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How to Get the Most out of Social Media

social media seoSocial networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are an increasingly popular and effectively way of increasing the loyalty of customers to your company brand. However many people are still struggling trying to figure out how to integrate them effectively into their current websites.   This article deals with some of the basics you should know in order to use social networking effectively.

Each social network has different ways of allowing users to share their endorsements with others. For example, Facebook uses “Likes” and Twitter uses “tweets” – the more support the better.  The power of a single endorsement can be extended even further through attracting followers on Twitter or through Fan Pages with Facebook – not only is the customer supporting you, they are now being updated with your company’s developments.  Although there are plenty of other types of so called “engagement conversions” which one can try to encourage on their website, for the time being the main four that the vast majority of people use and recognise are tweets and followers on Twitter and Likes and Fan Pages on Facebook.

There are now many websites and ebooks being written which go into detail about the art of “engagement conversion”, giving readers advice on what type of content they should use in order to attract Tweets or Likes.  Some of the most popular suggestions is through the right typography or the effective use of headlines which will capture the users interest.  Another popular way to increase social networking which is often discussed in these books is by using contests to strategically attract fans or how to use “@ relies” and “retweets” to your best advantage.

Thinka bout your Visitors

However there are also some fundamental ways you can alter the structure of your website in order to increase its user friendliness and therefore attract more visibility for your brand.  Here are some more general approaches which you can use to help you to amalgamate social networks and engagement conversions into your website most effectively:

  1. Always use proven tactics: use any related data that you may acquire, from email campaigns, landing pages you may have tried and tested which worked, product page optimization and any other information you may have collected or online marketing experience you may have in order to create designs, draft messages as well as construct effective calls-to-action.  Also look at any mistakes which you may have made or things which didn’t work in the past and ensure that you avoid repeating them in the future with social networking.
  2. Only use the most important social networking services: there are currently hundreds of sharing services available on the internet however the vast majority of people only use Facebook, Twitter and possibly a few other sites.  The more sharing mechanisms that you display on your website the more cluttered it will look and consequently the less likely a visitor will be to click on any of them, so always make sure that you limit the ones which you use to only those such as Facebook and Twitter.
  3. Don’t hide or disguise the share options: it is less and less common these days but you may still find global share buttons which you must click in order to see all of your different sharing options.  Don’ use these, it is simply one more hoop that your visitors must jump through in order in order to tweet or Like your website.  You should avoid this potential fallout point from your sales funnel and simply keep your sharing elements as distinct buttons.
  4. Distinguish between sharing and joining elements: you always want to make sure that your visitors know that when they click on a button that it will either “share” the item (ex: tweet or Like) or redirect the visitor to a Facebook Fanpage or Twitter profile to follow.  When a user feels unsure about what results will occur from taking an action they are much less likely to make that click!
  5. Make the choice which best suits your market: you should figure out whether your market is more likely to use Facebook or Twitter (most website visitors will lean towards one or the other depending on what types of customers you attract) and make that button the most prominent on your webpage in order to better accommodate the majority.
  6. Test, test and test some more: if you don’t split test to see what works and what doesn’t you will always be guessing and unless you are very fortunate you will miss the chance to optimize your site for this type of traffic.  There is still relatively little data which is available about how to most effectively increase your tweets, likes, followers or fans although there is plenty of evidence that dramatic increases in visitors and conversions are possible by integrating social networking into your website if done properly.
  7. Always Test Intelligently: make sure that adding social networking isn’t taking away from something which is equally or more important.  Getting an increase in likes and twitters may simply not be worth it if their placement actually reduces your overall visitors for example.

Social networking is an increasingly powerful tool if you own a website or are involved in search engine optimization but you need to know how to use it effectively.  If you take the time to develop and grow your social networking however then it will almost certainly pay dividends in the future as more and more people use websites like Facebook and Twitter to share their ideas, opinions as well their endorsements of brands and products.

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