As social media continues to play an increasingly important role in marketing your business online, optimizing your social accounts is now critical to make the most of their potential. And since your website should be considered the home base of your social media strategy–the place where all of your accounts drive your customers–you want to ensure that you’ve fully optimized all of your on-site social media.
Fortunately, there are a variety of tools and useful steps that you can utilize to make sure that your website is not only social media-friendly, but really leverages the expansive reach of social networking to build your brand and connect with more customers. Many companies may use select social media platforms to connect with customers, but without optimizing their efforts and establishing a strong foundation for interaction on their website, they’ll never experience the full benefits of social media.
From Twitter to Facebook, YouTube to Google+, LinkedIn to Quora, and more, you can effectively incorporate a variety of platforms to not only drive traffic and increase conversions, but to also build your community and online reputation. In this ultimate guide to on-site social media optimization, we’ll cover which social platforms your company should be targeting, how best to format your on-site social media components, and how to optimize specific platforms like Twitter and Google+.
Where to Focus your On-site Social Media Optimization
Before you begin taking the time to optimize your on-site social media, it’s important to establish exactly what goals you aim to achieve by doing so and which platforms will serve your particular business and industry best. Properly running a social media campaign takes time and resources, so you want to be sure your not you’re not wasting your money with ineffectual approaches. To begin, you’ll want to take a close look at what you want to achieve through social media, who your target audiences are, and how you plan to engage with your customers.
In the past, I’ve discussed where to spend time on social media marketing for business, and while each business is different, there are some general rules you can abide. Most businesses will definitely want to maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. While YouTube can require a bit more involvement, adding a video component to your marketing strategy can be tremendously effective. Quora is a great way to engage with others in your industry and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Pinterest and Instagram are particularly useful for brands with a strong visual component, but they can really be leveraged for many different types of businesses. Once you’ve determined these goals, you can then proceed to optimizing these platforms.
Optimizing your Social Media Accounts
Before you begin optimizing your on-site social media, you want to be sure that the pages that you are connecting to are optimized as well. Often times company’s will quickly set up their social pages without giving much thought to how important the information found on them can be for their brand and for growing a following. The rules of optimizing for a social media page are, of course, different than SEO for a website, but there are still guidelines to follow. Some of the key components that you want to include are the following:
- Establish a cohesive brand across all of your social media platforms.
- Name your social media handles clearly and accurately with your brand/company name and in some cases what you do if clarification is needed, without overstuffing for keywords.
- Change your Facebook page URL to your brand/company name from the long stretch of numbers that are automatically generated.
- For all platforms, be sure to fill out all of your contact information (phone, email, location, etc.), and the “about”/bio section using relevant keywords, as these can help both people and search engines find you more easily.
Utilizing Social Buttons and Logins on your Site
If you haven’t already incorporated social media buttons–clickable widgets that allow visitors to like, follow, or share directly from your website–you need to get on it right away. Most social media platforms have offer guides for using their widgets (like these for Facebook and Twitter), or if you have a custom built site, your designer can easily add them.
One of the simplest ways to optimize your site is to start by adding follow buttons for your social media accounts towards the top of your homepage (aka above-the-fold) and then on subsequent pages. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find these buttons and to start following you. You’ll want to make sure the buttons link directly to your now optimized social media accounts.
You’ll also want to add social share buttons to the content on your site to enable visitors to easily share your blog posts, videos, images, and other content across all platforms. These buttons make sharing your content incredibly easy for your visitors and can create a huge ripple effect of exposure for your brand to their followers and friends. With certain widgets you can also show your visitors how many other people (or friends on their networks) have shared your content, which helps to fuel the engagement. In some cases, you may even want to set up a login widget or pop-up, so that your visitors can directly connect to their social media pages and easily share their activity on your site.
