While just about every website engages in SEO these days, there’s another marketing opportunity that is sometimes missed altogether—optimizing your company’s website for social media marketing.
There’s much more to effective social media marketing than simply setting up a Facebook page with your company’s name attached to it. Unfortunately, many small businesses treat their company’s website and social media accounts as two mutually exclusive parts of their digital marketing strategy. In reality, both elements should be closely intertwined.
Here’s the deal—when your website and social media platforms are working in unison, your digital marketing results have the potential to grow exponentially. An increased number of site visitors, a more engaged social media following and—most importantly, mind you—more sales are sure to follow when you successfully integrate these two important elements of digital marketing. The following are three key ways to ensure that your website is optimized for social media success.
Social Media Connections
Before anything else, the first thing you need to do is make sure that there are links between your website and your social media accounts. While including your website URL in your social media bio is a fairly straightforward practice, far fewer companies use their website to directly link to their social media accounts.
Sure, it may take a bit of extra coding or the installation of extra apps to accomplish this for your site, but it is well worth the effort. Just like you put your website URL in your social media profile in the hope that it will generate visitors to your site, so too do your website’s links to your social media accounts increase your likelihood of gaining new followers on these platforms. As long as these links are prominently displayed, your website can easily generate new social media followers.
That’s not your only option for generating social connections, however. Tools such as AddThis and ShareThis allow you to embed social media share buttons on each page of your site, which makes it significantly easier for site visitors to share a piece of content on their own social media profile. And when sharing sidebars also include share counters—much like the below example from Content Marketing Institute—it can give your post more credibility, further increasing the likelihood that visitors will view your information as trustworthy and authoritative.
If you’re not sure where to begin in this process, start with the basics. Connections to Facebook and Twitter are a must, but integration with other social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest can also give your business a major boost. And if you need help, there are plenty of tools available online that can notify you if any social media elements have not been properly integrated on your site.
Consistently Provide New, Quality Content
Producing unique, high-quality content isn’t only an SEO essential. If you want your website to make a legitimate contribution to your social media marketing, you need to consistently provide interesting and unique content through your blog. And the better your content is, the more likely it is to generate shares on social media, thus building awareness for both your website and your various social media accounts.
You don’t need to simply limit yourself to written blog posts, either. Infographics, videos and other forms of content can make your website more engaging and give your followers a greater incentive to share your posts on their own social media accounts. Visual content that makes an emotional appeal is much more likely to be effective in this regard.
Another bonus is that by creating quality content for your website, you also provide material that can be used in crafting your own social media posts. For example, let’s say you just published a blog post titled “6 Essential Spring Gardening Tips.” This is the perfect type of content to push through your own social media channels—especially since Buzzsumo’s analysis of the most viral content of 2015 found that posts that included practical tips, quizzes or a unique spin on trending topics tended to be among the most shared.
Make it Interactive
Users flock to their many social media accounts for interaction, and your website can take advantage of this as well by letting users comment and generate their own content on your site. But rather than forcing site visitors to undergo a convoluted registration process to participate, you can follow the example of Mashable and others who further leverage social media to their advantage by allowing users to register with their social media accounts.
Many websites use social commenting systems like Livefyre or Disqus that allow users to comment on articles and other content after signing in with their Facebook profile or other social media account information. These comments help increase the visibility of a post by creating more social media connections that can be seen by friends and other users who otherwise might not see your content at all.
Depending on the nature of your business, you can also enable site visitors to engage further by uploading user-generated content, such as product reviews or photos. By once again allowing users to upload this content via a social media sign-in, your site can generate a large number of organic social interactions that lend your company greater transparency and authenticity to win over potential customers.
The more integrated your website and social media marketing efforts become, the more likely you are to gain a robust, engaged social media following while simultaneously increasing visitors and sales on your site. A focus on your website’s social media optimization will ultimately improve every other element of your digital marketing strategy.
This blog post originally appeared on Social Media Today.