Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 5, 2014

Advance your business tech in 2014

Goshen News

---- — As I noted in my last article, the beginning of a new year provides a great opportunity for every company to review, evaluate, and plan needed innovations for the year ahead. The web does indeed change quickly and innovation is constant. There are changes in Google Search, Facebook and other social media tools, and new services emerge that catch on and grow rapidly. Due to this, it's so important to step back and see where your company is at measured against the current web realities, and plan your needed changes to be current and grow.

Last week we looked at the importance of the mobile user experience on your website, and the need to have a content strategy for your blog. This week, we'll look at social media as an engagement and distribution tool, and how it works to help generate leads for a business.

Social media

Giving site visitors a great experience based on their device (mobile, tablet desktop) is critical for any business on the web. As well, providing valuable content that draws people to your website is essential. However, if you provide both and yet people don't know about your site, then it isn't really working is it?

One key to ensure more people get to your site is to use social media. Social media is where people are spending time online. Businesses should be sure to use the social media channels that are most popular with their audience in order to best intersect with and connect to their audience. Typically Facebook, as the largest social network and most active, is going to be one of those "must-do" networks for a business, but other social platforms should be included as well. If your audience is on Pinterest, your company should be pinning images that link to each blog post.

This means that as you create new content on your site, you are not done until you socially share a update with a link to the post on your key social sites. This is a key form of "social distribution" that can drive more visitors to your site and help it be discovered by interested persons. As well, having your brand active on social media by sharing relevant news socially helps you develop an expanding and interested following on each social site. For Twitter, making sure your audience of followers is growing is important. Ways to help this along are by responding to "@ mentions," engaging followers with questions and comments, and participating by retweeting and asking your followers for a "RT" (retweet) of your posts. Again, be sure to include the link to your web or blog article when you post a tweet about it ,and please note that only posting links to your content is not enough. It's a social network, and businesses must be social. The return on that social investment is more traffic to your site. In essence, a business needs to review where their clientele spends time on online, be active on those networks and socially distribute new web and blog updates via these social channels as part of their regular online work.

An interesting finding for me was that Pinterest was the second highest source of social media traffic to our website, second only to Facebook. I had spent time creating some boards and pinning images from our blog to Pinterest but our Google Analytics showed me that this was indeed a method that was sending serious traffic to our site. I know in the year ahead that I need to be diligent in pinning images from blog posts to Pinterest to capitalize on this interest and traffic source.

Socialize your website

Additionally, a business needs to make it easy for visitors who have made it to their site to socially share their content back to multiple social networks. This means incorporating the social buttons of key networks such as the Facebook "Like" button, the "Tweet" button, Pinterest's "Pin It," LinkedIn's "In Share" button, and Google's "+1." These are often implemented one time in programming and then are always available on each new blog post. It's simply a no-brainer to ensure that visitors can easily share and help spread your blog content to others.

Social media increases the amplification of your content and website. It's a tool to reach more of your key audience and by bringing them to your site you increase the potential to move them into your lead funnel. Next week I'll continue with more on the specifics of lead capture technologies and lead nurture campaigns via email that will complete the digital review process.

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.