Yet despite the opportunities that social media offers, many businesses are still failing to capitalise on this attention, and to broaden their reach and the reach of their content via social channels.
In order to tap into the true power of social media, you need to make it as easy as possible for website visitors to share their experiences on social, to follow your business on their chosen platforms, and to build following based on your existing work.
To help with this, here are some key ways you can integrate social media marketing into your wider web and digital marketing efforts, better connecting your overall approach.
1. Social sharing buttons
The easiest way to ensure you’re connecting your website and social content efforts is to ensure there are social sharing buttons embedded on your web pages.
You’ve seen social sharing buttons everywhere, those little social media icons, often with a like count or similar, that float around near the header of a blog post or at the bottom of the screen.
Social sharing buttons make it easy for people to share with their own networks in one click – and they’ve become so common these days that any website without sharing buttons is already losing out.
People are used to sharing in this way, it’s how they get the message out to their friends. You need to have social sharing buttons enabled on your site, as a minimum.
2. Tweetable links
These are a little different, and maybe a little more intrusive, but they can be effective too.
Tweetable links (or ‘click to tweet’ links) are sections of text within a blog post or web page that appear with a small Twitter bird logo near them – sometimes they are split out from the main text, sometimes they’re integrated in and harder to see.
When clicked, these links generate a tweet including the relevant text which users can then share with their Twitter followers.
As noted, it can seem a little intrusive, but various reports have shown that they are effective in driving more shares.
3. Social profile links on all pages
It’s pretty much a given these days that a business will have links to their social profiles on their ‘About’ page.
And that’s a great start, but in most content management systems (CMS), you can also add persistent headers or footers, or even sidebar links to your social presences, which can help users find their way to your latest social content – and can help them engage with or share your links posted on social as a result.
In your header and footer settings on your CMS, you should be able to find a setting regarding the messages that appear on your pages – if you can’t, ask your web designer for assistance.
4. Social widgets
You may have noticed that on some websites, people will include a Twitter feed box or a Facebook page section which shows their most recent posts and updates in real time.
This is called a widget and all the major social platforms have them. Using widgets is another way to boost awareness of your social media presences and to get people clicking through to them for more information or to follow you on their platforms of choice.
You need to be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want widgets from every platform cluttering up your pages, but it’s worth considering for your primary social channels.
5. Testimonial posts
Increasingly, more businesses are now using posts, like positive mentions on Facebook, or an image from Instagram, as testimonials or endorsements to help provide more context to website visitors.
The concept is fairly simple – if someone leaves a great picture relating to your business on Instagram, you can then embed that image on your site as a vote of confidence in your offerings. There are also platforms that enable you to display various posts at once, but you can approach it in a simple way.
The best thing about this is that as those posts are embedded, they remain live on each platform, which means users can click through and check out the person who’s doing the recommending. There’s a lot of scepticism around online reviews these days – by embedding a mention, users can see that this review is from a real person, and not a made-up profile or an employee of the company.
You should always seek permission first before using a social post as a testimonial, but it can be a good way to boost your ‘social proof’ value.
These are some of the best ways to integrate the sharing power of social with your website and broader digital marketing efforts. Social can be hugely influential, so it makes sense to utilise it where you can. This can be a great way to help broaden your reach and improve your standing with potential customers.