It is hard to ignore the impact that social media has had on sales and marketing over the past few years. It seems like everything we knew ten years ago has changed based on social media. The way that we engage with clients and prospects. The way we communicate with our team members has changes too. So has the way we consume news. It seemed inconceivable that social media would be one the main ways that we come to find out about key news stories, but that is truer today than ever before.
When we work on website projects with our clients they always say that they want to incorporate social media into their website project. However, they are often starting from very different places when the project begins. Some have no social media experience at all while others have been fairly sophisticated, but only on one or two platforms. Our objective for the project is to understand our client’s customers, what social media tools they are using and to leverage the platforms that make the most sense for them to connect with their customers.
With the rest of this post, we will focus on the ways to incorporate social media into your website, not on the benefits of any particular social media platform.
Links to the Company’s Social Media Platforms Their Customers Use
These links are the links you generally see in the header and the footer of most websites today. The purpose is to allow the website visitors to easily connect or follow the company on their various social media sites. It is important to show that the company is on various social media sites and allow the visitors to understand better what conversations they are having online. The social media links are setup in the backend of your website and are generally just links to the company profiles from an icon on your site. There is no need to login to those social media sites, just provide the link for the visitor to follow from the social media icon.
Just make sure that the links open on a new tab or page. You don’t want to redirect your website visitors away from your page in the current tab or page.
Links to Key Team Member’s Personal Social Media Profiles
This is important if the company’s team members (employees) are a differentiator for the company. For example, the identity of many small and mid-sized companies is tied to the companies’ employees. In those cases it is important to profile the top employees (or all employees) on the site and provide links to the employee’s social media profiles; particularly their professional social media profiles. It is common to link from the top leader’s profiles on the website to their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. That can provide additional evidence of your team’s experience to your website visitors. Furthermore, it can show how the visitors are connected to your team. It can give your company a more personal connection to your visitors through your team members.
We usually put those links on the About Us page where the key team members are listed and on the author page for the blog articles they have contributed. Make sure the links connect to the team member’s personal profiles (not to the company profiles again) and that what they are communicating is consistent with your identity. Also, make sure the links open on a new page or tab too.
Socialize Your Website Posts
This is probably the most complex configuration on your site. Setting this up allows you to push your blog content out to your social media profiles automatically when they are posted. It has the advantage of being hands off; the social media push happens automatically without any involvement from your team members.
However, there are things to consider about the automatic posting of your blog content:
- The timing of the push to social media – Make sure that the post has been edited and approved before you post it or it could go out with grammatical and spelling errors
- The settings for the social media sites change periodically, check to make sure that your posts are actually getting pushed out as expected
- Duplication – I have had situations where the posts were duplicated for some reason, check to make sure the posts are only getting made once
Social Media Links to Allow for Easy Sharing of Website Content
The last way to use social media on your site is to allow your visitors to easily share content with their social media accounts or email a link to a connection. This can take many forms on various websites and are generally shown at the top or bottom of individual articles or on a floating toolbar on the left or right side of every page. These aren’t connected to YOUR social media sites, they make it easy for the visitors to share your content on THEIR favorite social media sites (or to email it to another contact). This is easy to setup; there is almost no configuration required. Just install the plugin or setup your site for sharing of your content and let your visitors share your content.