Incorporating social media into your website is an important part of your overall online marketing strategy. Not only does including buttons and feeds encourage visitors to share your content, but it can also help improve your site discoverability, since social media profiles and activity are included in search results.
For that reason, when you make your own website, you need to consider how you want to incorporate social media into the site design. When you follow a few important best practices, your social media will be a seamless part of your overall site design, and an important part of your online success.
1. Use Both Infrastructure Icons and Share Icons
One common mistake that new website designers make is including social media icon buttons, but not the right kind of buttons. There are two different types of social buttons: Navigation icons that are part of the overall infrastructure of the site, and remain on the page no matter where the user clicks, and share buttons, which allow users to share content on their own feeds. Navigation icons should appear on the top, bottom, or side of the page, and take users directly to your social media page; be sure that this page opens in a separate window so users don’t have to exit your site.
When adding your icons, consider adding a “social proof” widget from Facebook. Known as a “Like Box,” this shows users how many people like your page, including which of their friends have clicked like, and offers a direct link for them to like your page. Including this box lends some credibility and legitimacy to your brand, which can help with conversions.
2. Include Feeds — But Only When They Are Relevant
If you maintain an active presence on Twitter, it might make sense to include a feed on your site. Like social icons, you can set up your Twitter feed to appear as part of navigation so it’s visible on every page, or you can choose to include it on one page only. Either way, only include a Twitter feed if it contains relevant information (i.e., news about your company, sales and specials, etc.) and if you update it at least a few times a week. An inactive feed is not going to help you — and can even hurt you — so only add it if you’re committed to updates.
3. Include Social Logins
If your site requires users to create accounts and log in to make purchases or access content, include a social login option. The majority of users (almost 75 percent!) prefer to log in using a social media account rather than create a new one. Offer several options, not just Facebook, to reach as many people as possible.
4. Be Selective
Finally, remember that just because a social site exists doesn’t mean you have to use it. Including too many social media options can be just as detrimental to your site as not including any at all.
Only include buttons for those sites where you maintain an active presence, and where your audience is. Too many options can be confusing and dilute your message, so be strategic and keep it to the most relevant networks.
The choices you make with your social integration can play a major role in your overall marketing success. Above all, don’t forget to ask people to interact with you on social media, and to focus on creating great content so that they actually want to.