If you run a small business you may know:
- You need a website AND
- Social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, etc.) provide important ways of connecting with potential clients (and current clients).
But don’t stop there! Learn ways to integrate social media with your website. Potential clients who find your website might want to learn more by visiting your social networks, and possible customers on your social networks may want to learn more about your business by exploring your website.
Where can you place social media icons on your website?
There are no exact rules of placement of social media icons on your website. Put them in places where you want potential customers to take action. This could mean a header, footer, a contact page (see illustration of social media icons on a contact page at right), or on the sidebar of a blog. Whatever place you choose, it’s a good idea to think about making it a spot where one can easily add an icon – after all, social media networks are popular, and you may decide a new one is worthy of placement on your website.
On some websites, businesses place social media icons next to highlighted staff members, as one staff member may be using one social media for the business and another may use two different ones. This may seem obvious, but be sure the icons actually link properly to the social media site. How annoying to try to click on a Twitter icon with no link.
What kinds of plugins are available to help with integration?
There are many plugins available for integrating social media with your website. If you use WordPress, you can search the WordPress codex for recommendations on plugins. Some of the Facebook plugins that can show your site are especially enticing – wouldn’t you want to join a group or like a site where 100′s of other smiling faces have already liked? See example of Expand2Web’s Facebook Like Box plugin at right. You can see a larger version of the Facebook Like Box on the About Websites for Small Biz page. Here’s an article talking about various Facebook plugins in detail.
A recent newcomer to the social media mix is Google+. You may want to add the little + button to the bottom of your posts, next to a Like button and Tweet button. Google+ little plus signs can influence how search engines rank site pages. Sites with more plusses will have more influence.
Some plugins can help you with placing multiple social media networks on your website. Addthis, a social media plugin that can help you link to multiple networks, is informative because it includes analytics. This can be quite helpful if you need to report back to the boss on the site’s progress with social media.
Link back to your website on social media
On the social media sites, link back to your website in creative ways. For example, you might write a blog post on a topic that will interest a wide variety of your Facebook fans. Make sure to create a nice icon on the blog post that will appear when you put the link on Facebook business page, so it will be more enticing for users to click. Spend time to develop the meta description for the post, as this will show up on Facebook as the description. Also, talk to people about the post by using friendly, concise language. People relate to other people – if you capture their interest, they may want to learn more.
Above is an example of a shared page on Facebook with a thumbnail of space to highlight the post. Wouldn’t you be more likely to click on it if has interesting imagery?
How do you know the social media effect is working?
Are you getting hits to your own site via social media? You can keep track of social media traffic to your site via Google Analytics and other web analytics packages. In the other direction, you can monitor whether and how much people are putting your content in their social media streams by how many likes, tweets and plusses you get on your posts.
On the right is a panel from a Google Analytics screen – to see how many hits a site got from sources such as Facebook or Twitter (Twitter now shows up as t.co), go to Standard Reporting tab and click Traffic Sources->Sources->Referrals.
How are you integrating social media with your website?
Leora Wenger builds websites for small businesses, libraries and three Rutgers University departments. She loves tweaking PHP, composing a striking web design, stretching WordPress, and publicizing sites. In her spare time she’s a mom, wife and daughter. Every now and then she squeezes in the time to paint a watercolor or two.
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