I have a terrible admission to make. Last year I started cheating on a long term partner of mine. Dirty, I know. But then if that “partner” wasn’t called Google and she didn’t stop sending me traffic after the Penguin update then I probably never would have started looking elsewhere. And the name of my new muse? Well, social media of course.
What shocked me – the reformed SEO fanatic – was that I discovered to my amazement that not only was social media more fun than spending your whole life trying to build links to your site – but it was also a lot quicker too. As in, virtually instant. Traffic on demand.
Even better, I found that thanks to the naturally viral nature of many social media properties, the results tend to keep on growing over time. You get some followers and create some great content. Those followers like, comment, share, retweet and so on leading to more followers. The next piece of content does even better as a result and so on.
Infact, last week I launched a brand new blog in a new niche with zero contacts, no inbound links and not a social media follower in sight. In that time I’ve generated 365 high quality visitors (for free) thanks to social media – and every time I post the traffic spikes get bigger and bigger. And remember that’s only in seven days so I fully expect this site to be easily hitting 500+ unique, high quality visitors per day in the very near future. Gotta love social media, right?
In short, the way things stand right now with online marketing you’d have to be nothing short of crazy not to get involved in social media marketing. And one of the absolute best ways to get started is to spend some time integrating a few key components into your existing website. Doing so will increase your social media following, add viral elements to your site and help your passionate audience to share your “best in breed” content with their friends.
Ready to get started? Then let’s jump in…
Social Sharing Buttons
The absolute bare minimum you should be doing on your site is adding social sharing buttons to make it easy for your visitors to share your content with their friends.
Choose Your Social Media Properties Wisely
With over a billion monthly active users it’s safe to say that adding a Facebook share or like button is a smart move, but what other buttons should you add? The answer is – that depends.
Different social networks attract different audiences. For example LinkedIn is a network for professionals, Twitter tends to be popular in tech circles and Pinterest is populated with image-loving females. So take some time before adding buttons to consider the social sites that you’re going to target. Decide which ones are the best match for your site and select only these buttons to add to your site.
Including A Share Count
Some social media buttons will allow you to display the number of actions that other people have taken. Your visitors will be able to see how many likes, tweets, shares and so on each particular piece of content on your site has had.
Whether or not to display those statistics really depends on how many actions you’re getting. If your average blog post gets just one or two likes or tweets then it’s probably best not to display these counts – after all they’re not really anything to be proud of.
That said, if you’re getting dozens of interactions every time you post then why *not* include those share counts as a form of social proof that – we hope – will encourage even more readers to share your content with their friends.
Customizing The Message
Having people share your content is great. After all, who doesn’t like free traffic, right? But you know what’s even better? Getting free traffic and more social media followers for your brand.
Selecting social media buttons so that you can customize the message that gets shared/tweeted to include your own social media profiles can be a very powerful way to gain new followers.
Seems such a tiny, simple change but I gain a fair number of followers each week thanks to this simple tactic.
The jury is still out (and probably always will be) when it comes to the “best” blog commenting system but one super-effective way to integrate social media into your website is to enable Facebook Comments.
The reason for this is twofold; firstly enabling your readers to use their Facebook profiles to comment can significantly reduce the spam comments that you experience.
However the second reason is even more powerful; whenever someone leaves a comment on your website using their Facebook account then that comment will show up in their friend’s Facebook feeds. Quite simply every time anyone leaves a comment you’re getting free marketing to all their Facebook friends – which can not only drive additional comments but also traffic and social media followers to boot.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, adding Facebook Comments to your WordPress powered site is easier than ever before. Simply install the Facebook For WordPress plugin, spend a few minutes going through the Facebook authentication process and you’re all set.
Social Media Feeds
Do you simply use social media as a way to promote your website or do you try to post engaging content that has value in itself as a way to build trust with your followers and build your brand? If you’re sharing great content with your social media followers then another great tip for growing your following is to add feeds from your most important social profiles to your website.
For example you can include a widget that shows the latest pictures you’ve uploaded to Pinterest, or the latest discussions on your Facebook page or a list of your latest tweets.
By adding these feeds to your site you’ll find that your social profiles not only get more attention from your site visitors but furthermore you’ll help to educate your visitors as to the value of following you because they’ll be able to see samples of what you’re actually posting.
One final tip worthy of mention here is to consider displaying not just how many social media followers you have but also actual pictures of your fans. Showing dozens of profile pictures on your site helps your visitors to “connect” with your profiles and can also act as a potent source of social proof. After all, if you can clearly see all these people who have chosen to network with you online then it’s probably worth new visitors taking a look themselves.
For more proven strategies to grow your online business, please visit the authors’ internet marketing blog.