Okay, I have to admit that for the longest time, I was confused. I knew that all software runs on a database. Some just have more functionality than others. I also fully understood that you could create a web site using blog platforms like WordPress. But I didn't really see the potential until I participated in Friday's Social Networking for Business Conference, developed by Joe Kennedy and his partners.
They showed us how Expression Engine, a sophisticated content management system (CMS), allows you to manage all of your web site content, articles, blog posts, and other communications through a single tool. Just like traditional software, CMS systems need a database to store information. The web page "templates" determine how that information gets communicated to the world. In old-school terms, those web page templates were part of the User Interface (UI).
So, software applications like Word or PageMaker were really fancy databases that are installed on your computer to get work done*. Social networks are really fancy databases that are hosted on a web server to start conversations. The buttons and tools that you see when you access these databases is called the UI.
What makes social media so different is that now more UI systems can access the same database to deliver content in multiple ways. You can set up your own database on your server (with Expression Engine or another CMS) or you can use a database on an existing server (like WordPress or Facebook). That's how this blog post at www.Blogger.com gets sent to my mailing list using Mail Chimp. It also gets linked to my Facebook and LinkedIn pages. I can also have the same blog post in hundreds of different ways, including embedding it into my web site, and adding "feeds" to partner sites. And it all happens as soon as push the "publish" button in Blogger.
If your company is already using a CMS like Joomla or our own CMS Builder, you might already have all the tools you need to set up a complete online presence that integrates social networking, social media, blogging, and a traditional "web site." If you don't have a CMS, you will have to change the structure of your web site in order to keep up with search engine, social network, and other emerging technologies.
Of course, I'm a business strategist and want you to approach your social media strategy with purpose. I recommend reading this article to get you started. No matter how large or small your organization, social networking and media is here to stay. If you get your tools in order to be scalable, you'll be light years ahead of the competition, both online and offline.
Need help upgrading your web site and other marketing and communications tools? Give me a call at 206-782-4040.
*Software has traditionally been hosted on your computer. Not so much so thanks to cloud computing. I'll have more on that soon.
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