Like a lot of things I write about, this one comes from requests I receive often from clients. "Put my Facebook feed on my website somewhere." My answer (just about) every single time is no. Here's why.

The problem with this request is that almost 100% of the time there's no (sound) reasoning behind why we're being asked to do it beyond "I hope people will see it and like my Facebook page." But when I probe deeper, I'm often shocked at the lack of planning that accompanies these requests. When I respond, my first question is always, "Why do you want people to like your Facebook page?"

Sounds pretty simple right? It's not. You'd be surprised how many small businesses have a presence on Facebook simply because they feel like they just have to. They don't have a plan or a vision for what they'll do with those likes once they get them or how they're going to convert those Facebook likes to dollars and business. If you haven't first sat down and developed a real plan for your social media marketing efforts that identifies why you're even utilizing it in the first place, then I'm certainly not going to help you promote that effort (or lack thereof) on your beautiful, brand new website we just built for you.

This is the single most important aspect of your social media plan, why you're bothering to invest your time and money into it at all. Where and how are you going to get your return? If you can't answer that question right away, you need to take a step back and reevaluate.

Once you know why you're on Facebook and what you're going to do with those likes, the next question to ask is why you want all of your Facebook content to be syndicated on your website. For most businesses, the real opportunity to convert a browser to a customer occurs on their website, not their Facebook page. While this is certainly not true for everyone in every case, it tends to be true far more often than not, especially for small businesses.

Assuming this is true for you, your other channels should be there to drive traffic to your website, not the other way around. Once you have a prospect on your website there are a number of options to convert that visitor to a follower on social media. For example, if you're reading this article on the Searles Graphics or Searles Media website right now and you have an active authentication cookie with Facebook, you're going to see ads from us for other articles for the next few months. Those ads are meant to entice you to like our Facebook page because that's one of the places we promote our content, and I hope you find the content we produce valuable enough to want to see more of it.

I'm also hoping you'll use one of the methods we've provided to subscribe to our email list where you'll get popular content sent to you once a month. In both of these cases I'm utilizing the channels available to me to drive you back to my website where I have total control over your experience and the items I'd like for you to see. There are two primary goals I'm trying to achieve with all of this. First, if you're not already a client of mine, I'm hoping to prove to you why you need to be. Second, if you are a client of mine, I'm hoping to reinforce why you deal with me outside of our normal communication mechanisms. Here I can be a little more long-winded (and often more honest) than I can in our regular communications to add more value to your organization.

This is why you don't see a Facebook feed anywhere on this website. You also won't see the content of the emails we send to our subscribers either. If you want that content, you need to take action to view them on those platforms. We segment our content to target each platform individually, and you'll get a unique experience and distinct value from being a part of both of those channels (or Twitter, or YouTube, or Instagram, etc.).

But what if your ultimate goal is to get people to your Facebook page? The strategy is the same, just in reverse. Rather than designing your social media content to drive traffic to your website, design your website content to drive traffic to your Facebook page. Simply syndicating that content on your website doesn't give someone a reason to like your Facebook page. They don't need to, they can get it all on your website without following you. Instead, your website needs to make a sale. Prove to that visitor why they need to go to your Facebook page and click the like button (or the one that's embedded on your sales page).

Integrating your marketing efforts is about much more than just slapping an embedded feed somewhere. Start with evaluating the goals of each of the mediums you participate in and figure out the best way to maximize the value of each to get the most out of your marketing investment.

Photo: Flickr | danny O.

Chris Searles is President of Searles Media and specializes in helping small businesses maximize their available resources to market themselves effectively using a wide variety of media. Visit Website

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