Facebook just introduced a new set of social plug-ins designed to increase the integration of your website with Facebook users and their friends. Is this a good thing? Some may argue that Facebook is getting a little too powerful and throwing their weight around a bit much by asking site owners to add FB connectivity to their websites, even if it is a little Like button. I can see the point in this, why would anyone want to add someone else’s branding to their site? The answer? Only if you have much to gain by doing so. And in this case you do.
There’s no doubt that a basic shift is under way in the way consumers use and understand the Internet. Web Surfers have learned to be very wary of advertisements and endorsements from sites and people they don’t know. Much of this wariness can be blamed on email spam and annoying web ads that assume the viewer is an idiot. We’ve learned that there are many unscrupulous people out there who want nothing more than to get our money, or our name and email address so more can assail us. In my mind, social media provides a natural evolution in how consumers protect themselves from the untrustworthy. If your friends say something is good, it probably is. This is word-of-mouth advertising at its most basic.
The way word-of-mouth works is of course when one of your satisfied customers tells one of their friends how great their experience with you was. If this person hears the recommendation from more than one friend, all the better. This is how Facebook and other social media platforms can help modern businesses ride through this shift in Internet usage. As ads and emails lose effectiveness, social referrals will increase in effectiveness. When you serve someone well and they click on that little Like button on your page, all of their friends will see that as a recommendation. The ones who are interested in your product or service will likely come over to see your offerings for themselves. If they are pleased and click the Like button themselves, their friends will now see this recommendation too. It’s word-of-mouth advertising on steroids!
Therefore, don’t look at adding the Social media icons and widgets to your website as brand dilution, think of it more as modern Internet participation, joining the crowd. After all, what you want most is for people to be talking about your business and how good it is. That last part is up to you, but if you do what you do well then the community will come. Then it’s just a matter of keeping up.
Next time I’ll dive into exactly how to make your website social media friendly.