Social Media for your Website – a walkthrough on connecting with consumers online
‘Social Media’ is one of the most sizzling hot web topics as of late and this is not just because it’s a medium for teen gossip. Businesses which are up-to-date with digital marketing realise the power of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to build brand relationships, brand communities, brand awareness and also to create credible consumer testimonials. We’ll be introducing you to the ways to do this with social media.
Share buttons have quickly become a ubiquitous feature on websites. These things have popped up everywhere in the last few years and for good reason. They allow readers to share your content on their own social media pages. This has two benefits for your website’s digital marketing:
- Word-of-mouth marketing through social media channels.
- Link building for SEO.
And all of this is free. So the reason why these buttons are on basically every webpage you see and the reason why you should definitely put them on your website is: why not?
Shares are much rarer than visits to your website, because only a fraction of visitors will share it, but for those who might want to: why not? You’ve got a lot to gain and nothing to lose.
If you’re convinced, then to embed them on your website:
- Make sure you only embed share buttons on content pages. No one want’s to share your ‘Contact us’ page.
- From experience we recommend the AddThis Share buttons. They have the widest range of widgets and provide automatic installation onto various platforms like WordPress, as well as easy-to-follow instructions for embedding them yourself using HTML.
‘Follow buttons’ are another mainstay of good social media integration. It allows visitors to ensure they keep up-to-date with your website by connecting with it on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn, or even on the more traditional mediums of email, RSS or blog. The digital marketing benefits of Follow buttons are obvious and quite significant. They can create a loyal reader base and also nurture customer relationships and consumer loyalty.
But the main prerequisite for working Follow buttons is that you must have a social media presence. For each Follow button, you must create the respective social media account for your business and maintain it. This can take some work, so we recommend choosing one of the following two ways based on the time you are willing to commit.
The Hard Way: Posting different content on each of your social media platforms. This is a very professional way to build a large following but is more affordable for large businesses because of the time cost in producing all of this content.
The Easy Way: Producing a single set of content and posting it to several different social media platforms. This is much more time efficient, but won’t garner the same breadth of following as in The Hard Way. The benefit of posting the same content to multiple platforms however is that visitors can follow you using the platform that they are most engaged with. We recommend using the social media manager Hootsuite to post to all your social media platforms simultaneously, and it also handles RSS and email (or copy-and-paste works too). You will still also need to respond to consumer messages on these platforms, especially for consumer complaints. Alternatively, some content management platforms including WordPress have this feature (used by this website).
Follow buttons can be embedded within each page of content, or for even more consistency, within the website’s menu bar, header or footer. This is because they apply to the entire website’s social media presence rather than any particular page.
Likewise, we recommend the AddThis Follow buttons for the same reasons.
If you’ve set up a Twitter social media presence like in the previous example, you could further integrate social media by embedding a Twitter timeline on your website. This shows the most recent tweets on your Twitter page by you and others. There are several digital marketing benefits of this handy little widget:
- Showcases your social media buzz. If this buzz is positive (and obviously, you’ll only have this have this widget if it is), then this will create a positive impression on site visitors.
- It has a Follow button.
- It has an input bar for site visitors to easily post onto your Twitter timeline, hence adding to your social media buzz.
To best publicise your timeline, consider embedding it on your landing page or in the sidebar to your content pages.
Twitter provides an official timeline creator that is very simple and easy-to-use.
Embedding consumer testimonials
Many consumer testimonials on websites are basic copy-pasted text in quotation marks, with a name as a reference at the end. These kinds of testimonials lack a sense of credibility because there is no real assurance that this text wasn’t typed by the owners of the business themselves and maybe ‘~ satisfied customer, John Smith’ isn’t actually a real person. The modern day solution to this problem is to embed whole social media posts from Twitter or Facebook within your website. These posts are linked to their original locations on social media websites so that doubtful consumers can verify that they were written by real consumers.
I bet you’re thinking: “That’s a fantastic solution, how do I do it?” On tweets, click the ‘…’ button and select “Embed tweet”. See Twitter’s instructions here. On Facebook posts, click the down-arrow in the top-right corner and select “Embed Post”. See Facebook’s instructions here. It’s that easy and goes a long way in building consumer confidence.
After reading all that, my hope is that you will take some of this valuable know-how and put it to practice on your website. At the very least, share buttons can benefit almost any website. Or you can go even further, create a social media presence (or several) and create some real buzz.