Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ads Linking to Social Sites First?

I am a bit confused these days with advertising. Why do companies advertise to drive people to their social sites first? I don't understand. I watch TV and I see major retailer with links to Facebook and Twitter, not their direct sites. I watch news, and the shows tell people to follow them on Twitter, not goto the channel site first.

I do understand the value of social channels and building relationships with customers and a brand through which ever platform they use. I don't understand confusing the customer across a site (the main dot com or whatever), YouTube channel, Twitter feed, Facebook fan page, etc. All the social aspects should be channeled from the main site outward. Integrate these services into your site and then branch out. A good example is mentioned here around subsites, Top 10 Information Architecture Mistakes, look at number 5. What if you advertise on a channel, say TV, which I do have, and tell me to go to your social site, which I don't have an account for? This happens to me a lot, because I am not on Facebook, and I see Facebook links which I click and then require a sign in. At least make the content public verses private, or an account required to view.

Maybe this is too expensive for some companies, I get that. You can still take advantage of a platform and integrate that to the site, verse driving users to the platform then the site. You still need to maintain your data somewhere first right? Where are all the source videos you added to YouTube? Host them on the site. Where are the source images to posted to Facebook? Host them on the site. There are nice easy ways to have embedded video and have usable image libraries on a site these days.

Why?

These external feeds, or platforms, will not exist forever. Look at MySpace, it's dying. Remember AOL? Platforms come and go, but a direct channel to a customer or visitor should always exist as the center point. One thing that worries me, but I like at the same time, is customer service via Twitter. You have a problem, you interact with the company to get help on Twitter via their support account. What happens when Twitter goes away, changes, or becomes unpopular? Everyone that used that channel to get help, now needs to re-learn the process somewhere else. I would also like to know how the companies integrate the service data back into their enterprise for tracking and reporting? How do you tag my support feed with my profile in your organization to better understand me as a customer and the history I've had?

This goes for personal sites too, or bio sites if you will. I even get confused managing my own information. Right now, that center point is mostly this blog (one day I need a .com). Then I have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Delicious, etc. I was watching CNN and Anderson Cooper has many ways to get in contact with him, he has two Twitter feeds, two sites, and likely something else I can't think of.

I would say in general, link to your dot com in your advertisements, not your social sites. But what do I know.

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