One of the reasons businesses leverage the power of social networking as part of their digital marketing strategy is that it brings them closer to their customers and clients. In doing so, they create a stronger customer-focused culture. But traditional websites still need to be a part of the strategy. By integrating social elements into websites you can significantly enhance your marketing strategy and benefit from the best of both mediums. Here’s how you can help make it happen for your small business.
1. Identify beneficial social networks
The first step is to identify which social networks are relevant to you and the products and services that you offer. That means researching your client base to learn which networks they use. Each social network is different and so appeals to different types of people. Are your customers users of Facebook or Pinterest? Perhaps they prefer Twitter and Instagram? Once you know which ones are beneficial you can establish a presence on them.
2. Social feeds
Most social networks make it possible for you to embed social feed widgets directly into website pages. A good example of this might be an Instagram feed showing pictures of your products in use. There are a few things to be careful of though:
- Ensure the feed contains only relevant, quality content.
- Make sure the feed complements your content without distracting from it.
- Test loading times to make sure it doesn’t slow your pages down. This is especially important on your main landing page as first impressions count!
3. Social buttons
Most website developers realise the importance of promoting their business identity or brand on their pages. A good way of doing this is to have a header or footer on each of their pages so that visitors can simply scroll to the top or bottom of a page to get more information. Try enhancing it further by including social network buttons for the ones you have a presence on. Make sure they are unobtrusive, that they fit in with the design of your page, and that they correctly point to your profile on the social network they are targeting.
4. Incorporate #hashtags and Tweetable links
Within the content of your websites pages, include hashtags and tweetable links if and when they are relevant. Make sure hashtags are short and meaningful and ensure you moderate them so that any live feeds you embed don’t become cluttered with spam and irrelevant or inappropriate content.
Don’t go overboard with them though. There are a lot of people who aren’t interested in them or may not understand them. You are looking for a complementary effect rather than them being confusing or annoying. Ultimately, you know your customers best so exercise your best judgment to get the right balance.
5. Social sharing
If your website has a blog page include social sharing buttons at the bottom of each post. People love to share things that interest them so make it as easy as possible! Let your customers be your brand ambassadors and help increase your following.
6. Include social sign-options
Many people won’t be interested in making an account, especially if they are only looking. But chances are they will be receptive to signing in using an existing account that they already use. You should include at least a couple of options for them. Popular options include allowing them to continue by signing in with their Google Account, Facebook, or Disqus.
7. Social videos
Another good idea is to produce short videos and embed them on your website. This might include videos highlighting your offerings, how your products or services can really benefit your visitors, or possibly just informative how-to guides. YouTube remains one of the best services for uploading and embedding video content but most of the other social networks have expanded to allow short videos.