The Difference Between Social Media and Your Website

I listened to a webinar today that focused on public relations planning considerations for 2010. During this webinar, which was presented by Vocus, the speaker reviewed results from a recent survey completed by Vocus subscribers.

vocuslogoFor those who don’t know, Vocus is an online media research and tracking tool that is used by public relations professionals worldwide. It also happens to be the main service that we use here at VantagePoint. Vocus helps build media contact lists, distribute press releases, manage editorial calendar opportunities, and much more.

Here are some highlights of the research results:

• 50% of those surveyed said public relations planning for 2010 will be more difficult

• 42% said that their budget would not change

• 51% said they would invest in new technology in 2010

• 53% plan to use social media monitoring

These numbers don’t really surprise me, but it is good to see research to back up my assumptions. What did surprise me, however, was one question asked by a participant after the webinar. A listener asked the question, “If I already have a website, then do I really need to create a Facebook fan page or group?” When comparing the two tools – the website and social media – they should be used to accomplish two different objectives.

A website should be used to help people (potential customers) find your business and to learn more about your offering. Social media, on the other hand, should be used to build community among your audience. Your audience can be anyone from employees, investors, customers, partners, the community, etc. If you have a need to communicate directly with one or more of those audiences, then you should consider using social media. Your website can only get you so far with communication, because it’s one-way. Social media is designed to provide a venue for two-way conversation.

Websites can have interactive elements to them, but typically, they include only information about the company, the products or services they sell, and how to get in touch with someone. If building community can help your company be more profitable or more efficient, then start thinking beyond the pages of your website.

For more information on Vocus, visit www.vocus.com. If you would like a copy of the webinar presentation with survey results, just give me your email address and I’ll forward it on. Happy planning for 2010!

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