This morning found me up at an unreasonably early hour. I started reading some of the blog posts that I had marked as “come back to later”. They were all about creating an online presence. One of them asked the question, “what do you want from your visitors?” The answer in that blog was a sale. I do not deny that I also want sales, but I want more. I want a relationship with my visitors that leads to sales. Author Steven Saus did a great job of explaining the difference in his guest blog post, “The Used Car Salesperson” Versus “The Family Dealership” (you can find a link to Steve’s site under authors and artists).
Some of the blog posts talked about directing or moving people around your website, others spoke about welcoming them in and creating a community. This reminded me of my still life, Breaking Fast. It was taken in a room that was perfectly designed to be welcoming, intimate, and draw you in. The moment you walked into this room, you wanted to take a seat at the big crescent shaped table. The crescent shape let you see and talk to anyone around the table. The table faced a window that looked out across the lawn to the river. An incredible Tiffany fireplace flanked the table. This picture does not capture the beauty of the fireplace, the mosaic tiles created a depth difficult to capture in a photograph.
All and all, it was the kind of room that drew you in and would inspire you to stay chat and linger over coffee or tea. The tour guide told us that many a great business deal was made here, not in the boardroom. This is what I want in my website, a well designed place of beauty that can lead to lasting business relationships. How do I translate this perfection of design into my internet presence? The business grew out of the relationship between the host and his guests. Part of what made this room perfect was that it was designed to be a breakfast room. It was not trying to be the dining room, the kitchen table, the study, the music room and a place of business as well. I tried to think of what part of my web presence could be my perfect breakfast room. My Blog? My website? My online gallery? I have just brought these all together so that I can have a single “home address” on the internet for SEO purposes. Taking this analogy a step further, What does that make social media? My first answer was the door, but that did not quite work. I decided that they were more like outposts with portals to my home.
When it comes to social media, I have always thought of Facebook as a large cocktail party, Twitter as an elevator conversation, Livejournal as a conversation in a coffee shop. Flickr is a bit like flipping through someone’s photo albums. Second Life is very much an amusement park with Conference Center facilities. I am not at all sure what Google+ will turn out to be, but I think they want to be my whole neighborhood. What I am discovering is that the real question is where do our websites and blogs fit into all this? Reading the wildly conflicting suggestions for how to “manage” social media, I could sort them into the used car or family dealership models easily enough, the harder part was knowing which ones would work for both your product and your internet presence. Are you selling a one time purchase product? Or are you selling yourself as a creator who has multiple products. Do you want the upkeep that comes with the elegantly designed mansion, or do you want the simplicity and ease of a studio apartment? Do you want to rent or own? Each of these choices would result in a different answer applying. I shall review my online home, and it’s out lying portals in a series of posts on this topic.
This post was originally posted at http://www.rennatatropeano.com/growingunique