New Public Relations, Social Media, Web Content — Do You Agree Social Media Will Usurp the Corporate Web Site?

Learn Social Media with Laurie Dunlop

socialvswebpageI recently read Adam Ostrow’s Mashable blog entitled, “Is Social Media Making Corporate Websites Irrelevant” and wondered how my Northern Virginia team at NetStrategies would react to that headline. Keep in mind, our area of expertise is helping businesses optimize their Web sites! So I asked my team for a rebuttal and here is their take:

NetStrategies President Rodney Loges comments, “My abbreviated two cents is as follows — social media must play a role in the building of a successful online presence but should not be the only endeavor. To me SM sites are just another channel to reach clients when and where they are online. The basics of marketing apply even in the world of social media. Do you know your customer? Are you solving their problem? What action do you want them to take and is the customer rewarded for doing such? You have to build your foundation etc. before you can install the interior decorations.”

Our vice president and Web development expert John Schultz explains, “The bottom line is that social media is an important communication channel with prospects and customers, but the corporate Web site is still the core of how companies engage customers online. (Adam Ostrow’s) example uses a consumer product where the company is trying to generate buzz online — most of our customers are people who do real transactions or lead development online. The corporate Web site is still the core of customer engagement, and social media is just a touch point or spoke in the wheel that can help the company broaden its reach online.

Another point is that “fans” on Facebook don’t necessarily drive their KPIs. 250,000 fans don’t mean that a company will sell more. It’s a valuable communication channel and an impressive number, but the critical piece of this is how a company uses that channel to drive sales.

You could contrast consumer products (Coke, Pepsi, Vitamin Water) with the real business of generating leads and sales online. Branding is a whole different effort than lead generation and in the B2B world the approach has to be different.”

Robert Moses is the director of operations at NetStrategies. “Corporate Web sites are now and will still be the authoratative source for a company. When a social media user hears about his or her favorite company on Facebook he/she will need to reach the corporate Web site to read the official press release, announcement, opt-in to a spcial offer, or complete an online transaction.”

Stevan Loges is our analytics and Pay Per Click expert. “To me social media is really an extension of a corporate site and involves meeting your customers where they are.

While it seems like everyone is on Facebook, etc. there are still demographics who are not or who are overwhelmed by the majority of applications/requests they receive on a daily basis. There needs to be an alternative for those other users.

Just some ideas, but I agree with the consensus that a social media site could/should never completely take the place of a corporate Web site.”

Steve Reali produces our video and tackles other multi-media projects as well. “Social media CAN be an excellent way to reach a broad audience. Sites like YouTube or MySpace or Facebook allow people with certain needs to find businesses/info they are looking for; however, eventually they will need to come to/interact with the company itself. This is where having the Web site and phone number of the actual company will become a necessity.”

As social media and content marketing manager for the company I believe social media continues to grow in its importance to organizations of all kinds. Will SM ever take the place of a corporate Web site? When it comes to the Internet and how rapidly it is changing, nothing would surprise me.

(Twitter bird compliments of Productive Dreams.)

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(John Smith)
(jsmith@netstrategies.com)
(www.netstrategies.com)