Goshen News, Goshen, IN

March 2, 2014

Four ways to amplify impact of social media

MIKE GINGERICH
COLUMNIST

---- — A key value of social media for any business is the ability to reach more people. Social media can be an “amplifier” that helps extend exposure of your business to more people.

This “amplification” happens when your website content is shared on multiple social networks, including Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, either by your company itself doing the sharing as part of active social media participation, or by others sharing it. The end result is an increase in the potential audience that can see, know about, and then come visit your website.

More traffic to your website is always a good thing. As well, if the site then makes it easy for the visitor to socially interact on the site and further share that information themselves via social media, then additional sharing and even more amplification can occur. This is key. For businesses, it is important to lay the groundwork on your website to make these social sharing processes simple. If it is easy for the visitor to share, the result can be an ever-growing audience coming to your website. The more traffic, the more potential to find those interested in your products and services, resulting in growth in sales.

Here’s a basic example: If your website typically has 1,000 visitors a week, and by using social media to share an intro and link to your newly published blog post on networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, this could drive 200 or more additional visits to the site. This is a valuable percentage increase in your audience. If by making it easy for those 1,200 visitors to share your site via social media themselves helps an additional 200 visits occur, then we have gained an additional 40 percent increase in site traffic from your normal average. If a business knows that they convert one sale per every 200 unique web visitors on average, then by increasing weekly traffic from 1,000 to 1,400 visitors, a business is significantly growing its sales opportunities.

With that example as a backdrop, here are four core elements that every business should be implementing to lay the groundwork and infrastructure for greater social media amplification on their website.

Integrate socialsharing buttons

This one is not groundbreaking but I’m amazed at how many sites still don’t do this. These social network integrations need to appear automatically on each blog and product page to empower visitors to share your site content. This is so very important.

By implementing, you are making it easy and prominent for visitors to share pages from your site to social networks. Do not underestimate the value of offering this on your site.

Install social mediaplug-ins on blog

This highlights your presence on specific social networks and it shares some of your current business activity on that social network. Most networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+, for starters, offer these tools free. Simply get the embed code and add to your site in the desired area. An example is the Twitter widget which can display your most recent tweets, or a Facebook “Like” box so visitors can “Like” your Facebook page while staying on your website.

A key is integrating methods for visitors to Like/Follow/Circle you on a social network without leaving your site. It’s a win for you to empower fans to like and follow you so that they are connected to your business on those sites without having them leave your website to do so.

Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you great insight into your website traffic. Once installed, you can create a simple social network referral report within the acquisition section of analytics to monitor traffic to your site from social networks. This is a great and yet largely unknown secret gem in Google Analytics. Google helps you see which social networks are driving the most traffic to your website, which in turn helps you measure and evaluate your efforts.

Add a social comment system

Finally , adding a social commenting system to your website is a form of social media empowerment. I use the Disqus system for our business blogs and it does help drive social interaction on the sites. First, it encourages interaction. The longer I can have visitors stay on the site and the more ways I can connect with them, the better my opportunity to ultimately turn them into a customer. Commenting systems help by enabling commenting and also the social sharing of comments when users comment on a blog post. So they could comment and ask a question and also have this post to Facebook where it gains more exposure to their friend network.

Together these simple tips offer some robust social empowerment for your website by helping you create a social sharing environment, enabling visitors to find you easily on other social networks, and by helping you monitor social traffic referrals to your site.

What’s your first do-able step you need to take action on this week out of these four items?

Mike Gingerich leads the Digital Marketing and Social Application divisions of web company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.