SMM2I’m finally over the head cold from Hell. It took almost a full week to restore my voice. But, a blog break for feeling puny last week didn’t stop people from asking me more about how social media marketing could help their small business, particularly how social media marketing differs from what goes on a website.

How Does Social Media Differ From What I Put on My Website?

I liken a website to being a Command Central, where you showcase your product or service and include all the calls to action to make a purchase happen. You probably have a great array of information specific to your product or service, you have pricing, you might have an email opt-in section to be able to send more information about what you sell, and you might even have a testimonials or reviews section that tells everyone visiting your site just how great your product or service is.

Generally, though, a website is rather static and the end result of a search. It won’t necessarily drive a purchase simply because someone casually and accidently arrived at your page and you have a “BUY NOW!” button available. Certainly, calls to actions must be an integral part of your website. Afterall, the sale is the goal. However, in an ever changing techno world , it’s important to understand how people are finding you and why they click on your page at all.

If visits to the websites for purchases are the desired end result, then social media platforms are the driving force of traffic to that end. They are not the same, but do rely on each other.

The Social of Media

Let’s face it, more and more print ads are finding their way to the bottoms of recycling bins and many more television ads are channel surfed or fast forwarded away. But, people like to talk. We have an opinion on everything and we like to share those opinions any chance we get.

For example, a friend had a great looking and delicious meal at a local restaurant. Chances are that friend Instagrammed a photo of it, or Tweeted it, or even posted a Facebook status about it, with the photo, of course. Because, we must tell and show everyone we know just how incredible this experience was. That, and we want to see all the “likes” from our friends who may then comment they are jealous, hope we had a good time, can’t wait to go there, and so on. The foodie photo got people talking, socializing, and engaging together.

Now, take that meal at a restaurant and apply that social sharing scenario to a clothing boutique, a lawn service, a jewelry maker, any small business. Wouldn’t you like to potentially reach a few hundred people in an instant, instead of waiting and hoping the coupon flier you sent to 1,000 people didn’t end up at the bottom of the recycling bin? And, this is before you even spend a dime on social media site advertising which, depending on your budget, can potentially reach tens of thousands in one click.

Trust, Relationships, and Your Brand

As of a month ago, “92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising (source: Webbed Feet)“, this cited from BarnRaisers’, Rob Petersen in his article 38 Surprising Facts About Trust in Social Media.  92% .  If we can’t trust our friends and family, who can we trust? Google ads? Bing results? Yahoo! search? Sure. They provide search results based on our inquiries. How do you guarantee, though, that you come up on the first page?

Or, you can increase your online brand presence. Start building some trust and loyalty online, so that customers and potential customers start interacting with your business and putting your brand on the social map. You have to put yourself out there. It’s like any other relationship. You have to let others in and see the real you, the personality behind the brand. It’s sharing and listening. It’s asking questions. It’s providing a solution to customers’ problems. It’s sharing a special loyalty discount to say “thank you”. It’s all to establish and nurture a relationship that ultimately drives them back to your website for the nitty-gritty info and to hit that “BUY NOW!” button with confidence and trust.