Now that social media is fully established and part of our everyday lives, we expect to see it everywhere. If I find a company that doesn’t have a Facebook page, I’m immediately suspicious. Likewise, when I’m surfing the internet, if I find something I like, I want to be able to effortlessly share it on my Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account. True, I do have buffer and the ‘pin it’ bookmarklet installed, so I’m capable of doing all of this independently, but this isn’t the case for most non-marketing folk.
There’s nothing more frustrating than finding a website that doesn’t link to its own social media profiles, or that makes it impossible to share the content, or that doesn’t have an RSS feed link (or it’s set up incorrectly.) And it always seems to be those companies who could benefit most that fail to properly integrate their website with their social media.
When building websites, many UX designers will attempt to keep everything on-site, and discourage visitors from clicking away. There are set paths in place for users to follow, depending on their needs, and each path is designed to achieve a goal. Social media distrupts these paths and makes it difficult to determine user flow. But, although social media links will often be ‘nofollow’, they’re important SEO indicators. A website with lots of social media buzz shows that users trust it and find it valuable, which is exactly what the search engines are looking for.
3 Top Tips for Effective Integration
1. Use social media buttons in a highly visible place.
Just make sure the placement makes sense. Think like a designer, not a marketer. If you’re struggling to effectively work the social media icons into your site, then hire a designer to maintain your websites look, while adding the extra layer of connectivity. Moovments is an Italian marketing firm that manages to incorporate social media buttons into their look very successfully.
2. Use Widgets and APIs
Widgets such as the ‘like our page on Facebook’ box, and the ‘recent tweets’ make it easy for users to connect with you. It also means they can follow or ‘like’ you without leaving your page. Try building a social media ‘hub’, and this is a great way to keep everything together in one place, like this example from CurrentBody.com.
3. Include sharing buttons on content.
Blog posts, products, quotes, press releases, announcements – make it easy to share all of this. Modcloth is one website which manages to do this very successfully. As they sell products that users love to share and talk about, they’ve included their own ‘love it’ button, plus popular sharing icons on all of their products.