By Paul Morris
I have just added social media icons to my website. That’s right. I espouse the benefits of social media by talking of integrated marketing strategies, debate online communities, set myself up as a digital marketing expert, blah, blah, blah and yet I have only just added social media icons (and only 3 of them) to my blog.
My reason was simple. I do not want to see every page with 0 +1 referrals. 0 Facebook Likes. 0 Tweets. It’s embarrassing. I am still not convinced that I’m going to receive much engagement to be frank as I still only have 10’s – low 100’s of users per day however you live in hope don’t you?!
So should you add social media icons to your site?
Every visitor to your site has a marketing cost so why should you turn them over to another channel/ impede their natural conversion cycle by using social media? Instead get them to do what you originally wanted them to do (yes that could be tweet or like; particularly if you are in FMCG or are brand building) E.g. book a test drive, buy your widget, etc.
The extra ‘dross’ could lower conversion rate. Keep things simple and remove all none essential site collateral.
You could be in my situation and scared of adding them fearing a social media icon wasteland that makes your site look unengaging and unappealing. Few people like the fat spotty unpopular kid and would not choose to be friends with him right?!
Some businesses really struggle with social media (debt management, funeral directors, etc) and so there is little point adding them to certain sites or certain business sectors.
You would be stupid not to add them. You should want to build your brand and your online communities to aid engagement further up the sales funnel. Sales do not magically appear out of thin air and it takes many touch points to gain trust and ultimate conversion hence anything that aids that is a good thing.
Linked to the last point; Think of the icons as super mini marketing campaigns. Every time someone retweet’s or Like’s they are sneezing good will to all men and making others aware of your site/ article/ product. That is surely a good thing and what better form of recommendation than word of mouth.
Some social engagement affects search engine rankings. Whilst Facebook does not yet have a bearing on where you rank (although on Bing Like’s affect CTR and conversion rates within your social circle), twitter and Google +1’s do hence integrate them to improve your chances of showing in the SERPS.
It’s good to connect. I have had people contact me via my contact form (remember I have only just added social icons!) that I have genuinely appreciated getting in touch with. As an example I recently wrote an article on the EU cookie directive and a chap called John Wedderburn got in touch with information about how it was working in Sweden. As you will note if you read the article I gained knowledge from his contact, we exchanged pleasantries, he followed me on twitter, etc and all is good with the world. However imagine the number of people I am putting off from engaging due to my lack of social media reciprocity?! As BT says; it’s good to talk.
Whatever next? In 2014 you might even be able to leave comments on this blog. God forbid.