Growing Grassroots: Leveraging Social Media Over Everything.
I’m going to come right out and say it; unless you’re a major corporation, websites, newsletters, and the like, are a nice-to-have, but not a need-to-have.
With the growing trend moving more towards Social (Media, that is…) a lot of major corporations are looking to Social Engineers in order to help them boost their online engagement and connectivity between themselves and their end consumers. It used to be that, before the age of Social, in order to get your company off the ground and effectively established with some sense of credibility, you would have to have a nice, new, sleekly-fine tuned website. Back in those days, Web Designers reigned supreme and the one who could build the best customer facing website typically got all the contracts…
Enter, the age of Social.
Before reading any further, it’s important to remember that what I am about to say here applies primarily to smaller organizations; while the converse is more true for larger, more established brands.
In today’s rapidly growing market, let’s assume you have a really good idea that you want to build into a company and create some awareness on (ie. you want to establish a brand).
As with all Marketing Strategies, the first thing you would need to do is educate your end consumer on who you are and what you do. After that, you would need to build a reliable following in order to establish credibility for that brand.
Given these parameters, let’s try a little thought experiment from the point of view of the end consumer:
You, as the end consumer, go to a relatively new company’s website (Company 1) and it looks amazing. The interface is really intuitive and the site is complete with engaging and robust photography. You then click through to each of the Social Media channels and find that the company has only 3 followers across all Social Media platforms. Would you think to yourself (a) the company must be well established, they just haven’t put anything into their Social Media campaign yet, or (b) they invested in a really nice website template from Wordpress (or wherever), but their product is still relatively unreliable…
Now, let’s think about the converse to this scenario. You again hear about a relatively new company, so you decide to Google them (Company 2). You aren’t able to find a website for the company (which, admittedly, is slightly annoying) but you find a Facebook page with all of the information you need, along with other Social Media channels which are rife with engaged and happy followers. Do you still think the same way as you did for this company as you did for Company 1?
The truth is, we have a greater propensity to believe in brands (especially new brands) that have a larger, more engaged following. Why does this work? Word of Mouth. Granted, this version of Word of Mouth is more Digital than actually having someone rave in-person to you about the brand, but the effect is still the same. All in all, you are more likely to trust the sum opinion of a gang of strangers rating a company 5/5 stars as opposed to a company with 0 reviews online.
Personally, I truly believe that the age of websites is coming to an end with a lot more clout being pushed towards Social platforms. The website, at the end of the day, will serve as a business card but not necessarily a brand builder. Though, that isn’t to say it’s not important to have a good, well functioning website—but it’s like I said earlier, websites are a nice-to-have, but not a need-to-have.
So, if you’re a newly growing company with a limited spending budget on advertising, where are you willing to place your eggs? In a Web Designer charging you upwards of $3,000+ for a new website—or a Social Engineer affording you a strategy with many reverberating benefits?
-it’s up to you…