By now, you know that social media is a power player in the game of search engine optimization (SEO), with seven of the top 10 ranking factors now involving social media. People talking about what you do on Facebook, Google+ and other social networks, and linking to the amazing content on your small business website, works wonders at getting your business listed on search results. These days, that really matters.
So it’s no surprise that the best small business websites integrate social elements.
Here are a few fundamental ways to add social media to your website to help grow your business:
Create shareable content
Keep this guiding question in mind when you create content for your website: Will visitors want to share this information? Great content is the not-so-secret ingredient in every successful website. Unique content. Relevant content. Trustworthy content. Text, video and images that exceed the expectations visitors have when they click on a link to your site or one of its pages. Infographics. White papers. Stuff they can’t find anywhere else -- and that they feel compelled to share.
Make social sharing simple
Once you create the shareable content, you can encourage social sharing in many ways. Here are a few favorites:
-- Add a Click to Tweet button to pull quotes and other “tweetables” on a web page.
-- Embed Pinterest-worthy images.
-- Add Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons.
Speaking of Facebook … been there lately? Yea, so has everybody else. Just about every small business website can benefit from at least adding a Facebook widget to the home page. But why stop there? You’ve probably seen product “shares” in your feed. That’s because people love to share images of things they think are cool on their favorite social platforms. Make sharing your cool stuff simple by placing social buttons on your product pages. For instance, look at how retailer Crate & Barrel makes it easy to share this featured product’s image via Pinterest:
Showcase social feeds
Are you active on Twitter or Facebook? If you use these social networks to build your business, showcase your social activity on your website by incorporating social feeds. These real-time social snapshots can give viewers a glimpse of your business’s personality and entice them to connect with you. Embed Twitter timelines and Facebook activity feeds for a more integrated online business presence.
Offer social sign-in and commenting
With so many people spending so much time on social networks, it makes sense to leverage social media to make it easy for them to sign in and comment on your website. No one likes to fill out lengthy sign-up forms; social sign-in means they don’t have to. They can simply select to log in via their Facebook account, for example, to gain lightning-fast connection to your system. Visitors might need to enter an email address or other quick piece of info -- depending on what details each network automatically releases -- but they’ll likely find the more simplified sign-in process appealing. And happy visitors stay longer.
Want to learn more? Social Media Examiner provides a helpful overview of how social login works.
Similar to social sign-in, you can enable visitors to leave comments on your site through social-based comment tools like Disqus and Facebook Comments. The latter allows users to comment on your content using their Facebook profile and show their comments to their friends in their news feed.
These tools can help
Some templated website builders, including GoDaddy Website Builder [link to Build Your Website PDF], make it even easier for site visitors to share interesting content on their favorite social media sites. The templates auto-populate with attractively placed social media buttons. In some cases, you can even sync your website to your Twitter and Facebook account and we’ll automatically update the design of your social pages to match your website.
If you’ve got a WordPress website, there are a bevy of great social media plugins available. We use the Easy Social Icons plugin for linky goodness on the GoDaddy Garage, for example. Here’s a strong Top 20 list to start checking out.
By adding these social media elements to your small business website, you’ll be well on your way to leveraging the power of social networking to share your awesomeness with the people who matter most -- your customers and prospects. Schedule a manageable amount of time each day for meaningful social engagement, be authentic, be creative, and watch your business grow.