So, if you are considering a new website or a refine of your existing one, please do consider including the following 6 items as ‘must haves’ for your new-look site as all will help enhance and support your social media:
Easy access to your social media profiles
Sorry to state the obvious one but if you are using social media, shout about it on your home page!
Your social media profile icons should be prominent and easy for people to find and use. Don’t tuck them away at the bottom of the page – these are the platforms you want people to use to start following you and sharing your news within their own world of friends, family and other followers. The potential for spreading the word about your business and its latest messages and news has never been easier, so give it the best chance possible by polishing those profile icons and giving them pride of place on your home page.
Here is a good example of a website design which has clearly made space for its social buttons:
This example shows how even a corporate business can still give their profiles the prominence they need (although it’s a shame the corporate grey means they lose some impact, in my view):
Have you got a Google+ profile?
Google+ may still feel relatively new but it is now regarded as a vital ingredient for aiding your site’s SEO. First of all make sure you have a link to your business Google+ profile on your website. And if you have a blog, make sure that bloggers have Google+ profiles set up so they can link their content to Google Authorship.
I would recommend you set up a Google+ page for your business today, if you haven’t already. This will help once you’re up and running, ensure this icon also sits on your home page for people to find it, and also because Google wants to see it!
A blog should now be a natural element of your website. It provides another tactical tool for sharing content but also demonstrates you as an ‘expert’ in your particular business field, if used well.
If you’re not producing at least one a month by now, read Karen’s blog from January. Karen threw down the gauntlet, suggesting everyone should set a New Year’s Resolution for 2014 – to start writing a blog for their business. We hope it inspires you if you haven’t done so yet!
Blogging is self publishing online. You choose the content so ensure it includes links to your own social media where relevant to do so. Be creative with opening up opportunities to carry a mention, eg: if you’ve recently posted a piece of business news on Facebook that relates well to your current blog content, include the link. This is relevant and useful for your audience, it also guides them to your Facebook page and your ultimate aim, to encourage them to ‘like’ you.
BUT, beware, blogs that simply touch the surface of a subject will not score well with Google; the search engine has made it clear recently that it is looking for in depth content (500 words minimum) to demonstrate you have genuine knowledge on a specific topic.
As we all become publishers in our own right we have much more control over the news and information we want to share. In doing so we can all help to increase search opportunities for our website by ensuring we produce optimised content for SEO.
Optimised content is a crucial aspect of online marketing now.
What is also good about creating your own original content is that you can dictate what you want to include, so that means social media links, where appropriate. Don’t just throw them in randomly, they need to have a relevant connection with the content you’re writing. So for instance, if you are running a campaign on Twitter about a new product or service and will be launching extra info through this social network, you can include your business Twitter handle and suggest people start following you on this for latest news/offers, etc.
Think creatively and laterally and when it’s right to, promote cross-platforms through your website content.
Good images on your website will help attract an audience; there’s also potential for them to be used and shared on social media. And when you think images, also think graphics including infographics.
All the above will provide excellent content which is ripe for sharing through social media. Stock images can be downloaded from online sites but do ensure they are free and have no copyright on them first.
Infographics can be created in-house or by a design agency on your behalf. They work well to illustrate detailed info about your business or a specific trend or news item in a much more simplistic and visual way. Here’s a good example:
Never underestimate the importance of Google Analytics. Your website is your shop window 24hrs and every day of the year. It is essential you understand why people (customers) are visiting your site, how they are finding you, which pages they visit, and why they leave.
Again, this will link directly to how you manage your marketing activity and future strategy and part of this will be how you choose to use social media and integrate it within your campaigns. For example: if you use LinkedIn to drive people to your latest blog; or run a Facebook competition which directs people to a specific page on your website, you will be able to measure effectiveness, visitor levels and engagement through Google Analytics.
A final tip…
You can use open graph and social meta tags to make your content display better when it’s shared on social media. To find out a bit more about these and how to implement them, check out this post from Kissmetrics and this one from Moz.
Our blogs over the summer will be focusing on how to enhance and improve your visitors’ website experience. If you want more information on any of the above or help with your website content, website optimisation or any other related topic, feel free to get in touch.