Here at TexTivia, business owners ask us about this subject all of the time. The questions go something like: “what is the best way to grow my business online?” So, we tell them, in no uncertain terms, that having clear branding and a high-quality website with good organic SEO is the foundation of effective online growth. This, we feel, is good advice. In fact, it is the best advice we know to give to businesses who are seeking to grow their brand online.
But, this recommendation does not resonate immediately with all of our clients. Many would rather focus on their company’s social media presence first, and there are a couple of (seemingly) compelling reasons for this. For starters, most social media outlets do not cost anything up front, and it is relatively cheap and easy to outsource regular maintenance, posting, and updating to a dedicated service. The idea of investing a small amount of money and some time into creating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking presences seems like good business at face value.
Another reason many of our clients are more eager to focus on social media outlets than their core branding and web design is simple word-of-mouth and overall sentiment in the world of business. “Everyone knows” that social media is hot right now, and that successful businesses have large, active footprints on such sites. There are a bevy of articles to read online and in print which tout the merits of social media for businesses. It is true that sites like Facebook and others offer direct communication with customers, which is great for customer service, news, announcements, posting pictures and videos, and more. The trouble is that while having an active social media presence is indeed part of an effective overall customer engagement plan, it will actually do very little to bring new business to your company.
“Never Mistake Activity for Achievement” -John Wooden
Growing your business online is all about reaching the people who want your products or services in the area where you provide them. This happens most fundamentally through well-designed organic SEO and a clean, modern website with custom content and effective conversion strategies. Think about it: people who are seeking specific products or services generally use Google or other search engines rather than trying to wade through social media sites to find what they need. No matter how great your business may be, if you have an outdated website with poor SEO, no one will be able to find you through search engines, and their business will simply go to your competitors.
Web Design and Organic SEO are the Foundation of Online Growth
This is what we mean when we say that clear branding and an effective website with good SEO is the foundation of online growth: it must come first. It may be less expensive to focus on your social media presence, but what is this really buying? Just because someone “likes” your brand on Facebook or “follows” you on Twitter does not make them a paying customer, and there are no methods to track your actual return on this investment in social media. It is entirely possible that your brand could grow significantly on social networking sites and yet not experience any changes in revenue.
Business owners are attracted to social media campaigns because they are cheap, trendy, and represent concrete action. It simply sounds like a good idea, and ultimately, it can be if built on the foundation of solid core branding and good web design. But if people are finding your business’s website easily through search engines like Google, it is very simple to point them to your social networking profiles from your homepage. In this way, your web design can actually help grow your social media presence while increasing your conversion and revenue and giving you real, trackable return on investment.
At TexTivia, we always recommend that our clients start with a focus on branding: defining clear goals and having a precise understanding of their ideal customers and target markets. This enables us to design their overall web presence to reach and resonate with the people who most want or need their business’s products or services. Ultimately, a social media campaign can do good things for your brand, but only if used in conjunction with your existing web design.Call us today at 888-866-4233 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how TexTivia can manage all of your branding and online growth needs!
About the Author: Jon Wolf is Director of Content Generation at TexTivia, a Raleigh, NC Web development company. Find him on Google+.TexTivia is a full-service Web design, optimization, marketing, and branding company in Raleigh, NC serving clients nationwide.