Socialise Your Site

This article appeared in edited form in The Drum magazine.

Author: Crawford Tait @ Dog Digital

Establishing your social presence(s) is challenging enough, but now you’re all up in your twitter account and sending people to your shiny new facebook page, your poor old website might be feeling a tad last-decade and left out of the popular kids’ social media party…

SO, here are ten ways to drive traffic everywhere by introducing your loyal site visitors to your new best social media friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends, and…

1. Facebook

OK, no surprises here but with over 750 Million active users with an average of 130 friends, and with half of those users logged in on any given day, there’s no denying facebook gives instant social reach. They’ve also been kind enough to provide a range of easy-to-use plugins for your site, with simple mechanics such as like and send putting your URL in front of your visitor’s 130-or-so friends. There are even stats on usage via the insights system. Exercise restraint though – adding that Facepile and Live Stream to every page could leave your site looking like a teen blog.

Integration: The facebook developer site generates copy and paste-able code based on your choices.
Extra credit: Close the loop with your very own personalised facebook page and URL.

2. Twitter

Even if you have fewer followers than Jesus had (just 12? Really??), that doesn’t stop you reaching the army of followers who may be hanging on your site visitors’ every tweet. Simple plug-ins let Twitter users tweet about your site (from your site) or follow you, but the latest in Twitter integration goes a lot further – Web Intents. Intents are a little chicken-and-egg, since they apply to existing tweets: that could be your latest tweet, or tweets that you dynamically pull into your site based, say, on some #hashtag. This means they are likely to work best as part of a larger campaign.

Integration: Sample code, some knowledge required.
Extra credit: Extend retweets with your own URL and messaging.

3. YouTube

If you create engaging video content, or anything that can conceivably be presented in video form, hosting it on YouTube not only spreads your message far and wide, but can drive traffic to your site, and save you money on bandwidth. On your site, YouTube’s API lets you list and embed your latest videos with ease, whilst their Like and Share functions add a social ripple. Consider content and branding that will travel, and annotations for in-video links.

Integration: Sample code, development required.
Extra credit: Create and customise your YouTube channel.

4. Google +1

Not to be confused with Google+ (Google’s latest foray into social networking), +1 (their version of facebook’s like button) is a recent addition to your arsenal. +1 is easily added to your pages just as it appears next to search results when logged into your Google account. Widespread speculation that it will, or already does, influence ranking means that, if search is a big part of your marketing strategy, you can’t afford to ignore it. Even if Google+ does wind up being the Orkut of the future.

Integration: Copy and paste, further development possible.
Extra credit: Pass a different page URL to your +1 button.

5. Tumblr

If you create blog-style content and update it frequently, tumblr is the most social home for it. With community and social features such as the follow mechanic, as well as Q&A options, uses range from multimedia galleries to customer service portals. Tumblr works well with other social media sites out-the-box, and an API lets you pull tumblog content into your site. This enables direct liking and reblogging by tumblr users – thus reaching their followers.

Integration: Sample code, development required.
Extra credit: Enable and link to your ask me anything page on tumblr.

6. Flickr

You may be no photographer, but you likely have images of something you could use to build a presence on this pic-sharing behemoth – like designs, print materials, stills or even screen grabs. Flickr’s social features include commenting, sharing, groups and favourites. An extensive API gives endless possibilities, but you can easily create a photo set, view it as a slideshow and use the share link to generate copy-and-paste-able code for your site. The resulting slideshow links to your flickr content and has its own built-in sharing function.

Integration:Copy and paste to full development.
Extra credit: Fancier slideshows on the link below…

7. Soundcloud

Soundcloud is to audio what YouTube is to video, and adds Twitter’s concept of followers. It has had its own viral hits too, like a Justin Bieber track recorded eight times slower from last year. Do you have audio to share such as music, radio ads, speech or interviews? A full API lets developers create their own applications, but simpler embedded players let you add audio to your site, with Soundcloud users’ comments. Players also have built-in sharing and links and, as you’d expect, Soundcloud activity appears on followers’ dashboards.

