Websites as we have come to know them are dead. In 2012, the brand whose sole social media/website “integration” consists of a share this page, Facebook or Twitter icon will fast become a thing of the past.
There are now so many social networks and so many conversations taking place away from conventional websites, that their original purpose has evolved to the point where many have become redundant. What were brochureware websites are now becoming interactive conversations on social channels about what the product is, how it works, what is good or bad about it.
With Google assigning more authority and visibility to social channels, more and more real-time, opinion-forming content is appearing within search results – influencing the next-click decision (or even purchasing decision) before people have even arrived at your previously visible brand site.
As such, it will be crucial for websites that are in development this year to understand how they can better integrate social content into their websites – whether that be brand mentions sitting alongside brochureware pages, user-generated reviews or images sitting alongside product or simply a list of bookmarks to social channels where product is being mentioned – all will help to ensure that rather than arrive, then leave your site to find opinion-influencing social content, customers will be able to make a balanced purchasing decision on your site.