"Are you on Facebook?"

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"Are you on Facebook?"

If you're business hasn't set up company or brand pages on the most popular social networking sites, you're missing out on chances to bring more visitors to your website. Fewer visitors translates to fewer conversions. In this day and age, it's time for your business to start incorporating social media into your web project.What are the benefits of social media integration?

Every loyal customer brings in new customers

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Your clients already share articles, anecdotes, and experiences with their friends. Give them the tools that make it easy for them to share information about your business with their network. All updates about your services or products need to be shareable on top social networking sites at the click of a button.

Social channels keep clients interested

Updates and news on social networks are excellent ways to keep your qualified customers engaged in your company's future plans. Your business needs to keep them coming back to your website. Your followers are far more likely to keep visiting your website. This directly results in an increase on your return on investment.

Visibility spreads your message

Every social network page for your business is another opportunity to increase brand visibility. The Internet is so massive and interconnected that your marketing strategy needs to focus on increasing your web presence. Spreading out your social media footprint results in more views, more web traffic, and more revenue.

Integrating social networks into your web project

Insert social network links and buttons

There are multiple ways to create social media links. The big websites—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.—all have specially coded buttons that should be included in appropriate pages on your website. Any mentions of contact information absolutely need to include social media buttons. They're quick, attractive ways for your customers to easily find your Facebook or Twitter page.

The style of social media links needs to be adapted to fit the content or overall feel of your website. Some projects may wish to prominently feature video content and YouTube buttons that direct users to a brand's YouTube page.

Other businesses may want to direct users to current exclusives or contests that utilize Instagram or mobile applications that have been developed for the brand. These are best displayed next to prominent banners that explain the promotion.

Certain product pages and web designs are geared for a more subdued, sleek user experience. Those brands may wish to incorporate a smaller, less intrusive social media button bar that doesn't get in the way of other user interface elements.

Integrate social streams and "Like" boxes

Like buttons and boxes are great ways for visitors to see visual cues or lists of other friends who enjoy a certain brand or service. Facebook's Developer Tools make it easy to seamlessly integrate a Like button without having to immediately navigate to your Facebook page. You'll be able to prominently display recent Facebook posts or Twitter tweets without disrupting a users experience on your website.

It's also a fantastic way to draw users into your social media world. These social streams on your website show customers the content you've been posting on YouTube or recent product update tweets. It gives them reasons for joining your social media circle without pulling them away from your website. Best of all, it's an easy way to flesh out your website with more content for users to dive into.

Include "Like", "Share", and "Tweet" buttons on article and product pages

Buttons for sharing your content on social networks like Facebook and Twitter will directly increase traffic for certain pages. Virtually every social networking site includes coded plugin toolbars that are a snap to add to your website. New updates to your website will spread from current loyal customers to other on their friends list. Product releases exponentially gain exposure when it's easy for users to send out a tweet to their followers.

You'll want to carefully select an appropriate set of share buttons based on the content you're trying to promote. It's also vital that you provide a "pop-up" field for users to enter extra information about the page they are trying to share. Without personalized information from the user, the page share will seem like an unnecessary advertising intrusion into others' newsfeeds. It also gives your customers a chance to put a personal touch on your information that can greatly increase word-of-mouth advertising and customer confidence.Start a social networking landing page

If social media and networking are intimately linked with your business, you may wish to dedicate an entire landing page that incorporates all of your social media content. It gives users a hub for accessing multiple social media sites without having to navigate to each of them separately. Your business can also coordinate product or news updates that cover multiple platforms. The hub page will gives users a quick way to access a YouTube video, Twitter contest, and Facebook news update that are all promoting the same project. This synergy will save your company and your customers time and energy.

Incentivize social network shares

Social network shares are also a great chance to reward qualified customers. Creativity is the key here. Discounts for new users that were recommended by friends on social networks can really increase the amount of shares. Group deals become an attractive option for users when they can spread the news at the push of a button. These kind of promotions are also ideal opportunities to encourage the use of e-mail in addition to social networking sites.

Give your customers a chance to get involved

It's extremely important to focus on the main goal of social media integration—make it easy for users. Every one of your efforts should be as easy as one click of a button. Long forms with lots of detailed information are far more likely to be skipped or ignored.

Don't stop at Likes and Shares! Once you've got people following your social media efforts, you've got to give them content. Make sure you keep publishing fresh content with regularity. You want your clients to look forward to your next update, so you'll have to focus on delivering quality information and exciting promotions that reward loyalty and draw in new customers.

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