Social media and website design have become integrated so deeply, that it’s unlikely you would be able to find many sites on the Internet without social share buttons. Website development entails many things. From the initial concept to wireframes, to the rough build and testing, there’s a lot that goes into creating a quality website.
But aside from the technical aspects, there’s something else that has to be addressed for a website to succeed–and that is a firm presence in social media. Any online community that has tens or hundreds of millions of users is a great resource to generate leads and increase conversion rates.
There’s even a term for using social networks to help a business’ search engine optimization and its consumer visibility. That term is called “digital sharecropping”. And its wording is precisely what it means–third parties creating content on social media and other Web 2.0 properties in order to get more traffic. The result is these millions of third parties are building up those properties for free.
Search Signal Changes
It’s community web sites which see the most daily traffic. People engage social media in a variety of ways. From desktop to tablets to mobile phones, people are signing into their social profiles millions of times per day. As a result, mega-corporations end their television advertisements with “Follow us on Twitter” or “Like us on Facebook”. Even news corporations are in on the act, from the largest circulations to tiny online community newspapers, social interaction is a powerful tool.
In 2013, visual appeal will rule content creation. The popularity of info-graphics, image sharing and visual storytelling will increase as companies experiment with the visual side of social media. The networks that have been built around quickly uploading and sharing images and video will continue to grow. —Grand Rapids Business Journal
Because of this larger than life scale of activity, Google and Bing have changed their search rank algorithms, making social activity more important than inbound or backlinks. That’s big news in the SEO and the web design community, where such changes can completely upend their practices.
The underlying reason for this change in social signals is because quite simply, social engagement can’t be faked. It’s just not possible to create hundreds of social profiles and maintain them in a natural looking way. In fact, it’s been tried in test runs and has failed each and every time.
Social Media Integration
What does all this mean to your business? Well, it means having social media buttons conspicuously and strategically placed on your website is an absolute must. But it also has to be done in such a way that it’s effective without being over-the-top. To strike the right balance, all of your website’s social sharing buttons and social engagement has to incorporate finesse with functionality.
Though you may have existing social profiles, your website is where you can best control and present your brand. Because your website is your proprietary cyberproperty, it has to include certain elements to make a good impression with first time visitors and be interesting enough to cause people to revisit.
- Start with your social profiles. Okay, so you may not be able to completely customize your social profiles, but you can make them stand out. It’s important to give them a bit of pop, some flare and of course, bits of information that get shared.
- Go beyond generic, cut-and-paste. Everyone knows what the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube logos look like. So, you won’t be able to trick those out because you want that immediate recognition when people see them on your site. The thing to do is put some sizzle around them–make them more than just a box full of buttons.
- Put your social media interaction right on your site. A larger and larger trend is to include a feed that highlights your social activity on your website. If it updates live, that’s all the better. Another idea is to put an invitation right above the social feed–something like, “Join the discussion”.
- Offer something for nothing. When you send out an email blast or newsletter, give some incentive for others to engage. Offer them a discount or something of value for liking you Facebook page or retweeting something from your profile on Twitter.
If your website isn’t generating leads or capturing conversions via social media, then contact us for a free consultation. We can develop a comprehensive approach to bettering your social influence and increase your business’ reach.