Creating Clear Calls To Action
It’s not enough to simply add social share buttons and hope that visitor will use them. You should also be encouraging them to do so in subtle and positive ways. Even polite reminders like “please share…” or “like what you read? Let your friends know!” can go a long ways to increasing your social shares. Sometimes we all need a bit of gentle encouragement to engage.
Shareable Social Images
Be sure that your blog posts and pages incorporate an original image that uses the correct ALT tags. Generally speaking and especially for social media, visuals play an incredibly important role in grabbing the visitors attention and helping to encourage them to share more. And, by using an image with the correct alt tags, a small image will accompany your article when your visitors share your content, helping to grab the attention of even more people.
Using Twitter Cards
Twitter Cards were created by Twitter to enable you to attach rich photos, videos and other media to your Tweets, which will help encourage more traffic to your site. You’ve probably already seen plenty of these cards on your Twitter feed, and chances are they drew your attention more than the barrage of text-only tweets. And these aren’t just single images we’re talking about, these cards can also include mini-galleries, a mobile app direct download link, your brand name, product summary, an additional link to “view on web”, and more; all of which helps to drive more traffic and further engage potential customers.
Using Twitter Cards is quite easy and offers tremendously powerful engagement opportunities. Simply choose the appropriate card type, use the correct META tags, use the Twitter validator tool, and use Twitter Card analytics to test your results.
Using Facebook Open Graph Tags and Stories
Facebook offers plenty of great opportunities for businesses to interact with customers and grow, but one tool that many may not know about is Facebook’s Open Graph Tags and Stories. Much more dynamic and engaging than simply posting an update, Open Graph allows you to share rich information and media, and enable users to share how they’ve interacted with your business. Open Graph Tags enable you to specify exactly what information and images will appear when a post from your business is shown and shared on news feeds. By optimizing the tags and image size on your website, when the post is shown on Facebook, it will display the post title, your website’s title, the URL, an image and a short description. This rich posts are much more engaging and shareable than simply posting a link back to your site.
With Facebook’s Open Graph Stories, you can allow Facebook users to share their activity with your app or website, or in other words, tell the story of how they engaged. By implementing Facebook Login, users will be able to directly interact with your app or website and publish that information about your product to their news feed. These stories can be shared implicitly (every time there is engagement, which results in more posts), or explicitly (permission required for sharing, more weight given and more clicks), both of which should be used. The Open Graph Stories are designed to reduce spam and help encourage more engagement.
Integrating YouTube into your Site
As I mentioned before, YouTube can be a great way for your business to engage with your audience, build our brand and increase conversions. And with YouTube’s APIs and tools, you can easily embed videos into your website or mobile app and further optimize your on-site engagement. As YouTube is considered the second largest search engine, finding ways to incorporate video into your content offerings can potentially drive a great deal of traffic and engagement to your business. The real key is to offer great content, otherwise people won’t stick around to watch or share your videos. Even if you’re creating helpful how-tos or product tutorials, you want to make sure the content is engaging and informative.
By embedding a YouTube player into your site, either on a blog post or elsewhere, you can customize how the video player looks and functions, and how users will interact with it. You can embed a player that plays a specific video, a playlist, or enables users to search for a specific term to find relevant videos. You’ll also probably want to embed the YouTube Subscribe button, which allows visitors to subscribe with one click and without leaving your site.
In addition to optimizing the function of the YouTube player on your site, you should also take advantage of the rich data and analytics offered by YouTube to learn more about viewing trends, demographics and more.
Utilizing Rich Pins with Pinterest
We’ve talked a lot recently about the many ways that Pinterest can serve as an excellent marketing tool for your business. And now with Rich pins, you can incorporate more information into your pins and offer more opportunities for engagement and conversions. Currently Rich pins are available for 6 different purposes, each of which can offer different benefits depending on your business and goals. You can use App pins to allow people to directly download your app, or Place pins to offer users a map, address and phone number for your business. There are also Article pins, which can be useful for sharing content, as well as Movie and Recipe pins, which can be useful for specific businesses.
