Post by Kris Schroeder

We are all finding out that we need to have many places for people to find us on the web. A website alone is not enough. So, we have our personal profile on LinkedIn, a personal page and/or business page on Facebook and maybe a Twitter or YouTube account. There are pros and cons to both ways of doing things.

With a website, most people are at the mercy of their web designer/developer. First, we have to find someone that can setup a website. That involves interviewing a few companies to see what their style is and what costs are involved. Once a company is decided upon, the deposit is made and they are given the go-ahead to start work. There is a time factor involved here also. Sometimes these sites are built quickly and go live quickly. Other times people are stuck waiting for a while before the site is finally completed.

Once the site is up and running, there are times we have to go back to the company who setup the site to get changes made. This is better now than it was a few years ago since there are many systems that allow for the business to make their own changes, rather than going back to the developer. The website developers are still needed, however, when bigger changes are needed. If you want to add some fancy new features to the website, you’re back to the time and money that your web company is asking for.

So now we have sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, to name a few. These can be setup at little to no cost. This can be totally free if you do it all yourself. Payment comes to play if you want a professional to write your LinkedIn bio or shoot a video for you. You can pay someone to design a background for your Twitter page, but there are free options for that also.

So far, the social media option sounds great! Lower cost and easier to do on your own. There are lots of items in the pro list. So, what’s the problem? The big con here is that you are at the mercy of the big sites. When they decide to make a change, it affects everyone. Facebook has re-invented the way other websites connected to them. When that happens, website owners are talking to their developers again to be sure everything works the right way. LinkedIn recently added a way to follow updates from companies on their site. That’s great news! But is your company paying attention to what gets updated? How about who is listed as working there? I’ve seen some big mistakes that have been taken out of a seemingly innocent profile. Twitter frequently suspends accounts that might be breaking their rules and they think you might be a spammer. Spammers are caught this way, but legitimate accounts are suspended at times also.

Many of the changes the social media sites are making are good changes. However, if we are not prepared, we’re left scrambling to catch up to the next thing they are doing.

The bottom line is that there are pros and cons to both. We also need both, since our own website and the social media sites work together.

Kris Schroeder began designing and developing websites in 1996. Since then, that has grown to include blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook business pages. She has helped many businesses develop and build a social media marketing plan. This includes various types of businesses, from a web startup company, to accounting firms, to retail establishments, to her own nature photography. Today she consults with businesses to develop a cohesive plan with their website, blog and social marketing efforts. Check out her blog at Media By Kristina.