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Why Social Media Will Hopefully Help Kill Micro Sites

Written by Simply Zesty on

Picture 6I hate micro sites. Even though there are some great examples I shudder when I hear the word in terms of brand building. The reason I don't like them is that at best they usually only have a finite life and at worst they seem like an easy way for agencies to get money out of brands and businesses. If I had a penny for every time I have heard "we will need to build a micro site so as consumers can get the information they need" I would be a very rich man indeed. Social media

profiles (and Facebook in particular) provide a brilliant alternative and I would be advising brands to stop paying 10,000 Euros a pop for a fancy useless flash micro sites that nobody will visit and replace it instead with a good solid long term social media plan. Lets start by looking at a couple of graphs to drive the point hone...

Social Media V. Campaign Microsites

The Internet is like one big graveyard of micro sites that have been filled with brilliant content and then just discarded as campaigns come to an end. Looking at these 2 graphs it is pretty clear which route I would want to follow as a brand with a view of keeping my fans engaged in the long term...

Social Media

I have based the graph on one of the graphs we have for our own presence on social media and matched it up with the general cycle for micro sites (I got the idea to build this post from yesterday's social media presentation by Coca Cola). There is no doubt that micro sites will get you a good quick bang for your buck but when it comes to getting a long term following for your brand you really can't top social media. The beauty of social media as a platform is that you have a springboard for future campaigns that doesn't require any media spend, you have a ready made audience who have interacted with your brand in the past.

Reasons Why Micro sites Don't Work

I have a lot of issues with micro sites in general and would prefer a good social media alternative 99% of the time as it gives you a continuous lasting presence but here are some of the main issues I have...

Hard To Promote

Micro sites will often have unique URLs that are specific to each campaign and as such they will usually be supported by large online banner advertising campaigns or Television or traditional media spend to build awareness about the new site. Most brands will have a couple of these sites over the last couple of years and the message they are trying to get across really gets diluted and spread across different sites rather than living in one central location.

Starting From Scratch

I just can't see the logic of starting a campaign on a website that has no incoming links, no Google Page rank, no traffic and building that site in to something that does have some traffic and credibility before just abandoning it and moving on to the next big campaign. Every single time you start a new site you are literally starting from scratch and trying to tell the whole world about your new site and hoping they interact with it even though they may never have seen it before and have no trust in it whatsoever.

Limited Interaction

I often see micro sites that have amazing competition giveaways and huge prizes and it is only since I have started working on this side of the industry that I hear the stories and see the metrics of just how little interaction some of these competitions generate that I wonder even more about the logic of using these one off sites. Most of us only really interact with things we trust online and even though the latest trend of adding Facebook connect to these sites has increased interaction it is only really a small step in the right direction.

Wasted Content

I see hundreds of amazing videos, photos and other interactive bits of content added to these micro sites to help draw users in and engage them but as soon as the campaign is over the site and all the content on it goes in to a great big black hole never to be seen again. I would love to know what the logic would be to create all this amazing expensive content only to dispose of it as soon as the campaign was over? Why not have people make use of it over and over again in to the future?

Audi Microsite

The Alternative

Without going in to too much detail you don't have to be a genius to work out that social media provides a better long term solution. Most of the functionality that we see in micro sites can be built in to Facebook pages where once you have an interaction it is likely that you will acquire a new fan who is not just a fan of your new campaign but a fan for the long term if you treat them well. Instead of letting that video content you created fall in to a big black hole why not create a branded YouTube channel so as your fans can access it whenever they need it and further enhance your brand and even push them back in to Facebook and through other video sharing platforms so as your messages keeps spreading rather than just being campaign based.

Social media is changing a lot of industries and I really hope that people do start seeing the huge appeal in creating long term content hubs through social media because as the graph above shows it is the way forward and the best thing about it is that you are not going to be spending 10k on something that will be useless in 6 months anyway :)

Innocent smooties Facebook

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