Recently I was checking out the job listings in the paper, trying to see if I could find anything for my daughter, a recent college graduate. I saw one listing that sounded somewhat interesting, but couldn’t tell what type of business it was, so I decided to check out the website for the business to learn more about it. I’m not sure whether I should be surprised or not, but what I found was truly disappointing.
On the website there was no content. Oh there were words and pictures, but they were set up in such a way that the entire page was an image, including the text. Guess what. Google doesn’t see that. As far as the search engines are concerned, that website might not even exist.
When I clicked on the link about the company and their staff, I wasn’t surprised at all that this B2B company was comprised of 20 people: 19 of them men, and only one or two of them were under the age of 40. This might explain why the website and the rest of their online properties and marketing were so bad. This is one reason why it’s important to bring in some new blood from time to time. We old guys tend to be the last ones to get on board with understanding the importance of a strong online presence.
I was a bit encouraged when I saw that they had some semblance of a social media presence. When I clicked on the well-placed links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, that encouragement quickly turned to discouragement. The links took me away from their web site, rather than opening them up in a new tab or window. You should never take people away from your website. Once they click away, they just might not come back. In fact, just about every link I clicked on from their site took me away. It seemed as though nothing with any sort of functionality actually resided on their site. And, of course, there was no blog.
Now on to the Facebook page: The page had been created in June 2010, and the last update was November of 2011. And the page wasn’t even named after the business, as in “Industrial Lawn Equipment”. No, it was called something along the lines of “Industrial Lawn Equipment Fan Page”. It’s hard enough for a business to build the number of likes on its page, especially as a B2B, but to refer to it as a “fan page”? I’m not a big fan of that. Not to mention the exhortation in the “about” section asking us to “check back often for updates and new info.” Don’t tell us to do that if you’re not going to follow through.
And then there is Twitter. They had their account protected, so I couldn’t see their 35 tweets, or find out who their 12 followers were. Clearly those numbers were low, but why were they protecting their account? Because they didn’t know any better. I’m shocked at the number of small businesses that actually have protected Twitter accounts. I recently was followed by a new online music publication from our area, but couldn’t follow them back because of a protected account. Don’t you want people to follow you? I requested a follow on that one, but here it is, two weeks later, and they haven’t approved me yet.
These sorts of things indicate a mindset that doesn’t understand social media. For them, social media is merely an add-on; something nice that they do when they get the chance. It’s not a part of their overall business model and marketing plan; it’s merely that “other thing, and they approach it in the same way they approach traditional media.
I use this one company as an example, because I see these sorts of things all the time. Some say we need to stop talking about the simple how-tos of social media and blogging, but I disagree. As long as there are still a large number of businesses who:
- Don’t have websites
- Have horrible websites
- Have no social media presence
- Have a horrible social media presence
well, then I think we need to keep talking about it and educating them.
And remember, this is a company comprised almost exclusively of middle-aged men. They most likely won’t “get it” on their own. This is why it’s important for a company to look outside themselves to find the right person to guide them along the way. Someone who can educate them and help them create a strong, fully integrated online presence and strategy. Someone who knows how to maneuver in the online space.
We live online and conduct business online. If you’re not online, and easily findable online, then for many of us, you don’t exist. You can’t get found online unless you are providing people with the proper road map or even breadcrumb trail to bring them to you.
What are you doing to make sure you get found online? Do you understand the importance of a strong online presence? And how are you going to get there?
- Six Step Process to Clean Up a Company’s Online Presence (spinsucks.com)
- How Fortune 500 Companies Use Social Media (v3im.com)
- The Commoditization of Expertise and Why You Should Never Trust a Guru (dannybrown.me)
- Your brain is wired for Facebook (really) (businessesgrow.com)
- Are You Prepared To Investigate A Social Media Crime Scene? (v3im.com)