As social media channels become outposts for companies, their websites need to keep up. The big challenge: the two concepts are diametrically opposed. Build a compelling, optimized website to bring customers (and potential customers) to you, versus establish social media outposts to go where your customers are. Enter the new art and technique of the Social Media Landing Page (SMLP for short). The SMLP is a bridge between the two, both to add legitimacy to social channels like a Twitter account but also risking pulling customers away from your website. Companies who establish these pages are trying to give the subtle hint of “Nah, doesn’t bother me if you leave our domain” with “We want to hear from you.” Here are three examples of big companies who have integrated their social media presence into their websites. How do you think they do?
Tagline: “Continue the Conversation”
AT&T is in the midst of more press than you can quantify lately for many reasons. Many might not understand the breadth of which AT&T is reaching out to connect with customers via social channels. Enter the AT&T SMLP. AT&T is using Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, Blogs and even Posterous to build a footprint. Intregrated into the “About AT&T” page on their domain, it’s easy to find as “Social Media” in the 2nd level navigation.
Tagline: “Everyone’s talking”
Best Buy took a slightly different approach. Their recently launched (still says “new!”) SMLP is called “Community” and can be found at the bottom of their home page. They showcase how they are leveraging forums, ratings & reviews, Twitter (also via their Twelpforce), blogs and other social media channels throughout. I like that BestBuy is showcasing their IdeaX community where customers can collaborate on ideas for the company.
Tagline: “What people are saying about Windows 7”
For the recent Windows 7 launch, Microsoft built in conversations directly into the Windows home page on their domain. Their clicking through to “See what everyone’s saying” brings you to an innovative SMLP that not only shows links to follow the brand’s presence elsewhere but actually aggregates the conversations on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and other social networks. A customer has to leave the site to participate, just like the others, but right on the page loading in relative real time are actual comments. This is a great technique but requires a lot of confidence in the product, to say the least. I’m curious if Microsoft has any automated filtering on the feeds it brings in. They aren’t filtering for negative comments – one in the screenshot I took was a comment on how “Windows 7 killed my laptop.”
Of the three here, I like Microsoft’s approach the best – it’s more innovative and interactive to bring conversations and topics directly into the site. It’s also very easy to find and has a simple URL. What other SMLPs have you come across? Are these signs that social media is here to stay? So many other questions open up for me, including how companies will optimize the pages – to drive followers? To engage in more conversations? At least they are embracing social media channels head on in their web strategy.
Photo credit: studiolit via Flickr