Yesterday’s Company Websites Are Rapidly Becoming Obsolete
The company website, as we have known it for the past decade or more, is dead. Stick a fork in it – it’s done.
Okay, I’m being a little dramatic; that’s a little bit overstated, but not by much. Today the web is social, and that changes everything.
People have learned to expect much more from the web than the typical company website offers. It’s not enough anymore to have a collection of nicely formatted pages that tell people who you are as a business and what you do. People expect more. They want to know more about the people at your company and what they are about. They want to know what your customers think of your service. They want the ability to engage you (and your maybe even other customers) in a conversation before they decide to buy.
In short, many of the the old marketing metaphors (a megaphone comes to mind) no longer apply. The paradigm has been inverted. Push is pull; up is largely down; and companies no longer lead the marketing waltz. Instead, they follow the customer’s lead. As a result, company websites without social web functionality are rapidly becoming obsolete.
Consider most of the business websites you see. Most are largely static electronic brochures, not that different from their glossy paper cousins of the 1990s or the garish yellow pages ads that they replaced.
There are a number of obvious flaws with these websites:
- There’s no shared knowledge between users
- No relationship development
- No open dialogues
- No crowd sourced innovation
- No viral marketing mechanisms
- No community building (and therefore no possibility for customer advocacy)
The Next Generation Company Website is a Social Website.
In a social company website, customers have a voice and customers can interact with other customers. Yes, this is scary. It’s also a huge opportunity. Imagine having real-time access to customer feedback on new services or pricing. Imagine a direct window into how your customers feel about your competitors, about their biggest concerns and fears, or the things they admire the most about you and your company. Imagine having your customers advocating for you, effectively selling your products and services for you! All of these insights and possibilities are part of the experience on a social company website.
The next generation of company websites will be powered by social web interactions, allowing companies to create customized branded digital communities – online spaces where their employees, customers and prospects can share ideas and information, collaborate, solve problems and even have some fun.
These sites will be called Social Websites and and they will serve as the hub of a company’s social media presence, woven directly into the fabric of the social web, mobile-accessible and tightly integrated with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, etc. but controlled and branded to the business.
Take a look at your website and ask some simple questions:
- Are people able to engage with us (our staff) in a social way on our own branded company website?
- Can they “friend” our employees? Can they “follow” what they say and what they share?
- Can they “comment” on our products and/or services?
- Can they observe other people have conversations with our staff on the website?
- Can they subscribe to those conversations in order to “follow” the dialogue? Can they jump in if they want?
- Can they easily move back and forth between the public social networks to our company website?
- Can they easily share content across both?
- Can we identify users on our website? Do we know them by their social network identities?
- Can we then socially interact with our customers and prospects both on our website and on LinkedIn and Facebook?
If you are answering yes to most of these, you are doing very well. If not, don’t worry, you will be soon.
The next generation of company website technology has arrived. Don’t wait for the competition to seize your market space on the social web. You can get there first.
Think Social – Act Social!
Nickel River Partners, LLC