We might as well accept it, social media is taking over the web. As of December 2011, 64% of all internet users in the US are on Facebook, which boils down to 50% of the US population as a whole. It’s a powerful thing, and is changing the way we use the internet. While Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, its still just one among dozens of others. If used wisely, social media can be an invaluable tool when partnered with your website to expand your web presence. Best of all, its free!
Small businesses can be one of the largest benefactors of social media. Social media is free to setup, and instantly gives businesses the ability to provide real time news and updates through their social media followers. We will elaborate on how to utilize social media more in future posts, I am going to focus briefly on how social media can be utilized on your website. When a small business has their site up and running, one goal for the business should be to attract visitors to their social media pages. If you can get someone to ‘Like’ your page, you instantly have direct real-time communication with that person (and often the people in their network). We want to encourage visitors to connect with your business on social media. Having a facebook feed in your website is an option, or simply putting facebook share icons, or ‘like’ buttons in your website’s posts can get your content on social media without people needing to ‘like’ your business. Any way to get people to share your website content, or mention of your business on social media is beneficial. Think of social media as a pond or a spider web. Getting your content shared on facebook can cause a ripple effect carrying your content to each visitors unique social spider web. It’s only one click from the visitor. Getting interesting content on your site, and making the social media sharing options visible (and not intrusive) should be a goal.
Regularly posting to and updating a website is sometimes hard to do, especially for small business’s that are pressed for time as is. This can be another area where social media can help. Lets face it, if you are an internet user, chances are you check Facebook at least once a day. We know how easy it is to post to social media. While website content can be shared on social media, it can also work the other way around. If you have a site that you can’t update as often as you’d like, why not utilize social media to dynamically change content on your site. Twitter, while popular, is much less so than Facebook. However I find twitter a great way to dynamically change content on your website, or to post news to your homepage, etc. A simple twitter feed that displays your most recent tweet, or a set # of most recent tweets can be a very easy and effective way to announce news, events, etc on your home page. With just a simple tweet, you can notify users of anything you want (in 140 characters or less).
Social media is consuming the internet, and has become an essential part of an online presence. When building a new website for your business, social media should be part of your plans. Integrating social media into your website is both easy and effective. To see one way you can implement social media into a post, check the area just below this post.