Tuesday, November 24, 2009

corporate websites vs social media

Many companies, despite the advice of so-called social media gurus and blog conferences, still fail to prominently display their Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, blog, and other social network links.

You will notice how I display a link to my Twitter profile near the top of my sidebar, and links to other online presences are further down. You can find my web activities in my blog sidebar, without having to Google my name and go hunting all over the internet for them.

Marketing blogger B.L. Ochman tackles this odd deficiency in a recent post.

"Why are companies hiding their social media involvement"


While thousands of companies have either experimental or well-established presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites, those communities remain invisible on all but a tiny fraction of company homepages.

Why do companies hide their social media efforts from visitors?

My guess is that their reasons include

* fear that they'll lose control of their brand if too many people know they can have a say;

* lack of cooperation between marketing and IT;

* and perhaps pressure from lawyers who are nervous about new-fangled new media.

It's hard to find a company website whose homepage easily and clearly allows visitors to see all of the its social media initiatives. You'd have to be Nancy Drew to find the company blog on most websites, or its Facebook page, or all of its YouTube videos.


I think the reason social media is not integrated with the main corporate website is simple incompetence.

Corporate websites do many things wrong. It's only natural that they would forget to have links to all their other sites, Twitter, YouTube channel, blog, etc. They're inept.

Here's another failure that's common. Corporate websites should include embedded videos of current and classic commercials, with HTML code to enable people to embed the commercials in their own blogs, especially if the commercial is funny or innovative.

Why would a company NOT upload their tv commercials to YouTube? This would make it easy for marketing bloggers to display the commercial and comment on them.

Are companies afraid they might get negative reviews? They shouldn't fear this if they're confident in what their ad agencies are doing, and paying them big money to create good work.

For example, I wanted to show my blog readers and Twitter fans how the current Ditech Refi Rate Sales tv commercials are almost identical to the Twitter graphics, the bird, the blue color. But this new commercial is not on YouTube or the Ditech corporate site.

Even though my purpose was to point out how Ditech seems to be imitating Twitter in their use of a bird and blue color, my article would also provide more exposure for their tv commercial, and would promote their Refi Sale.

These companies are just plain clueless. It seems amateur and childish to resist the new ways people are interacting with products and promotions.

If you seek competitive advantage, start integrating your social media presences with your corporate website. Also, be sure to include videos of recent commercials on your corporate website, and upload them to YouTube. Provide embed code so people can post your commercials on their blogs.

Don't fear criticism, which only makes us smarter. Don't thwart praise, which helps distribute your message.

*** B.L. Ochman, one of the first marketing bloggers I ever read, consistently posts thoughtful articles about corporate internet marketing and social networks. Follow her on Twitter: @whatsnext

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