I recently commented on a blog post where the writer argued that we should all
keep the “Share with your Friends” buttons, but
ditch the “Follow me on _______” Buttons.
I COMPLETELY DISAGREE!
For the record the two work in polar opposites. Let me use just twitter as an example…
At the top of this post you’ll see a horizontal row of icons. On the right side is a Tweet Button. That’s for you! With a click you can share this post with your sphere of influence (your twitter followers). That’s excellent because with your help, my posts can reach people I don’t know, the people in your sphere.
Top right of my sidebar (right under the big “Hire Mike”) is a row of those social media icons again, only all of these lead to my profile on each of the social media platforms. Click on one of these and you are brought directly to that profile where you can follow me, add me, friend me, or Like me. This is what the blog writer wants me to delete.
Why does he want me to delete them? He feels that you, the reader will be drawn away from the important stuff here on my blog. I admit, there’s a spot of truth in that.
You’ll notice that these icons are smack dab in between my Phone Number and my Email Address. That’s because I look at these as alternative ways in which we can have a conversation – essentially, this is my Contact Me section.
While we might prefer someone contact us by email or phone, or by filling out a form – that choice isn’t up to us, or shouldn’t be up to us. It’s should be up to the visitor as to what channel they want to use to contact us.
We all know people who have distinct preferences in their form of conversations. My friend Clint Miller was notorious for picking up the phone and calling people. He was a phone guy. He’d get upset if he visited your site and couldn’t find a phone number in 10 seconds. He’d get even more upset if he got your voicemail – or worse yet, you Time Blocked! Tamara Dorris and Amanda Wernick are tweeters – the best way to converse with them is through a DM on twitter. Patrick Healy is always into G+. Others are of the email only, Facebook message me, or even the TEXT ME crowd. Of course many people can communicate on various platforms with ease. As for your next client – are they multi lingual, or do they have a preferred and distinct method of communication?
Example: John Smith happens upon my site because someone he follows used the Twitter share button on one of my posts (maybe this one!). He saw the link because he’s deeply into Twitter. He may like the post and may have tweeted it to his followers. That’s great, but what if he want to also converse with me? What if he wants to ask me a few questions? What if he wants to order one of my products?
Think about that. Isn’t that what we really want? To get people to take that next step? To start the conversation?
Do I force him to use a method of communication that is not his favorite?
(as in fill out my lengthy form)
Or do I provide a clean avenue for him to get to me in the media format he’s most comfortable with?
(in this example that would be twitter)
That’s why I want my phone number, my email address and a link to me on most any social media channel (that you prefer) to be front and center on my site. That’s also why I autofollow on Twitter – so I open up the DM channel for you as well.
While I might not be active on those sites, I’m actively listening and waiting for you!
* on a side note: The blog I refer to had no phone number, no email address. It only had a short form as a popout. Incredibly enough that popout also had the dreaded “Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Skype” buttons. (really!)
* on a side, side note: I know the author personally and while I disagree with his point, I like him. I shared the post with my Facebook and Twitter peeps, and left pretty much this post as a comment. Although we clearly disagree, I’d love to continue the discussion with him but…
* on a side, side, side note: Three other people left a comment on his post. My comment, as well as the others have no reply. Four comments, no acknowledgement. Nothing. It’s been over a week.
Following along, I went to his Facebook Page and Twitter stream only to find he’s turned off his Facebook Profile, his Facebook Page is being run by someone else and he has announced he’s on “hiatus” till further notice. You can’t argue with someone who’s not listening.