This is a guest post entry. The author’s views below are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of SEtalks.com.
Have you ever seen those web design proposals that have all the little details broken down into easily digestible gibberish? One of the key items that clients look for and that agencies throw at them in these proposals is “Social Media Integration”.
In most cases, all that means is that they’re going to slap some social icons on your website and perhaps some sharing buttons on your blog posts. I’ve seen this happen far too often and I believe the root cause of this problem is the fact that these websites are being built by designers and developers and not marketers. You see, when you approach building websites from a purely “aesthetic” or “technical” point of view, it’s foolish to expect a business result from it.
This is not to say the work of designers and developers should be undervalued. But if you really want to meet your strategic marketing goals, you need to build marketing into your product and that is what social media integration is all about!
So what all can you do with “social media integration”? Let’s see.
Built for Sharing
This first one is a no-brainer in terms of “idea” but probably the hardest to get just right. All the pages on your website should be built for sharing and that means more than just having social media icons in obvious places. A truly “built for sharing” page needs to have great content with inherent viral value, things influencers would like to share!
Encourage Sharing at Different Points in the Buying Cycle
Most agencies will totally overlook this obvious point. Even if your pages are “built for sharing” why not trigger sharing prompts at different points in the buying cycle? Such as:
-Encourage sharing after the point of purchase on a thank you/confirmation type page. Someone just bought from you, they’re very likely to share your page!
– Follow up via email with prompts to Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter or stalk on whatever other network you’re on. Someone just opted in to your mailing list, they want to be connected with you, prompt them!
-If you’re an ecommerce site that encourages reviews, give the reviewer the option to share the review he has just submitted. Very likely that you’ll get a few good shares!
Incorporate Social Media Feeds
If you’re active on various social media platforms then it might make sense to incorporate a Twitter or Facebook feed wherever it makes sense on your website. This is a simple and effective way to get your website visitors up to speed on latest happenings in your sphere. Of course, you’d want to avoid doing this if you’re inactive on social media. In fact, you’d want to avoid doing any of this if you’re inactive on social media!
Add Facebook Comments to your website
This one is both good and bad. On one hand, it has the potential to exponentially increase the reach of your comments and substantially reduce spam but on the other hand it requires users to be logged into their Facebook account. What if the user doesn’t have Facebook account! What if!
Get Interested Readers to Share your Content
So you managed to write a decent post that people are actually reading. Why not encourage them to share as they continue scrolling down to read your article in full? You can easily set up a trigger that pops up social sharing icons with a nice message encouraging the user to share what they are reading.
Incorporate Customer Reviews and Q&A’s into Product Pages
Social media integration is not restricted to just Facebook, Twitter or the likes. Anything that “connects” people on the internet is a form of social media. In that respect, incorporating customer reviews and Q&As into product page design is a great way to get fresh, crowd sourced, unique, keyword rich content on-to product pages that not only plays on the whole social media integration thing but also gives you great SEO benefits.
Add Google Authorship to Contributing Authors on your website
Google+ offers the opportunity to verify Google+ profiles of contributing authors with the content that they publish on your website. The real impact of incorporating Google Authorship to your website has to do more with search results rather than getting people to like and share your content. With authorship in place the author’s photo appears alongside the search result and gives searchers the option to add them to their circle as well as view other posts written by the author.
Thoughtful Social Media Integration Increases Overall Impact of your Website
You’re building your website for a reason. Make sure you don’t accept the “Social Media Integration” bull***t point in your web agency’s proposal as the placid placing of social media icons. That’s not what it means and that’s not going to really help you achieve your business objectives!
Got any more ideas for better social media integration? Share them in the comments!
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