The Internet is a Journey and Social Media is its Vessel
Some might view the internet as a race. A sprint, even. Something that you fight through for a few minutes, then stop to catch your breath. Something that’s short and over quickly.
But it’s not a race. It’s not something that’s meant to be won (regardless of what some memes might suggest). It’s not meant intended to be quickly explored. Sure, you can explore it brief sprints. And yes, there are things that can be won throughout it.
Think about everything that comprises the internet: websites, blogs, videos, apps, music, pictures, social networking, and the hundreds of other different functions that it serves. Each of these functions can be explored individually and, before the advent of social media, were explored individually.
But when I imagine the internet as it is — a huge, vast space of information — I think that it should be explored as more than just a collection of bits and pieces of information.
That’s why social media is such an important piece. Before social media and social networking sites, there was really no go-to medium for collecting and organizing data. With social media, we finally have that vessel for exploring the internet.
And Some Businesses Have It All Wrong
Which is why believing that social media will instantaneously convert Facebook users into customers for your business is disillusionment at its finest. Social media is intended to help people to explore the internet as it is. All of the articles, pictures and videos that users might view through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are just small pieces of the extremely fragmented puzzle that is the web.
But some businesses don’t view social networking as a vessel for exploring the internet. Instead, they expect that it should instantly bring customers to their knees. That by just having a Facebook presence, customers should immediately start liking, commenting and ultimately purchasing products from their business. That they should be converts.
And in some cases, they believe that they don’t even need a website, or any other forms of content beyond that. Because social media is everything, right?
Planning Around Social Media
But social media isn’t everything. So, whether it’s a website, a blog or a YouTube channel or something else, every business with a social networking presence must also have something to back that up. Social media is simply a means of accessing and spreading the word about that content.
Which is why every business should have a plan surrounding their social media efforts. What are they trying to drive customers towards? A product? A website? An app?
And then once businesses have planned out where they want customers to go, they must start giving them a reason to do so. With unique, organized content through social media, businesses can drive customers to wherever they want them go.
Any business that focuses solely on social media and expects it to yield amazing results will surely be disappointed. Social media is how people discover a business, sure, but it’s not how they are ultimately converted. It’s the other things that ultimately convince people to sign-up or purchase, or whatever it is that a business wants their customers to do.
That’s why having a good sense of how you want them to interact with your business beyond social media is so important. The internet, and thus online marketing in general, is a long, long journey.