Integration: Copy and paste to full development.
Extra credit: Use your Soundcloud download link as an enclosure in an RSS feed to create a podcast, add to Feedburner, then go syndicate!

8. Reevoo

If you’re in eComm, you’ll know that personal product recommendations drive sales. This has led to the rise of social commerce. Reevoo powers in-site product reviews and ratings from real consumers who have purchased products from your site. When shown alongside products, these appeal more directly to potential customers than your crafted copy ever will, and can also be great for SEO.

Integration: Commercial service.
Extra credit: Check out the ask an owner feature.

9. Foursquare

Foursquare is the (relative) new kid on the block here (literally), with its mobile, location-based, checkin’-in, badge-earnin’ hipster-ness. Your Moms might be on facebook now, but is she mayor of her local Costa Coffee? Hellz no… If you’re inherently a bricks-and-mortar outfit, the foursquare API lets you show real-world activity on your web site, enticing website visitors to actually visit.

Integration: Development required.
Extra credit: Offer your own badges for check-ins.

10. StumbleUpon

This social bookmarking service is included because in early August 2011, it was reported as accounting for over half of all referral traffic from the top ten social sites. There’s more to this stat than meets the eye of course, but it can’t be ignored. Clicking a StumbleUpon button adds your page to the index, where it can be liked, reviewed and shared by StumbleUpon users. It will also be intelligently recommended to other users. Depending on your school of thought, either your uniques or your bounce rate then heads skyward.

Integration: Copy and paste to full development.
Extra credit: The StumbleUpon widget highlights your best-rated SU content.

And Finally…

Don’t forget, before there were social networks, there was the address book; and before there was like buttons, there was the original sharing mechanism – the mailto link. These can be used to share a page URL, letting the user add email addresses of their choosing and their own message before hitting send. Who knows what a personal email from one of your site visitors extolling your virtues could lead to…

About the Author

Crawford (@crawft) is Technical Director at Dog Digital. We’re 15 this year and provide services and consultancy across design, development, online advertising, marketing and social media. Crawford built his first website in 1997, and makes music in his spare time. Crawford will host the event Site Surgery, Make your website work with social media as part of the Dog Digital Social Club at #SMWGlasgow

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About davidmorganjenkins
I am an experienced international, commercial, strategic business leader delivering customer focussed initiatives for world class leisure & sports brands. I have a credible track record of leadership and senior management experience in particular with business operations, marketing & business development within leisure, sport, ecommerce/retail & B2C sectors. I have a unique creative vision, supported by sound financial management & budgetary responsibility having increased brand awareness, sales & core revenue by 60% & profit 200 % at Football Aid over a 3 year period. In parallel, I am centred on attention to detail ensuring a consistent product offering and the greatest possible customer experience. This is delivered through strong collaborative teamwork and creating a culture of creativity, determination and enthusiasm amongst team members. I possess an ability to cement & develop relationships at all levels and can easily engage, report to & upwardly manage share & stakeholder alliances ensuring delivery of business objectives. Key skills Developing & implementing business plans focussing on sales, profits & volume Bringing sales & marketing strategy to life to inspire customers; making visions/dreams a reality Customer service; driving enhanced customer satisfaction & delivering a reputation for excellence Developing, influencing & implementing plans & partnerships that deliver competitive advantage Effective planning & delivery of multiple channel, venue & geographical programmes & projects Leading & managing operation, marketing & business development teams to believe in their ability to succeed Experience headlines Commercial; sales, strategy, development, marketing, sponsorship, promotion, customers service Business administration: P&L, performance, improvement & operational management Marketing & brand; communications, brand management, development & membership/loyalty Ecommerce & retail; FMCG, optimisation, data (CRM), social media, SEO, PPC & affiliates Technology; CRM, web TV, new media, smart phone/iPhone applications

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