9 Ways to Transform Your Website Into a Social Media Hub

social media how toShould your website be social? Are you looking to turn that static website into an interesting social media–enabled destination?

Keep reading to discover how.

Should Your Site Be Social-Enabled?

There’s no doubt that social media is a powerful marketing and communication tool for businesses and non-profits that have embraced it.

Yet, for most of us, our websites are still where the rubber meets the road. It’s where you turn visitors into leads and prospects into customers. It’s where you build your lists and sell your goods.

Can you inject some of the “humanness” of social media into your website without compromising its ability to sell? Can you use social media to drive traffic to your website for conversion without alienating your community?

More and more businesses are showing us that this is an achievable and worthwhile goal; that the two together can foster improved communication, build brand loyalty and create a better, more responsive, more profitable company.

Here are nine examples of how you can integrate your social media activity into your website for maximum results.

#1: Add social media buttons to your home page

A few years ago, the idea of sending people to another site from your home page after you had worked so hard to get them there in the first place seemed boneheaded. However, many companies now see the long-term benefits of gaining a follower, fan or subscriber on a social media platform, even weighed against the short-term risk of sending them away from the website.

social media buttons

Businesses commonly link to their social media profiles, even from their home pages.

By getting someone to follow you on Twitter, become LinkedIn with you or subscribe to your YouTube channel, you have the opportunity to keep the lines of communication open long after they’ve left your website.

Unsolicited Advice: If you’re concerned about losing that prospect, consider having the site open in a new tab or window, keeping your own website available for later viewing.

Also, make sure you have a social media profile that will engage your audience. You can borrow ideas from these 10 top Facebook pages, read up on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and put into practice Darren Rowse’s tips for improving your Twitter profile.

#2: Connect your blog with your website

The line between blog and website has never been blurrier, with many businesses choosing to build their entire site on platforms that were traditionally meant for blogging, such as WordPress.

Whether your blog shares a domain with your website or not, you can improve the interactivity of your website by teasing your blog posts from your home page.

For example, Harold Night, an improv show out of Boston, uses the Posterous platform to blog, and has successfully integrated the blog into their website, both in the navigation and by pulling the recent posts as links onto their home page.

harold night

Harold Night connects its Posterous blog with its website.

Unsolicited Advice: Although services like Posterous and Tumblr are great and their prices can’t be beat, I prefer to have my blog under a domain I control. That way you can move from one platform to another without hurting your search engine visibility, and you’re more insulated against a third-party blogging platform going out of business.

#3: Embed videos on your website

There are few things as engaging as a well put-together video. Imagine adding a how-to or explanatory video to your product or services pages… How much more compelling would they be? How much could you increase your conversion rates by showing examples of other customers finding success by using your products?

maine huts

Embed a video on your website to bring your offerings to life.

#4: Make your website shareable

Retweet buttons and Facebook Like buttons aren’t just for blogs. You can add them to any page of your website to get visitors to share the content more easily with their networks.

#5: Add your presentations to your website

If you market your business through public speaking, you can maximize your results by putting your presentations on your site.

The best way to do this is to set up a free account at SlideShare (think YouTube for PowerPoint). Once you’ve uploaded your slides, SlideShare will allow you to embed that presentation back into your website or blog. This creates an interactive experience for visitors who can now click through your slides.

slideshare

Maximize the reach of your presentations by embedding SlideShare into your site.

#6: Socially bookmark new content

As you add new articles or archive your email newsletters to your site, make sure that you add them to appropriate social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit and Delicious. These popular sites can drive huge amounts of traffic to your website in a short period of time.

Unsolicited Advice: It’s always best when someone else bookmarks your content, so it might make sense to have a small “bookmarking club” with friends where you promote each other’s work. This “seeding” will often encourage others to bookmark your content.

#7: Add a Facebook Like box to your website

i love to gossip

It's easy to like I Love to Gossip with a Like box on their page.

We’re all influenced by other people, a concept often referred to as “social proof.” When we see our friends or people we respect liking, supporting or promoting something, we’re more open to liking it ourselves.

Adding a Facebook Like box to your site adds accelerant to the idea of social proof. Visitors can quickly see how many people have liked your business on Facebook, get a sense of your level of commitment to social media (by the posts you’ve added to your wall), and may even spy some of their friends and connections through the Like box.

Further, you make it easy for your site visitors to like your business without having to leave your site.

For more on Facebook and social proof, be sure to check out Are You Using Social Media as Social Proof?

#8: Feed your website

Websites tend not to get updated as often as they should be… something that has probably been exacerbated by the rise of blogging and social media.

If the framework of your website is fairly static, you can still keep it fresh by adding feeds from your blog, Facebook, Twitter and just about every social media platform that generates an RSS feed.

