Training Provider’s Website Guide Part 3: Social Media Website
This is part of a series of posts we’ll be doing about “Starting a Training Business“. We want this series to be as helpful as possible to all of our readers, so if you have any questions/comments/clarifications/ideas on how we can improve, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
The easiest way to get going with a website is to simply use a Facebook or LinkedIn page. These pages are very easy to setup and most people already have a Facebook or LinkedIn account. They’ll let you add in the basic information for your business and you can quickly promote or inform your contacts that you’re up and running without too much effort.
- Create your Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
- LinkedIn page creation: http://learn.linkedin.com/company-pages/
- Google Plus page creation: http://www.google.com/+/business/
We don’t recommend a social only web presence long term. While it’s great to get up and running quickly, it can project a less professional persona to potential customers. Exceptions to this would be catered or personalised training services that rely on projecting a personal feel and get a lot of value from the photo sharing or group discussion elements that social networks offer. Even then, we’d still recommend fronting these pages with a proper website for appearances.
Now Forward Your Domain
Most registrars (including those we recommended in our first guide) will allow you to forward your domain to a specific web destination. Once you have your page setup, login to your registrar and forward the domain to your url. That way when you type in “yourGreatTrainingBusinessURL.com” it’ll go to your Facebook or LinkedIn or GooglePlus page. This also “future proofs” you if you switch strategies in the future – simply forward your domain to another destination and you don’t have to reprint marketing materials or business cards.
Measuring your Social Only Web Presence
The social only approach means you’ll have built in tools for monitoring engagement, provided by each of the services, so the two Google tools we discussed before won’t apply, but you will want to setup Pingdom to check on things and you’ll need your lead capture mechanism. Some people may forego the Pingdom bit with this strategy as there’s not much to be done if one of the social networks goes down, but it can alert you to problems with your domain forwarding and at least prevent surprise if there’s an issue that someone calls to your attention.
Publicise Your Web Presence
All social networks have tools to help you invite or share your new pages with users you know. We recommend carefully considering your strategy here to avoid double-invites (most people are members of more than one network) and also to think how you’ll approach each network with its slightly different focus.
Facebook is great for highly social sharing. Photos, updates, events, and fun announcements go really well here, and most use Facebook as their personal friends network. LinkedIn is predominantly the domain of business professionals and is geared less towards photos or personal sharing, and more towards networking and useful links that help business professionals in their careers. Some companies choose to use Facebook for customers, and LinkedIn for prospects and lead building. Some companies don’t differentiate. We simply recommend you spend a minute or two and think about how you will approach each network. Regardless, most companies use Twitter as a “common denominator” network that shares content from all networks.
Utilize Your Web Presence
The only thing worse than not having a web presence is having a web presence that hasn’t been updated in quite some time. This signals to visitors immediately that you either don’t care or aren’t around anymore, and neither is desirable! We recommend simply setting aside no more than 15 minutes twice a week to write a blog post, share a relevant bit of information, or simply reformat and improve your existing content. This will put you ahead of many other training companies out there who take a “Fire and Forget” approach and will pay off in the long run.
Take a Break and Consider Your Next Steps
Now that you have a web presence accessible by a domain name, you can evaluate whether other strategies are right for you to pursue. Take a break, get used to the rhythm of updating your social network properties, and stay tuned for the next part of our guide: a Full Website!Twitter Facebook Google+ Linkedin Email