right audience. You can really drill down and target your ideal audience. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of social media is to direct people to come to your website.
Your main objective for using social media for advertising is to get traffic to your website, because this is what you have 100% control of. Realistically, most of these social media platforms are not going away anytime soon. However, I would like for you to think about what you would do if they all disappeared tomorrow. Do you have a way to reach out to all the connections you made on those sites? If not, it is time to start building your audience to your website.
When you engage with people on your social media platforms, be sure to create a way to also get their contact information. Typically you want to do this by offering them something of value (ie: ebook, whitepaper, trial, etc). You also want to consider making this offering free. Just because it is free, doesn’t mean it should be worthless. That will only upset the receiver. It must be something of value, so they know staying connected with you will continue to bring them value.
Remember, your website is the one thing you have 100% control over in the virtual world, not social media platforms. So take advantage of your audience on those sites and get them coming to your website. Today is the day to take control!