Forget your website, create a social footprint

On a webinar last week, I briefly covered an idea I call the information eco-system (or social footprint) and received a lot of questions about it.  This is a critical concept for businesses today so I thought I should expand on the idea.

If you did a web search for you or your company three years ago, the result would have been a list of websites.  If you conducted the same search today, you may get LinkedIn profiles, YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations, maps, perhaps even tweets from Twitter.  In fact, as the social web has emerged, visits to traditional websites have declined dramatically for many companies.

The implication is that if you have a website and think that’s all you need any more, you’re not understanding the social web.

People have the opportunity to find you (and your competitors) in lots of places now and you should have a systematic, mindful strategy to populate this information eco-system with content that will support your business objectives … and hopefully drive people back to your website. Put your information out there where the people are. Then give them a reason to go back to learn more at your website.

Let me give you a dramatic example of this in action. Recently I posted a slide deck on SlideShare for the convenience of my college students.  I went back to the site an hour later to make sure the slides had uploaded properly and 251 people had already viewed the deck.  None of them were my students, since they didn’t know about it yet!   Those 251 visitors to my deck were vitally interested in a presentation called Social Media 101 and were high potential contacts for me, right?  I added a slide at the end directing people to visit my website, blog, follow me on Twitter, etc.

Another little example: I recently gave a talk to economic development leaders and asked them what they would get if they googled their cities.  If the answer is YouTube videos of drunken conventioneers, they better get out there and populate the social web with videos that tell their story THEIR way.  If you don’t systematically populate the web with your story, you’re abdicating the brand management for your organization.

So, create and own the social footprint of your brand everywhere you possibly can … or at least to the extent that your resources can support.

Does this make sense?  What ideas do you have about this concept?

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