Here's a not-so-radical proposition: You should spend more time on your own website than on social media, if you want to market your brand effectively. There are four primary reasons why that proposition is true, and they're listed below, but they generally boil down to one truth: What you pay attention to is what grows stronger. If your goal is to generate and capture more leads for your brand, your first priority should be your own content, on your own site – and here's why:
- Social media's best use is driving traffic to your site
- Your content makes you a leader in your field
- Social media can be a time suck
- Social is reactive; Blogging is proactive
Social media's best use is driving traffic to your site
In property valuation, there's a concept known as highest and best use. Basically, it says that all things being equal, when a property is put to its most effective natural use, it's more valuable. Social media marketing also has a highest and best use: Driving traffic to your website.
There's no doubt there's a place for social media in a smart inbound marketing plan. After all, HubSpot's Marketing Statistics page tells us that over 80% of B2B marketers do some kind of social media marketing. If it were worthless, they wouldn't bother, right? But social by itself doesn't sell.
Social media marketing can increase lead generation, when you use it to send traffic to your site. There (we hope), visitors will browse your site and its content, and hopefully like what they see enough to surrender their email address in exchange for more of that valuable content.
But what happens if they don't like what they see? Well, to put it bluntly, you lose on both fronts. You lose them as an email subscriber. (That means you lose out on email marketing, with its $40 return on investment for every $1 spent.) You probably lose them on social media, too. They gave you a shot, but you didn't deliver.
The only fix for that is to make your site and content your first priority. Run A/B tests to see what works best for your audience. Try different calls to action and varying placements of your opt-in box and advertisements. Test different types of content to see whether your visitors prefer video to text, or infographics to podcasts. In short, prioritize the experience of your site visitors over everything else, and you may increase both conversions and sales.
Your content makes you a leader in your field
Social media just isn't as effective as blogging at raising your brand's authority level. Your content does a much better job of convincing your audience that you're good at what you do. If properly promoted, your own content also improves your brand recognition more than curating and sharing other people's content. As Darren Rowse of Problogger put it:
My own opinion with social networks is that they're not all bad (and you don't need to choose between blogging and social media) – but that I see them as a secondary and supportive strategy to support my primary activities – those being my blogs. Social networks have been useful as ‘straws' in the overall ‘nest' of my brand.
Social media can be a time suck
It's almost a cliche at this point: Social media can become a time suck, if you don't manage it carefully and approach it strategically. And even then, it's far too easy to get lost in the social aspect of social media, to the detriment of your own site and content. When you're spending your time on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you're not spending that time focused on improving your own site.
Additionally, it's just not realistic to think you can spend less time on your site and more on social, and still maintain the level of quality you'll need to achieve in your content. After all, you need a mix of content types (e.g. blog posts, infographics, videos) and styles (e.g. thought leadership, how-to's, buyer's guides) to reach your prospects at the various stages of your brand's customer journey.
Make no mistake: It takes time to craft the kind of high-quality content that creates the conversions you want. That's especially true if you want your content to rank well in organic search listings, where posts of 2,000 – 3,000 words or so seem to get preference over much shorter ones.
Social is reactive; Blogging is proactive
Social media is primarily a communication channel, whereas content marketing and blogging are aimed more at educating and persuading your audience. That's what makes social media such a great customer service tool. It allows you to connect immediately with your audience and prospects, and communicate with them about your brand, products, or services. You can / should also monitor other conversations on social media to gauge your effectiveness, spot problems as they occur, and address them quickly to prevent escalation or in worst case a social shitstorm.
In other words, social media supports your content marketing efforts. By definition, that means social media is not, and should not be, your primary focus. When social works to support and promote your content marketing plan, you're using the right tools for the right job. Otherwise, it's like trying to hammer in a nail with a saw. Sure you could do it, but it's much easier and much more effective – not to mention less time-intensive – to use the tool that was made for that specific job.
Wrapping up: Spend more time on your website than on social media
So the next time you have an hour or so to spend, ask yourself what matters more to you in this moment: some feel-good interactions with individual followers on social media, or a better user experience for many visitors to your site which might pay off on the long run?
Don't ignore social, but don't let it become your primary focus. Use it to promote your content, curate other helpful pieces of content that you know your audience will benefit from, and provide excellent customer service. How much time do you spend on social media versus your website on average each week? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.