Developing a large social media following can help your organization grow rapidly. While it is important to be active on social media sites, incorporating social media onto your web page is also an essential part of both web site development and helping to grow your online footprint. Listed below are some key considerations for integrating social media into your site.
1. When Adding Sharing Buttons, Make Them Visible
You have a few options for how you want to allow your visitors to interact with your company through your website. You can go with a basic set of "Like" buttons or ones that link to your social media profiles. There are also certain plugins available, such as Floating Social Media Icon that do all the heavy lifting for you and even provide the pretty and streamlined icons. But whether you use a plugin or manually handle this as part of your website development plan, it's a good idea to ensure that these icons or links are visible so that people don't have to hunt for them.
Alternatively, you can give visitors the option of sharing your content to other social media sites with a variety of convenient buttons that show up with each of your posts. Share+ and Sociable, for example, will automatically provide these icons, enabling people to share your content with friends with just a few clicks. Be sure that any social media links or icons pop up in a new window; you don't want someone leaving your site and forgetting about it because they are distracted by their Twitter or Facebook feed.
2. Don't Go Overboard
You should pick three or four social media sites that are truly relevant to your business and focus on them. For example, a LinkedIn post sharing icon on a site that sells cat food just looks out of place.
For most businesses, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube usually suffice. Fewer icons or share buttons looks cleaner and less cluttered, and honestly, less desperate.
Additionally, if you choose to add share links to each of your posts, make sure your content is worthy of being shared; people won't share what they don't think is interesting, and you're better off just using a "Like" or link to your social media profiles if you're unsure.
3. Be Active on the Social Networks You Link To
If you’re asking your visitors to “Like” your company’s Facebook page, or follow your company’s conversations on Twitter, make sure that there are relevant conversations happening on these channels that entice them to follow your company on social media. Once they follow your organization, your posts can end up in their feed thus giving you an excellent opportunity to remind people of your company and notify people of sales and special events, even if they haven't been to your site in a while.
Additionally, when people do comment on your social media profiles, be sure to respond to them. People love seeing their notification button light up because someone replied to them, and it helps to make your company seem more personal and less corporate, even if you are a corporation.
4. Make Sure What You're Doing Is Working
As with anything you do online, you should be tracking the success of your social media activities and looking to learn from what you're doing right and what you’re struggling with. Along with using analytics data from Google, there are also plugins like ShareThis that help you get down to the nitty-gritty of your social media sharing efforts. You can tell which of your posts are shared, seen and favorited the most as well as how they are performing on different social networks. This in turn can help you identify what types of posts are the most successful and where you should be focusing your attention.
If you need help incorporating social media into your websites, we invite you to contact us for information on our web consulting services.