My clients often ask me about social media and their website. Should they have one, or the other, or both? If they’re on social media, do they really need a website? And if they have a website, do they have to do social media too? It all takes time etc….. (yes I know!)
I’m not even going to bother going into the pros and cons of each as that is a blog post in itself, this post is about what I see as their key interaction.
It all reminds me of the time I went to Marrakech in Morocco, and spent time shopping in the souk. It’s a confusing, crowded, loud, busy labyrinth, with people pushing past each other, you can’t see where you are going, you are looking for something in particular but you can’t find it….
Meanwhile, there are paths and alleys going off in all directions, shops inside caves, shops inside shops, shops up steps, stalls in corners, backrooms, dead ends, secret places where only those ‘in the know’ go. The medina is a bit like how social media can be. It can feel like you are shouting into a loud pit in which everyone else is shouting too. Just as the souk is overwhelming, and visitors may decide to go back to the square and have a fresh orange juice instead, so can social media be.
Yet think about it like this, somehow, despite the crowd, noise, confusion and the lack of a definitive map, people trying to navigate the medina do find the shopkeeper or stallholder they are looking for. Somehow…..they ask people, they go down dead ends and come back again, they turn a corner and there he is…. they do manage to find the little old man selling the glimmering babouche slippers in the exact shade of pink they were looking for.
What is key though is that even once they’ve found the slippers, the convincing, the proving that this particular babouche slipper is the one to have, the exchange of money – all done away from the crowd of the souk. Inside the shop. It is done in a calmer environment, where it’s possible to ask questions, find out more information, have a good look at what you are buying, see a few more examples to convince you that this man is offering you a good deal.
Yes, you’ve got it: social media is like the souk, and the shop and the conversation are the website. Just as vendors in the souk know they need to get you into their shop, hence the cajouling, the beckoning to passing tourists, so people interested in you and your offerings need to come off social media and look around in a quieter space – your website. It’s where people can find out more about you, understand you and what you are offering.
And no Moroccan salesman worth his salt simply walks around the medina shouting and shouting with no shop or stall to go to. What would be the point? He’d drive himself crazy. I am working with a few rising instagram stars at the moment who are in danger of doing the same thing. Their lives are being taken over by maintaining their Instagram but with all their followers trapped there and nowhere to take them on to, they are making no money and feel as though they are putting in huge amounts of work for very little return.
So the answer to the question of whether you need a website AND social media is a yes, and whether you can have one and not the other is a no. Now, anyone know where I can get some Moroccan table lamps?