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Integrating Social Media with Your Site

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After reading Stop Building Facebook’s Brand from The Anti-Social Media I decided to write a follow up post to further elaborate on how I think companies should utilize social media to shape their brand and business.  The majority of big and small businesses have a website that houses all of their online content.  Ideally they will then drive traffic to their content via social media, online advertising and print advertising.  What was pointed out in The Anti-Social Media post is that they are seeing some companies driving their traffic directly to a place like Facebook.

If you truly want to invest in sites like Facebook and Twitter you should integrate them into your own website.  Both of these sites offer API’s that you can use to wrap your brand around Facebook and Twitter’s design, not vice versa.  You shouldn’t stop there though.  You should also use these services how they are intended to be used… interacting with your viewers/fans/customers on a personal level in a way you cannot do on your website.

Another thing with driving customers directly to you website is your analytics.  Yes, Facebook and Twitter have basic analytics, but neither is as in-depth as Google Analytics or Omniture.  Analytics on your site should be and usually is highly customizable to track campaigns; analytics on Facebook and Twitter is not.

You are also limited to the features these social media companies offer you.  This not only puts a hamper on the progression of technology on the web but, it also limits your ability to stand out from your competition.

I’m not saying don’t use the features on these social networks, what I’m saying is use their features properly.  By keeping everything in one location you have more control over your brand, your analytics and your overall customer experience.  Another thing to keep in mind is the infamous ‘Fail Whale’.  When these social media sites go down, your visitors will have a place to go (your website).  These social media sites may not always be as hot as they are now; look at myspace.

What are some examples that you have seen of companies misusing social media?

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