All of my website design projects include a basic social media campaign as standard. For me, including social media feeds into a website design, both internally to the site and by setting up the accounts externally, is essential. Social media is at the core of the overall design of my websites and to the SEO campaigns I run for them and to not include it can be very damaging to a clients business in the long run.

A lot of clients are a little apprehensive of social media, and they are not sure as to why their business needs a facebook, pinterest or a twitter feed (to mention a few)on their website. This is completely understandable for many reasons, but something that has to be discussed for the overall well-being of the new or updated website. I have had many reasons given as to why my customers do not want to include social media feeds in the website design, they don’t personally use facebook or twitter and therefore don’t see the need for it, social media can allow people to say bad things about their business, it can cause spam, it takes up too much time, and on and on and on.

Firstly these are all valid concerns and I’m happy to address them and secondly its important I do because a website without social media input is like a car with just three wheels, that’s right a robin reliant, and there aren’t many people who what a reliant these days!

I want to use this space to address some of the concerns my clients have in the hopes that if you read this is might help you out when making your own social media decisions. Many people don’t use social media in their private lives, the fact is social media is still predominantly the domain of the younger user so chances are the business owner may not use social media feeds themselves, though this is starting to change. If they don’t, there can be a natural reaction to dismiss it as a fad or irrelevant to their own line of business. This is one of the main issues raised with my clients regarding social media and my answer is this; there are lots of things you do as the owner and manager of a business that you don’t do in your own personal life, but does that make you turn away for potential revenue streams? I don’t read the times or telegraph newspaper, I like the independent, but would I refuse to advertise in the times if offered a great deal with a nailed on chance to gain more customers? No, absolutely not and neither would you, and the use of social media is no different. Your website and business needs social media to survive and if you don’t like to use it personally, then you can hire someone ( myself ) to run it for you.

The next issue that cops up is that social media allows people to say negative things, publicly, about your business. Well…..yes it does, and there is nothing you can do about that fact. ( you can hear the giant lead balloon hitting the ground behind you!) Here another great nugget to follow that other one up with ….people are all ready saying negative things about your company, you just don’t know about it. Social media is simply just digital word of mouth with a few whistles and bells, that’s all. Every business has its loyal customers and every business has people that just don’t like what you do or sell, is a basic fact of business. You do your best to keep your customers loyal and happy by producing the best results for them but some people will always have criticism, hopefully it’s constructive. If you don’t have a social media feed then you have no way of knowing; and more importantly, analysing, how many people are talking both negatively and positively about your business. If you produce a product that some people have a negative view about then being able to see those comments can help you improve your product, and bring in more customers. No one likes other people talking badly about their business but if the criticism is constructive and valid it can help you build a better product or service and social media can give you access to the information immediately, also you get to view all the nice comments which make you feel warm and fuzzy!

It can cause spam; well yes it can but so can your email address and your website, and to a much bigger extent, consider this; so can your letter box! You are more likely to receive double the amounts of physical spam in the form of unsolicited flyers and cards through you front door as you would via your facebook or twitter feed, but would you block up your letter box? Nope, thought not, the simple fact is that as soon as you create a communication system someone will exploit it for marketing purposes in a bad way. It’s the world we live in, but that’s no reason to shy away from communicating with your customers.

It takes up too much time; yes it takes time, but not too much. You have to communicate with your customers so you can either a: use the “traditional” methods and get out on the street and stop passers by and gather info on a clip board, or call them up and ask questionnaires, or b: post a few one or two sentence updates in facebook and twitter once or twice a week with links back to your website….now which one would take longer???? yup social media will actually save you time.

In the world we now live and do business in, increasingly, people want to communicate with business owners and expect to be able to provide feedback in some form of digital medium, whether that be by email or a social media feed. The fact is that social media has massive benefits that way outstrip its negatives and not utilising it is looking a gift horse in the mouth. I understand that not every business owner has the time or energy to learn new technology, that’s ok, you already pay someone to print your adverts in the newspaper, you can pay someone else (me please) to look after your social media as well. Social Media is awesome and an essential part of website design and essential to the success of your business.

Yak Out!