Unsolicited Advice: Not all of your feeds may be website-appropriate. Your tweets about American Idol, your love of bacon or thoughts on Sarah Palin may not be appropriate for first-time visitors to your website who are just looking for a reliable plumber or a trustworthy veterinarian (or whatever you may happen to be).

#9: Use QR codes to drive traffic

qr code

QR codes like this one can drive traffic to your website.

QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by smartphones with cameras. Once scanned, they can redirect people to a website (among other tricks). Check out QR Code Marketing for Small Business and How QR Codes Can Grow Your Business.

Whether you post QR codes on one of your social media profiles or in the real world (i.e., direct mail, a business card or poster) you can use them to drive people to your website.

Unsolicited Advice: To maximize the impact of a QR code, consider sending people to a special landing page or a mobile version of your site, rather than just the home page. This will improve your conversion rates and help build your lists.

Now let’s hear about your ideas. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Let us know how you’ve integrated your social media activity into your website. Feel free to include links so we can see how you’ve done it. Leave your comments and suggestions in the box below.

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About the Author, Rich Brooks

Rich is president of flyte new media, podcasts at The Marketing Agents, and founded The Agents of Change conference. He helps small businesses succeed through search, social & mobile marketing. Other posts by »




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  • Lukeither Willingham

    I highly recommend most of these marketing strategies to my customers but I must confess I don’t practice what I preach. Excellent information for web developers and entrepreneurs just diving into the online pool.

    Thanks!
    Lukeither Willingham
    http://www.lukeithermd.com

  • http://metaphysicsetcetera.blogspot.com Leigh

    This is important information to increase our traffic. My problem is I’m highly active on my blog and on facebook, and my website stays static (the problem you stated). I haven’t fixed this yet because I develop my own website, and every change is a huge learning curve. However, I do have my blog embedded in my website.

    Because my primary goal is to increase traffic, I’ve decided to focus on blog traffic, and send out a weekly newsletter straight from my blog. Eventually, I want to do #5, 7, 8 and 9 directly on my website. I’ll bookmark this article and return to it to implement those changes – hopefully this summer.

    Thanks for an excellent, practical article.
    Leigh

  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    Rich..videos are something that keeps the average person attention more then anything..this is what i do to entertain my readers..by making videos..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Isn’t it always the case of the cobbler’s children going barefoot? Our own social media links are buried w/in our site. However, we should be relaunching our site in the next 30 days and the new version has increased the visibility of our social media activity.

    Baby steps!

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Leigh, I’m in the same boat. Our website only changes once a month on average (we archive our email newsletter content there.) Instead, I use my blog (at a different URL) and use that as a funnel to send qualified traffic to our website where they can review our work and complete our contact form.

    If I were starting from scratch, however, I’d recommend a blog/website hybrid, and build everything on a CMS like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    That’s a great idea; my only issue is that I have a face for radio. ;P

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  • Aurelius_Tjin

    Highly informative article. Very useful. :) Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.simplelogicstudio.com Adam Viccaro

    Great article! Creating a mobile version of your landing page or blog for QR codes is definitely a necessity!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Rich- Brilliant article! These tips are not only great they are actionable. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    My pleasure! Hope they help you grow your business.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Absolutely!

  • http://www.waynejohn.com/ Wayne John

    I’ve been tooling around with the idea of dedicating a page to all social activity. A mash-up page.

    Good tips and ideas Mr. Brooks. I’m still on the fence with those QR codes though.

  • http://blair.rorani.com/ Blair Rorani

    Re: Tumblr and Posterous, do you mean you wouldn’t use them even though you can use your own domain name? I think you’re saying that you prefer to host your blog with your site, is that correct?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Rich & Leigh – I just did this recently on my own site and I can tell you the results and improvement of the retention of your visitors is amazing. It took about 3 weeks to get it done because my husband and I did it ourselves, but we were able to build on a test domain and just import it once we were ready to go live. I still need to build out my own public fan page but once that’s done will be adding that widget as well. I did mine in wordpress and as a complete non-techie can say that it is possible. http://fullfrontalroi.com

    I also really liked this article by Chris Penn and implemented that as well and have seen great subscriber growth which allows you to have follow up communication opportunities. http://blog.blueskyfactory.com/general/welcome-popups-for-building-your-email-list/

  • ifeelgod

    I like every last one of these, but like Lukeither, I must confess that I have been very very lax at both http://ifeelgod.org and http://1000churches.org but I will be doing better. I am especially intrigued with using QR codes for churches and ministries. HOT!

