Why does social media matter to business?
In this day and age, it is a given that your business needs a website. There is a lot of advice out there about improving web sites, SEO optimization and getting a google rank out there.
In addition, there is also a lot of information about leveraging social media. It is all but essential for a business to be on Facebook and Twitter these days. Other, smaller and newer social networks might be of value, for example, a bookseller might want to be on Goodreads. As a writer, I’ve found social media a highly useful tool, if sometimes a little bit distracting.
The problem is that many people forget to integrate the two. In fact, I’ll admit that I’ve fallen foul of that myself. You can set up all of this great content, and then you can be active on Facebook, but the two simply do not connect. Here, thus, are some tips for optimizing and integrating social media with your website.
1. Cross posting
It’s not uncommon to use WordPress to generate your website. Well, WordPress is a blog, and there are a number of useful plug-ins that will automatically update your status on Facebook and Twitter when you post.
I use Networked Blogs myself, but there are others. This means you don’t have to remember to cross post and provides regular links from Facebook to your site. Of course, this only works if you keep updating your website content, but you should do that anyway to make it fresh.
2. Make it clear that you are on Facebook or Twitter to visitors on your website.
Having a link to like your business’ Facebook page is very useful. Once people are there, encourage them to like your page, which will then be recommended to their friends. You could also embed your Twitter feed in your site, there are easy to use widgets that do this.
3. Integrate content between social media and your web site
It improves authenticity if people can tell at a glance that a website and a Facebook page belong to the same person. If you use a photo of yourself as your profile picture, then post the same photo on your web site’s About Us page. If not the same one, then at least one that is clearly the same person.
If you would rather not have your mug on Facebook, then set the profile picture to your company logo. I like to use pictures myself, as it makes me more personal and ‘real’ to those who look at my profile. If you have employees with social media profiles, then link them as well…although for this to work, everyone needs to be on board. It’s embarrassing enough when a family member posts something ‘interesting’ to your wall.
Oh, and use your name on your About Us page. The royal we is unfriendly. Third person is fine, so is first person, just avoid that hideous first person plural that makes the reader wonder just who wrote this content.
4. Make use of the ability to post photos and videos to Facebook
Oh, and get a Youtube channel if you post videos at all. Youtube is not just a video site, but it’s a social media site in its own way. Avoid disabling comments on videos…even negative ones are publicity and then you have a dialog going. Imbed these videos in your web site and everything will link together. Besides, people like to see a lot of visual content. Even better, if you can get them, are video testimonials from your customers. These are much more effective than dry text and fit with the way we use social media today.
5. Always promote dialogue
Twitter feeds and Facebook widgets do this. So does having a more friendly contact form. I know I hate to see that little list of reasons why you might be contacting a company. Most people do it, but it doesn’t promote dialogue. You need to be willing to devote a little bit of time to talk to your customers. Then they will see you as a person not a huge company. If you’re a larger company, putting a forum or Disqus comments or similar on your site will get interaction going between your customers.
You might think you don’t have time to do any of this, but it’s not that hard to find the time, and it will pay for itself in sales. Besides, most of this is stuff that only takes a few minutes to better leverage what you should be doing anyway.