The Product pin is probably the most widely useful for businesses, as it enables you to simplify the purchase process. Not only can users see a great image of your product and a description, but you can also add real time pricing, availability and where to purchase, including a link back to your site. As an added benefit, Pinterest will even notify Pinners when there is a drop in price, which provides an opportunity for engagement with users that aren’t even on your mailing list.
Adding LinkedIn Plugins
You can increase engagement and connect with more customers by adding LinkedIn functionality to your website using LinkedIn Plugins. There are a variety of Plugins to choose from depending on your needs and goals, including generating leads, networking and more.
The Share button is probably one of the more commonly used, as it’s a great way to encourage people to share white papers, articles, and other industry-relevant content. The Follow button is also incredibly important and effective for helping to build your network and reach. You can also use the Member Profile and Company Profile plugins as a virtual business card that enables people to easily follow and share your profile or content. Company Insider offers even more in depth knowledge about your employees. The Alumni Tool is a great way to network, while Jobs You Might Be Interested In can be useful for expanding businesses.
Connecting with Google+
While seemingly neglected initially, Google+ is becoming an increasingly important social network for you business and there are tons of ways you can use it to market your business. By adding Google+ functionality to your website, you can easily connect with more customers, encourage more sharing of your content, drive traffic and enable Google to better determine the relevancy of your site for search results. The +1 button allows visitors to recommend your content to people in their circles, helping to drive traffic, while the Google+ badge helps people find you more easily and engage with your community. And the Follow button works like other social media follow buttons to easily follow your page without leaving your website.
Using Google+ offers tremendous potential for your business not only from a social networking and marketing standpoint, but also helping to improve your overall SEO.
Adding Quora Functionality
If you haven’t already explored Quora–the advanced question-and-answer social network–you should definitely consider it as the growing network can serve as a useful tool for marketing your business. Quora offers great ways to connect and interact with your customers, as well as gain feedback, handle customer service, build brand awareness and network. Adding Quora functionality to your website is relatively simple, and requires only a simple copy-and-pasting of short code into your site. Visitors will be able to follow you on Quora directly from your site, as well as allow them to follow specific topics mentioned on your site.
Adding Stumbleupon Badge To Your Site
With so much focus on Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media heavy hitters, Stumbleupon is sometimes left in the dust, but the content discovery engine can help bring exposure to your site and drive more traffic. By adding the Stumbleupon Badge, visitors to your site can quickly and easily share your engaging and informative content with other users. Not only will this help increase exposure of your content, but also it will help drive more traffic, and potentially go viral if shared enough. Stumbleupon also offers a useful analytics tool, so that you can determine which pages are getting shared the most and what type of content is the most engaging.
Now that you have all of these useful tools at your disposal, it’s time to start optimizing your on-site social media. Using these tools and techniques, you can help build exposure for your brand, increase engagement, drive more traffic, and ultimately, as is the hope, create more conversions for your business. But it’s important to remember that without great content, all of this social media optimization won’t do your business any good. People look for and want to share meaningful, useful, and original content. So, be sure that stunning content is at the forefront of your social media marketing strategy.
You also want to be sure that you’re sharing regularly without going overboard and spamming. Analyzing your results from applying these social media tools is also critical to ensure that you’re on the right track, making progress and making adjustments where necessary.
What has your experience been with optimizing your on-site social media or social media for your business in general? Let us know in the comment section below.
- “Social Media Optimization: The Complete Guide, part 1” (Domain Monster)
- “Social Media Optimization: The Complete Guide, part 2” (Domain Monster)
- “9 Point Checklist for Conducting a Social Media Strategy Audit” (Optimize Smart)
- “The Ultimate Guide for Social Media Optimization for SEO” (Liz Lockard)
- “8 YouTube Tips for Business Marketing” (B2C)
- “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Social Media Buttons” (HubSpot)