Friday, December 17, 2010

7 Great Social Media Optimization Tips For Your Website

These days, as more and more consumers are logging onto sites like Facebook and Twitter, it has become increasingly important to incorporate social media into your website and marketing plan.  However, not many companies and brands are aware of how to use social media tools correctly.  The following tips are designed not only to provide you with ideas about how to bring social media to your website, but also to optimize the effectiveness of your site’s social features.

By bringing social media to your website you not only provide your visitors with more ways to engage with and share your content, but you also keep your visitors on your site for more time.  Based on Dror’s talk, and some research of our own, we’ve put together a list of 7 ways that you can optimize your website with social media, making the experience better not only for your visitors, but for the future and wellbeing of your company.

Twitterize Your Website
One of the best ways to bring social media to your website is adding your Twitter stream.  Twitter is a great way to show your visitors that your site is alive.  Even if you haven’t added any new content to your website in awhile, a Twitter feed can keep your page fresh, as it will be updated whenever you updater your Twitter account.

Incorporating your actual Twitter stream into your website is a better option that simply putting a Twitter button that your visitors can click on for one major reason, aside from the fact that it brings new content to your site.  This reason is that it keeps readers on your website.  If you simply embed a Twitter button on your page that links to your Twitter feed, your viewers will have to leave your site to head over to Twitter and you may not get them back.  Putting your tweets directly on your webpage is a great way to decrease your bounce rate and keep your visitors on your site for more time.

You can take Twitter to the next level by incorporating functionality for the visitor.  Give your viewers the opportunity to connect to their own Twitter accounts to share content and tweet about your company or brand, without having to leave your website.  Engaging viewers is one of the best ways to keep them on your site longer, and get them to share content to help promote you.

Let Your Visitors Connect With Face-book
Setting up your website with Facebook Connect is another great way to increase visitor engagement, as well as encourage your visitors to share content from your website on Facebook.  When your visitors are connected to their Facebook accounts they can easily share content, notify their friends when they leave comments, see which of their friends have visited your site and more.  Having access to this information and functionality will make your visitors feel like they are a part of something, and that they are contributing to a conversation by engaging on your website.

There are also services, like Wibiya’s toolbar, that bring nearly full Facebook functionality to your website.  With Wibiya your visitors can log directly into Facebook from your website, share content, check out and “like” your fan page, update their status and more.  Again, this is a great way to decrease your bounce rate and keep visitors on your site for longer.

Make Your Website “Brand Central”
Your website should be a centralized hub for everything by and related to your brand on the Internet.  Incorporate your Twitter and Facebook content, as we discussed above, as well as any YouTube videos that your company may have, photographs, your e-commerce store, and anything else that you have uploaded anywhere on the web.

You can also incorporate feeds that show what people are saying about your company, including a Twitter Search feed that shows what your fans and customers are saying, videos that have been tagged with your company name, reviews and more.  When you incorporate feedback into your site in this way it is important to keep tabs on what people are saying and respond appropriately.  If someone has something good to say about you, be sure to thank them.  On the other hand, if someone has something bad to say about you, be sure to respond quickly and do everything you can to solve the problem.

Make Sharable Content & Encourage Sharing
One of the best ways to promote your website is to encourage your visitors to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, Digg and other social sharing sites.  However, you can’t expect your visitors to share any old boring content to it’s important to create content for your site that is compelling and sharable.  This can include everything from written content to infographics, videos, photos and more.  Update your site regularly so that there is always new stuff for your visitors to share.

So how do you get your visitors to share content?  Simply give them the option.  You can add buttons that give your visitors the option to “Like” your content on Facebook, share it on Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and other sites.  If you didn’t give your visitors the option to share it might not even cross their mind.  However, seeing a share button or a “Like” button automatically makes your visitors think about whether they want to share this content or not.  Just make sure to post share-worthy content and this is a great way to increase the virality of your website.

Live Streaming
Whether you are live streaming a press announcement, conference or event, or just a typical day in the office, bringing live video to your site can be a great way to drive traffic and engage your visitors.  Sites like Justin.tv and Ustream make it easy to broadcast live and viewers can connect and engage by seeing how many others are viewing your stream, as well as commenting and chatting during your broadcast.  You can check out live streaming in action on Chris Pirillo’s website.  Chris live streams his desk 24/7, which lets his site visitors feel a lot more connected to and engaged with him—like they actually know him in real life.  You don’t necessarily have to stream video of yourself all day, every day.  However, live broadcast is a great way to engage with and respond to your fans, customers and site visitors.

Encourage Your Visitors To Socialize With Each Other
One of the best ways to bring social media to your website is by making your website itself social and encourage visitors to connect with one another.  A great way to encourage socializing between site visitors is giving visitors the option to chat on your site.  When people come to your website and are given chatting options they not only have the opportunity to check out your content on their own, but also to discuss it with other visitors.

In addition to a chat function, the simple practice of sharing the number of visitors on your site at any given time is a good way to make your visitors feel that they are part of something, and that they aren’t alone.  As soon as you know that there are 50, or 100, or 1000 other people looking at the same content as you are you feel like you are engaged in more of a social experience.  However, if you know that you generally have only one or two people on your site then you may want to wait until you get a little more popular to begin sharing the number of visitors with the world.

Avoid A Cluttered, Social Media Takeover
Although social media is incredibly important for site owners to incorporate into their web content, it can be easy to get carried away and take it too far.  You want to make sure that you are including only relevant social media sources on your website.  For instance, if you don’t have high quality YouTube videos then it may not be worth sharing them, and if you never update your Twitter account then it won’t look good for you to share the feed on your website.

Analytics are an important part of helping you to narrow things down and avoid clutter when it comes to social media-izing your website.  Keep track of how many users are engaging with the different functions on your website and get rid of those that have a low engagement rate.  For instance, if only 10 people watched YouTube videos directly from your site in a month while 1,000 people shared your written content via Twitter, then it would be wise to do away with YouTube and focus on Twitter when it comes to social media on your site.

Are you a site owner?  How have you incorporated social media into your website and what sort of results have you seen?

1 comments:

Wildnet Technologies said...

I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. I will be your frequent visitor, that’s for sure.
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