    In Him,
    JMb <

    Bishop James 'I Feel God' Brown
    The Internet's Favorite Pastor
    Visit My Blog http://www.ifeelgod.org
    http://www.1000churches.org – Kingdom Ministry

    Stay In Contact with me
    twitter: http://twitter.com/ifeelgod
    myspace: http://myspace.com/ifeelgod
    Facebook: http://facebook.com/ifeelgod
    Facebook: http://facebook.com/bishopifeelgod

  • AD

    I am little subtle here, ever I visited blogs has social connectivity such as facebook plugins, twitter share, digg, stumble every thing is possible. They seed regularly content, video images whatever entertainment. What I thought when this article dropped in my mailbox, what chances would there to engage your audience easily. I mean e.g. even if you have a blog running something contest for your readers, providing brilliant question and answer. I think it would be interesting. I am not fully sure about this idea what you would say?

  • http://easysocialmediamanagement.com Lauren McMullen

    This an excellent post about making your website Social Media friendly. The only thing I would add is the new Facebook share comments plugin. It is amazing and has the capabilities of becoming a real game changer for bloggers because it shares the comment in the users newsfeed on Facebook. This has the potential of bringing new users from Facebook to your blog!

  • Skunkel

    Excellent post and great actionable advice. Thank you.

  • http://www.baywolfdalton.com Nancy Dalton

    I love QR’s and have posted one in our showroom window. It’s a great tool when we aren’t open in the evening. My question; how do I create a landing page or movile version? I created our web site, QR and newsletter; I blog…..send me to a site to learn how to do this. Always something to do.

  • http://bradgriffin.me/ Brad Griffin

    My 2 cents:
    QR code on papers: Realtor flyer, church bulletin, post cards, anything!
    Link QR code to bit.ly (for tracking purposes).
    The [Bit.ly] link needs to be mobile compatible, right? Mobile websites…eh, perhaps tomorrow. Think about current “mobile compatible” sites. Link it to the Fb page. Link it to a YouTube video.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Bishop James! Good to see some of these principles applied to the ministry! Make it happen :)

  • http://adrianaelliot.com Adriana

    This was really helpful – thanks!

  • elemenager

    I’m the community manager for Microsoft Tag and #9 i would suggest checking out our technology. We just released location intelligence http://t.co/aNRyFQJ so depending on where people scan the Tag it can serve up content that is relative to them instead of just static content behind the 2dbarcode. Great post overall – if I could add to the post I would include “release your content” give your new visitors a first taste prior to asking them to sign-off on their life. Don’t create a barrier to have people sign in before they can test out your website and “Give a piece of your solution into a widget”.

  • http://blog.socialmediahq.com/ Nick Robinson

    Great post! We custom designed some feeds on the right side of our website: http://www.socialmediahq.com. I would like to experiment with QR Codes, as I am a frequent scanner.

  • http://twitter.com/JeffKryger Jeff Kryger

    This is an excellent post Rich. Most all of these are exactly what I am focusing on with clients. It is nice to see others out there doing the same!

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Wayne, if you’re on the fence about QR codes, you might want to check out this other post I just did: http://www.flyteblog.com/flyte/2011/03/50-count-em-50-creative-uses-of-qr-codes.html

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Yes, I prefer a platform that I have more control over. Although I have no reason to believe Tubmlr or Posterous would ever fail, too many similar platforms have disappeared, some seemingly overnight.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Lauren,

    Thanks for the feedback. Haven’t had a chance to play around with the FB comments plugin yet, but I’m sure it will be part of another SME post…if it hasn’t been already.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Nancy, creating a mobile version of your website can go many ways, from just having a mobile-friendly style-sheet to creating a unique experience for smart phone users. What I might recommend is sending QR users to a page that you can easily repoint. For example, recently I worked on a web presence for a small independent film. We put a QR code on the movie posters and direct mail pieces, but we weren’t sure what we wanted to provide the end user as an experience. Would it be a link to the trailer? A link to movie times? A download of the soon-to-be-released app? So we created a link to a page that currently refreshes to the home page, but can be redirected whenever and how ever often the client needs.

  • Konstantin Z

    Most of us do:)
    I do agree with Black Seo Guy that video is the best way to retain your visitors (as long as you provide entertaining content).

  • http://justessay.com/ essay

    It’s so interesting to me. After reading this post I’ll visit your site oftener)

  • http://www.marketingtechblog.com Douglas Karr

    I’m all in except for the QR code. What evidence is there out there that this actually works to drive traffic?

  • http://www.kevinmullett.com Kevin Mullett

    As much as I hate to admit it, not much exists that I can find, yet. At BIN2010, where we first met, I started handing out my first 100 moo cards with barcode. After that batch was done, I had 8 out unique visitors to the blind page it led to (mobile traffic only confirmed). Not great.

    However the value of the engagement of people asking me about the cards, was priceless. The moo cards with varied pictures on one side and QR code on the other are the most engaging cards I have ever handed out in over 25 years.

  • http://www.gadarian.com David Gadarian

    goo.gl is another good shortener – they also have a chrome extension that has the QR code baked into it.

