I’ve been talking to a lot of people in the last few weeks who have a need to develop a more established presence on the web. This is a pretty common question in online marketing: how do I develop a website that produces results?
The answer is different things for different people/businesses, but you can rest assured that higher levels of traffic is practically a sure-fire strategy. So how do you build a following for your site? Blogging is a great way to get involved in the conversation online but that is a difficult for some businesses. First, there is the most obvious problem- the time required to generate unique and interesting content.
A couple of businesses that we talked to this week are either so bogged down in bureaucracies or regulated by compliance issues that blogging in a timely manner isn’t really an option. Sure, they could get 6 months of content together and approved and then roll it out in a phased manner (which is actually one of the strategies we’re suggesting), but let’s assume for the sake of this post that you can’t get your blog on.
A great strategy for developing a following on your site is to build a community around it. This is exactly what Ning was designed for- to allow anyone to build their own social network. Great idea, but I’m not sold on that strategy for most of the people we talk to. Primarily because you still have to rely on building your own following from the ground up. That can take a lot of time and valuable resources that you might otherwise invest differently, given the choice.
Here’s what we’ve been suggesting to a few companies lately: use the tremendous success of Facebook to take advantage of the viral nature of the Internet. Facebook Connect gives us some amazing things that we can do on YOUR site so that you’re piggy-backing off of the fact that so many people already have Facebook profiles and lots of friends on those profiles. Why start from scratch when you can just plug into that??
You can find out more about Facebook Connect here. If you need to develop a following for your site, this is a great place to start! Granted, you will probably have to get some development resources involved to do so, but you’re still going to come out much better in the long-run than by trying to build your own ‘siloed’ social network with its own profiles, users, friends, and logins. This is the direction that you’re going to see social networks moving in the very near future. Its already happening for some of the clients that we’re going to be working with!
To find out more about the future of social networks, check out this presentation on that topic on SlideShare:
If you want to learn more or just want to talk over some ideas, give us a shout! This is interesting stuff, we love hearing new ideas and being able to talk about how we can help push social networking to the next level.