Social media can have a profound effect upon your website. The exponential growth of social media in the last decade bespeaks their impact on all aspects of communication. Just the act of "likeing" a blog post or product can cause friends to explore the liked material, possibly leaving behind a link or bookmark to the material.
You want to encourage this kind of behavior for your own website by making it easy for visitors to share your content and exchange social commentary about it. In this way, you drive traffic to your website, where you have the opportunity to convert visitors to leads and ultimately customers. And as links to your site proliferate, your web search visibility increases, creating a virtuous circle of content and reaction.
Social Media Tips
Here are some tips for making your site shareable and sociable:
- Add sharing widgets/plugins to each page of your website. Visitors will then be able to share your content on any of the major social channels. Install tools such as ShareThis or AddThis to promote sharing and to assist you with analytic tracking.
- Add plugins to your blogging platform (i.e. WordPress, etc.) that enable visitors to share your content and to auto-publish your material to sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- If you sell a product or service, include review or links to reviews of your product on your website. In other words, let your customers help sell your product by offering their own insights.
- Elicit and publish comments in reaction to your original content. Commenters feel a sense of ownership when they are allowed to share their own ideas in response to yours. Besides publishing comments to individual blog posts, also include a forum to allow customers to leave feedback that might help you in your future developmental efforts.
- Customers can be allowed to submit their own articles or links to relevant content from elsewhere on the Net. In effect, you are allowing your readers to become content curators for material related to your industry. Your website will thus gain authority and industry-wide leadership.
- Turn your website into a social network. If customers must log in to access high-value information or product support, then use the log-in experience as a gateway to social features such as product reviews, forums, recommendations and alike, all personalized for the user.
Add Variety to Your Content
Let's expand our discussion about content to look at multiple forms of content. When we consider content, we have to extend our thinking beyond the written word. Naturally, what first comes to mind is media: pictures, videos, audio, flash, etc.
Integrating video content helps your blog engage with more people for longer periods of time. Videos can be just simple introductions or they can contain advanced material - you build your library as you go.
You should think about establishing a YouTube channel for your videos, upload them and then embed them in your blog posts. Don't worry if your first videos aren't top quality - you'll get better with time.
A popular way to create videos is to interview people relevant to your website or industry. If you can record an industry expert, thought leader, or even just one of your (satisfied) customers, you may very well end up with compelling video content. Try not to rehearse your interview or to work from a written list of questions. It's much more interesting to keep the interview spontaneous. Ask three or four questions, and allow time for follow-up. A real conversation is always preferable to a question-and-answer session.
By the way, it's OK to occasionally post lighter content. An off-topic post can add comic relief and perhaps increase your traffic. Every industry experiences an offbeat story from time to time - use these to liven up your blog.
Add a Utility Program
Another form of valuable content is an online utility program, such as a backlink checker. If you build an excellent utility, they will come, and you might see traffic volume increase exponentially as word of your utilities circulates. Team up with a programmer and provide a useful utility to drive new traffic to your website. Keep in mind the parameters of a good utility:
- easy to use
- operates reliably and efficiently
- gives the user something valuable for free
As a website owner, you want to convert traffic to leads, and a good utility is an efficient method to attract uses to your product. The output from a utility can be the first step towards establishing a deeper relationship with the user. For instance, you can offer to help users of your backlink checker to improve their keyword rankings.
Your conversion strategy will depend on your product or service, but a little creative thinking can provide a pathway that ends in loyal customers and a source of revenue.