All That Traffic – But Where Are You Diverting It?

In Marketing Week yesterday morning, there was an interesting piece on the diversion of traffic or ‘footfall’ on brand and company websites. There are a growing number of groups who maintain that having your company website as the first port of call is the right and proper way of managing your online branding. However there are also new factions uprising against this point of view, claiming instead that directing ‘fans’ or clients to your company Facebook page is now the best way to improve brand/consumer relations.

There are good reasons for both of these beliefs to have a grounding in common-sense – after all, Facebook pages have been the benefactors of a number of changes and upgrades over the past 18 months, and currently they are a fantastic place to co-ordinate offers, competitions and relay information to your customers and clients in short bursts (you might want to check the Facebook pages terms of service before setting  up though – there are a lot of rules against give-aways and ‘encouraged’ liking).

Your website is your professional face. It should be the hub of all your activities, and your Facebook page should relate to it, rather than the other way around. Facebook traffic is important in its own right, but ideally you should be looking for ways to encourage that traffic to view your website. Never underestimate the power and importance of a well-designed, easily navigable and smart-looking site to boost the amount of viewings you receive on your blogs, news, articles and listings. A company without a Facebook page might be missing out on a few likes, but a company without a comprehensive and attractive website runs the risk of looking unprofessional in this day and age.

It all depends on the message you want to send out. Companies looking to promote themselves in a more ‘fun’ way (usually towards a youth/young adult market) use Facebook pages as a way of interacting with their ‘fans’ and encouraging a ‘relationship’ which builds up brand loyalty. Some excellent examples of this in action can be found on the Cravendale and Skittles pages, where fans are openly requested to submit their own jokes, pictures and take part in other interactive activities such as polls and quizzes. More corporate accounts can be seen to use Facebook for networking and news updates, as well as sharing offers and providing customer information, like UPS and British Airways. No matter their target demographics though, companies still have to have a felly-operational and easily navigable website for customers and followers, fans and clients to use. It is your base, or for want of better terminology, it’s your storefront. Perhaps you do make more money at your remote locations, but metaphorically speaking you still need to have that heavily-branded, welcoming shop for your customers to look around. It might not be where you make your big commissions, but you’d be very surprised how your reputation would dip if you suddenly ceased to have it there. How many well-known brands can you think of who have ditched their website entirely in favour of a Facebook page?

Perhaps that’s proven the point a bit.