Got a website that's search engine friendly? If so, then well done! Got a website that's armed with SEO Kevlar that can tackle anything and everything that Google throws at you in 2014? You can go ahead and pat yourself on the back!! Now, the real question -- have you done anything about the social unfriendliness of your site? What? didn't know that your site is an online sociopath? Thought having a Facebook profile and sharing the odd tweet every now and again did enough to build your social media presence? Well, don't worry, you aren't alone! Many businesses are falling into the trap of building an ineffective social media presence, which starts off with their website being social media unfriendly. Though they may be active on social media, their inability to merge social with their website is costing them big time. If that's what is happening to your brand, this article is for you.
In order to improve your social media presence, you need to find everything that is turning your website into a social media outcast.
Check whether your website is afflicted with any of the problems below:
#1 - Below Par Content
The contours of a well-written web copy have changed. In a world where Messrs. Panda and Penguin rule with an iron fist, website content with bad grammar, poor readability, and keyword spam is a recipe for disaster. However, good grammar, increased readability, and content that isn't keyword heavy is simply not good enough anymore. What visitors are looking for is useful, compelling content. This is the kind of content they want to share with their friends and followers on social networks. It isn't easy to write great content, so you might require extra help to write this content. Do what you must, but take steps to make your content more share-worthy (readable + engaging + timely).
#2 - An Unresponsive Website
Responsive web design adds value to your attempts to build a successful social media presence. Is your website responsive? you'll want your web property to be accessible across various devices, because your target audiences aren't getting to it from a desktop alone. they're using multiple devices to access websites, connect to their social networks, and share information with their friends and followers. If your website doesn't render well on mobile devices, forget about leveraging social media for business benefit.
#3 - It Has a "Blog"
Why the quotes around blog? Because just having a blog doesn't make your site more sociable. There is a difference between having a blog and making it work. Businesses use blogs for a reason -- to attract traffic and convert this traffic into paying customers -- but they need to do this well. Your websites blog must deliver quality posts to target readers, and with a regularity that keeps them coming back for more. If it isn't doing that, it is just taking up bandwidth and adding very little real value to your website.
#4 - No Social Login
Social Login allows your website visitors to log into the site using their Facebook, Twitter or any other social network account. This offers them two major benefits -- they no longer have to go through the long registration process and remember the password to your website. It also allows them to connect the website with their social accounts, which makes sharing website content with their friends much more quick and convenient. What this also does is persuade them to share content, because its so easy. Whether its a link to a nice post you have up on your blog, or a product offer they cant pass up, they're much more likely to share it on their social network. Social Login makes socializing a web property an exercise in simplicity. With several Social Login providers on the market (of course my favorite in terms of bang for the buck comes from LoginRadius), you can't afford not to use this disruptive but effective social technology.
#5 - You're Not Using Social Sharing Buttons Correctly
The guys at Business Insider have a nice article about the value of sharing that puts a tangible dollar amount on social shares. It does a great job of illustrating the value that these buttons bring to your website in real world terms. If you're not using them correctly, however, your website wont deliver the benefits you're hoping for. Keeping these tips in mind will help you use social sharing buttons effectively:
- Make sure you give your readers a choice of social share buttons. The most popular social networks are a must, but also offer buttons for other social channels that your audience might frequent.
- Buttons need to include share counters that show how many people have shared the content using the button; this adds credibility to your site.
- Are you asking people to share your content? Some people need a push, so encourage your website visitors to share content they like. don't be shy; self-promotion is good for you in this case!
- Get your placement right -- make your share buttons easy to find.
#6 - Your Website Has the Wrong User Experience (UX)
A websites UX can be improved if you make it social media friendly, but conversely, a satisfying UX can make it more sociable, as well. The key to a great UX is that you understand your customers, determine what they want, and deliver on their expectations. Not so simple, I agree, but the trick is to not overwhelm your visitors with data. Stick to what is needed and discard the rest. This ensures logical information architecture and makes the site easily navigable. Visitors have one primary concern while using a website -- Can I access all the relevant information quickly? If you answer this question affirmatively through your UX, you're one step closer to a social media friendly website.
#7 - Lack of Visual Content
Focus more on visual content rather than textual. The former outperforms when it comes to likes, shares, and comments. A visual is more likely to get a person to click on the share button. what's more, using image-based media throws the field open for much greater user engagement. Videos, infographics, branded or non-branded imagery, etc. get people talking. Visuals draw peoples attention better than text, and they make them think. This leads to better interaction and engagement.
The way you incorporate the use of graphics and videos on your website will be the bellwether for your social media influence.
#8 - Lack of a Meaningful Narrative
Does your content tell a good story? Its imperative that your website sets a compelling narrative for the user, and it needs to be able to get through to not-so-eager listeners. The online audience is notoriously fickle and very impatient. If your brands story doesn't interest them, they wont engage with it. Think about it... nobody likes engaging with a boring person, but everybody wants to be friends with the cool kid on the block who has interesting tales to tell.
#9 - Your Website Just doesn't Have Enough Credibility
One reason why your target audience doesn't socialize with your site might be its lack of credibility. You simply haven't done enough to improve its reputation. One of the ways you could work on this is by using your fledgling social identity to prop up your website. You might not have built a rock solid and highly effective social media presence quite yet, but use what you've got and try to do it right.
Interacting with your target audience on discussions forums, through the comments section on your blog, or at events like conferences and lectures will help build credibility for your site. This, in turn, can be leveraged for more proactive social media interaction.
#10 - You
We've saved the worst for last! You are the primary reason why your website doesn't have social promise. So, think very carefully about whether you actually believe a social media friendly website is good for your brand. If you aren't keen on using social media as a channel for generating brand awareness, any attempt to prop up the social portion of your site will come across as being half-baked. On the other hand, if you actually believe in social media as a way to empower your brand, there is very little doubt you will make the right decisions.
If you think your website is suffering from these problems, its time you get them sorted. Otherwise, it will become difficult for you to compete in a world that is taking its cue from social media more than ever before.
Pratik Dholakiya is Co-Founder & VP of Marketing of E2M Solutions & OnlyDesign. At E2M Solutions, they focus heavily on content marketing and generate revenue for their clients. And through OnlyDesign they help companies build better web & mobile presence. Get in touch with him on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik to ask for any help.
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