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  • http://www.keystonespecialties.com Benjamin

    Love all of this SOLID advice! Thanks for taking the time to present it in an easily understood format.

  • http://twitter.com/TobeTurpen Tobe Turpen

    Great information.

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  • http://www.tonvanhouten.nl Ton van Houten

    Top post!

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com/ Ricardo Bueno

    Agreed! The easier it is to share your content, the better. Tweetmeme, Facebook Like, Sharebar… All great plugins to accomplish this. Once you have an idea of how and one what networks people are sharing your content, you can remove the other networks. No sense in having a ton of links for a bunch of different social networks if nobody is making use of ‘em.

    Anyway, great post!

  • http://metaphysicsetcetera.blogspot.com Leigh

    Rich, they say, “if only I knew then what I know now!” I’m actually going to attend a “build your website by yourself on wordpress” webinar tonight. In fact Denise Wakeman is hosting it. http://www.websitecreationworkshop.com/signup/denise/

    I’m not sure I can get everything transferred over in a timely manner, though. Nichole, you said it took two of you 3 weeks. And…my blog is with blogger, so that poses another problem.

    Nonetheless, this article has some great information, and I”ll read Chris’s article you provided, Nichole.
    Cheers!

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Ricardo,

    I agree; it’s always a balancing act between giving people a choice of their favorite network and keeping your site nice and clean. Too often we add too much to our sites and blogs, confusing our audience and muddying our message.

  • http://www.waynejohn.com/ Wayne John

    That, sir, is an awesome list! Certainly opened my eyes a bit, thanks!

  • http://www.razchorev.com/ Raz Chorev

    Rich, reading your post really make me feel good about the effort I put into my own website!
    As a cobbler, my kids are always wearing the nicest shoes :)
    If you’d like, check it out http://www.razchorev.com
    Raz

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  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    Awesome tips Rich, really useful.

  • http://www.wordhelper.com Wordhelper

    Great tips, Rich. The only one with which I would take exception is the one on uploading PowerPoint presentations to your site or blog. Why? Because a well-designed live presentation should have very little text on the slides. The slides are not meant for the audience members to read to themselves–if the slides were meant for the audience members to read to themselves, then the audience members wouldn’t need a presenter or facilitator. Rather, the slides are meant to remind the presenter of what he/she wants to say. In a live presentation, a lot more is said than what is on the slides.

    Thus, if you were to post such a PowerPoint, most viewers of the PowerPoint would not be able to make sense of the content. What you could do is record a voice-over for your PowerPoint presentation and upload it as a video. Your thoughts?

  • Dkosala82

    Hi Mike,
    What’s this QR code. it seems a new one? can u tell few word about it. This is a fantastic article.
    thnks.
    Kosala from ceylonoutsourcing.com

  • http://www.wordhelper.com Wordhelper

    Kosala, QR codes are little bar codes, scannable by SmartPhones, that give additional information on a product. You can read more about them at http://www.bnet.com/blog/gadget-guy/qr-codes-are-smart-marketing-tools-but-only-if-executed-well/631.

  • http://www.wordhelper.com Wordhelper

    Here is the correct link to that article on QR codes: http://www.bnet.com/blog/gadget-guy/qr-codes-are-smart-marketing-tools-but-only-if-executed-well/631

    Putting a period at the end of my sentence messed it up.

  • http://www.mobilecubix.com iPhone Application Developer

    Absolutely You Right “Social Media Examiner”

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  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    I’ve been pondering the slide presentation thing, myself.

    In my view, it might be more conducive to offer icons and links to LinkedIn & Slideshare where the path is more conducive. I am intrigued with the live video feed option along side the Slideshare now – Zipcast.

    Offering voice over to a presentation and making it into video seems like a great way to bridge and even bring potential customers closer.

    I would love to hear from others that have uploaded PowerPoints, and what their findings are.

  • Edna B Wilson

    Thanks, Great article !
    We’re doing some of this but not all.
    Definitely need more videos, that would spice things up a little and maybe get us a
    different group of clients.

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  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    Great post and thanks for sharing these informative tips with us. We have not yet tried adding video to our site and sure will do it right away.

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  • Electrician Hollywood

    Thank you for information.

  • http://www.jedimasterhouse.com/ JediMaster

    Thanks for the information, some things are missing on my Blog, like the QR Code

  • RON

    SOCIALGO

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  • http://siqik.com Caren Pretorius

    I have a new tech website. I have build this website this last year and have used the 9 ways that Rich feature here, and it definitely makes a difference!  I haven’t even started The Big Advertising Campaign yet, and I already have life on Siqik. 

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  • Auntym2011

    Great advice as always :)

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  • http://twitter.com/Tominagirl Sushi Chanrai

    This is a great article!









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