When we build a new website for a client we are very often asked to pull through onto the homepage of the new site their latest Twitter and Facebook posts. This is not a new request and something that is done the world over. There are many WordPress and other CMS plug-ins available that will allow this very easily, too.
However, purely from a marketing perspective and brand management point of view is it the right thing to do?
In this article we discuss the pros and cons of having your Facebook and Twitter feed showing on the homepage of the website.
Let’s start with the basic marketing principle of targeting. Whatever the marketing campaign there is an ultimate goal and that ultimate goal in most instances is to create engagement and awareness with a customer regarding a service that you offer or to encourage them to buy a product that you sell.
In almost all cases, the product or service can be bought or arranged through the website.
As we all know, websites have enabled businesses to achieve sales out of hours and on many fronts with many customers all at the same time. It is quite simply one of the most efficient and effective sales platforms.
So, from a marketing perspective the main aim of any campaign is to drive all potential customers to your website. This is where the most thorough product or service information is and will be the point of sale in most instances.
It’s also a very cost-effective way to sell as it requires the fewest number of humans and therefore costs to the business.
However, as is becoming prevalent in modern marketing, businesses large and small have adopted a kind of malaise towards it and turning a blind eye towards best practice and marketing principles by throwing all of the messaging at all the digital channel walls in the hope that some of it works.
Putting a business’s Facebook or Twitter feeds onto their website is an example of just that.
What Facebook is useful for…
Facebook feeds have a very particular type of messaging and users interact with it in a very different way to that they would with a website. There is no direct sale on Facebook and so ultimately the goal is to drive users from Facebook through a social media focused campaign to the businesses website to make the sale.
Facebook is very good at allowing the business or brand to run multiple campaigns targeting at different demographics with different messages at the same time. And as people use Facebook in their private life much more than they would in business they need to talk at those individuals where they hang out in their private life and drive them to their website for that final point of sale.
People are very often engaged with offers or promotion of new products through Facebook campaigns and this is where businesses benefit from picking customers interests. But ultimately the sale still needs to happen on their website (or the eBay page if they do not have a website).
Twitter is indirect…
Twitter on the other hand is very poor at direct sales. The very essence of Twitter is that people skim read so with only 144 characters the messages are short, punchy and direct. It’s all about information as people require much more information for to reach a point of sale. Historically and analytically Twitter has been good at selling services through the expression of expertise – posting links to blog posts giving tips and updates on the various services for free has proved a successful indirect sales method.
It also allows the business to join the wider conversation by hash tagging their post with topical or relevant tags to ‘inject’ their expression of expertise into the wider audience.
However, in exactly the same way as Facebook, Twitter ultimately needs to drive its visitors to a website for that point of sale.
So, we have established that albeit Facebook and Twitter are excellent channels to reach existing and new people to show off product information, offers and expressions of expertise, they still need to drive those social media channel people to the website for that final point of sale.
With that in mind, the reason to have your Facebook or Twitter feeds shown on your website seems fairly redundant given that if they are saying that they are already at the main point of sale and a place where the most information exists i.e. the website.
Some justify that having these feeds on their website adds richness because the messaging and topics are different to that of the website.
However, we argue that actually it creates a mixed message. If the company does a boxing campaign that they run on Facebook for Facebook users and give them access to a discount or a new product when the user visits the website they should be directed straight to the point of sale and have no need to see the feed from Facebook any more.
Additionally, Twitter is becoming very popular to use as a customer service portal fending off and dealing with customer enquiries in real time. This is an excellent use of the channel and provides a very good customer experience however if you had your Twitter and Facebook feed appearing on your homepage any negativity will also appear on your website. Thereby spreading a negative PR problem.
Keeping control of your message
Additionally, in recent times many businesses have had their Facebook and Twitter channels hacked and unscrupulous organisations take control. But merely having the Facebook and Twitter feeds appearing on the website means that this negative hacked message also appears on the website.
In summary, the question of whether you should have your Facebook and Twitter featuring on your website should really be one of asking if the business wants to put all of his eggs in one basket when it comes to communication.
It seems about-face to have the leaflet giving you a discount pizza also stuck on the outside of the pizza box that you just collected a result of that same discount pizza campaign. The leaflet is utterly wasted because it’s already done its job and got you to the pizza place so why do I need to see it again?
They are all different channels with different ways of communicating and should be treated as such are not merged into one great big digital shout out into the void.