Socialize Your Website: Essential Tips for Using Social Media on Your Website

social media tipsSocial media and website promotion are like two peas in a pod. You need both in order to create a successful online presence. You need to send social traffic to your website, and you need to send website traffic to your social media sites. In order to get this motor running, you need to make sure that your website is well equipped with the buttons, widgets, and calls-to-action that will encourage your website visitors to cross into your social sphere. There are 3 main ways to do this: Follow buttons, share buttons, and social widgets. Let’s take a look at each!

Using Social Follow Buttons on Your Site

You’ve seen them: beautiful, colorful, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest icons of all sizes and colors. People love to paste them all over their websites–and you should too.

But before you go here and get yours, keep the following things in mind:

1. Don’t link to Social Networks You’re Not Active On

Just because you have an account doesn’t mean you should link to it. when a visitor lands on your page, you’ve probably only got their attention for a few moments before they click away. If all they do is subscribe to a YouTube channel with no videos on it–you may have lost a potential fan.

2. Include a Call to Action

Bright shiny buttons are great, but people have become accustomed to them. They’ve also become accustomed to generic “calls to action” like:

“follow me on Twitter”
“follow me on Facebook”

Why not get more specific?

“Follow me on Twitter and get event updates and music recommendations”
“Follow me on Facebook to get all the tantalizing details about my life on the road”

Give your fans an idea of what the benefits of following you are, and they will be more likely to click.

Using Social “Like” or “Share” Buttons on Your Website

Following and sharing are distinct activities and they require different buttons and a different perspective. People share content they find interesting. People follow people they find interesting.

So, to inspire content sharing you need awesome blog posts, photos, mp3s, and videos. Make sure that the interesting content on your site is sharable. Many website builders (such as HostBaby’s site builder) have share buttons built in. So you may already have them at your disposal, but there are also companies like ShareThis and AddThis that make adding share buttons easy.

Just remember: the trick with share buttons is creating content that people want to share and then telling them to share it.

For instance, if you like the article your reading, you might be inclined to share it. But I’m going to go a little farther than just drawing your eyeballs to the like/share buttons at the bottom of this page, I’m going to add some urgency by asking YOU, (my personal friend and devoted reader), to share this article on Facebook and Twitter. Do it right now, before you even finish reading. Let’s see how many likes and shares we can get! (Your Facebook friends will undoubtedly be impressed with your good taste as well as the useful information you provided them with).

Yes, I’m going a little overboard, but studies have shown that simply asking people to re-tweet, post, and share is one of the most effective means of getting content passed around. I guess that seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget. Re-Tweet!

For further reading on the importance of using like buttons to enhance your search ranking, click here.

 Using Social Media Widgets and Feeds

Installing an activity feed on your website such as Twitter’s feed widget is basically a way of showcasing how wonderful you are on your favorite social network. This can be a double-edged sword, though. If it looks like you haven’t shared anything in months or all your posts are about what you ate for breakfast–it can deter people from following you. I wouldn’t recommend installing an activity feed, unless you post at least a few times a week.

There are thousands of website-ready social widgets out there. Try searching for “social media widgets” in Google. You’ll find tons.

Both Facebook and Twitter offer a handful their own widgets that can be added to your site with just a little cutting and pasting. Here are two of my favorites:

Facebook’s Commenting Plugin

Facebook’s commenting plugin allows users to add comments directly to your website. This is a great tool to encourage engagement on your site. Just be sure to respond to the comments!

Twitter’s Favs Plugin

The Twitter Favs plugin is a cool alternative to the feed widget. If you’re not a big tweeter this is a great way to share interesting content with your website visitors. This widget will display anything you “favorite” on Twitter. Don’t forget to favorite tweets that contain glowing reviews about you!

Do you have any suggestions for making your website more social? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Build a social-ready website with HostBaby today!