Social media is an extremely important component of online marketing today. Millions of people check in to at least one (and sometimes many) social networks on a daily basis. Social media is where the people are, which means that it’s also where any smart marketer wants to be. Social media management is a great way to communicate with target audience members and share content and get feedback. It also has additional benefits as it helps to improve brand visibility on the web and in the search engines. Social media is important, but businesses shouldn’t get so caught up in it that they forget its true purpose.
A business website should be the hub of all online marketing activity. The purpose of engaging in social media (and online content marketing, PR, and advertising, etc.) is to generate traffic to a business website. Social media pages are often full of great information, but they have limitations set forth by each social network. It may be character limitations or the way that a page can be laid out. There aren’t any limitations when it comes to an actual business website, which is why that is where you want any potential customer or prospect to land to find their information.
Once someone lands on your web page, you want them to stay there. Some businesses don’t have their priorities right when it comes to the website vs. social media. Right there at the very top of their business website they are telling visitors to go over to their social media pages to Follow and Like them. Followers in social media are great, but what is more important here? Do you want a visitor to leave your website to click over and Like your page or do you want a visitor to buy something or fill out a lead generation form?
Including large social sharing icons with a call to action like “Follow us!” above the fold of a business website (the top half of the homepage) is a mistake. This is prime real estate and one of the first places that a website visitor will look to determine whether or not you have what they are looking for. Don’t waste this valuable space on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube logos. If anything, you are providing free advertising for these social networks. Instead, use the space to include content that will encourage visitors to convert.
Most businesses that are serious about online marketing today have a social media presence. There’s no need to “brag” about it on important parts of your website. If someone wants to find you in social media, they will. A simple branded search can bring up your social pages and people can choose to Follow or Like if they want to. There’s no need to force it on website visitors.
It’s especially important not to put too much emphasis on social media profiles if they aren’t active. This is another common mistake. Websites display social sharing information prominently, visitors click over to check them out, and the first thing that they see is a post from a few months ago. This can damage your online reputation because it appears that you are lazy.
If you are going to display social sharing buttons on your site, be sure to do it somewhere that is “out of the way” like in the footer. And if you display them at all, you better make sure that there is something of value on those pages when a website visitor clicks over.
About the Author: Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO company that offers full day SEO classes. For more information call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com