by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia
Whoa! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of speaking here and here, business growth (exciting news coming down the pike) and of course launching the Real Women Do Social Media program. In the process, I've had the opportunity to speak with and meet some really fabulous women.
One conversation in particular stands out. I received an email from a woman overseas who wanted my help on developing a social media strategy. I put her in touch with my assistant to set up an appointment and I was really looking forward to speaking with her because she had an interesting way she wanted to use social media to collectively promote a group of experts in her country.
The time came for us to talk and she wanted to know how she could use social networking to further her planned marketing efforts. I asked her for her website address and she didn't have one.
Now, not to pass judgment because we're in the middle of launching a new website of our own, but to not have ANY website at all and to be in the market for a social networking strategy is putting the cart before the horse just a tad.
Let's say, for example, that I had worked with this woman (which I didn't, instead I asked her to create her website and then give me a ring) and she had great success with social networking. People liked her idea and they wanted to spread the word and send other people to her website. The media came calling and she got great visibility. Let's say all these things happened and she had no website to direct people to. What happens then?
The answer is nothing: The communication chain stops. People visit your Twitter page and they interact with you on Twitter, but you can't share much about your overall organization in a 160-character bio or in a 140-character Tweet for that matter.
You need a home base -- a place where people can turn to get detailed information about your company, its services and based on that information determine whether or not they want to do business with you.
I call this "cleaning up before you invite company". If your website is home base, how can you effectively invite company (use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter) if your home base is not tidy and in order?
Get your website ready for traffic before you start using social networking. Make sure it's working as a lead generation tool and you can convert interest into prospects, prospects into leads and leads into customers.