Marketing Turnaround - 2015


Social Media and Your Website

By Gail Z. Martin

What does the world see when it comes to your website? After all, most social media sites allow you to list one or more home pages or blogs. It's not uncommon for someone who meets you on Facebook or Twitter to hop over to your website to learn more. You probably do the same thing when you're thinking of asking a contact you met on social media to provide a product or service.

Many websites sprawl like an untended garden. Few people have a clear idea of what they want from their web presence before they put up a site (at least, their first site). Some site owners just add pages for new material, but pay little attention to update or remove old information. Other sites are essentially abandoned, having been posted and then ignored.

Your website is your virtual storefront and business card. Rightly or wrongly, people will judge you by the quality and content of your site. This is especially true if the information they see on social media about you doesn't seem to match the website when they visit. When a social media friend makes the effort to check out your website, you're one step closer to closing a sale. Don't let them slip away at the front door.

Back to basics

Take a hard look at your existing site. Is it outdated? Is your photo and bio current? Does it showcase your most recent accomplishments and accolades? Do you have badges for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help your web visitors meet you on social media?

A great way to get twice the impact out of your writing time is to have your blog and your Twitter page feed content to your homepage. That way, every time you post a new blog or Tweet, your home page gets updated content. Your home page always looks fresh, and search engines like sites that are frequently updated. It's a winning solution!

You can also embed YouTube videos or posts from Instagram, Tumblr or Flickr photos into your web site. This is another great way to get more productivity out of your social media time by making each element work for you in multiple places. The YouTube videos you create with your cell phone won't look studio quality, but that's OK. If your content is good and the short videos are lively and packed with personality, viewers will have the feeling that they've met you, which is a great way to take the online relationship one step forward.

Audio is another way to personalize your site and let visitors get to know you. AudioAcrobat.com is one of my favorite tools because it's easy to use and versatile. You can record a personal web audio so that you greet every visitor to the site, and then easily add the audio to your home page. Consider having a different personal audio greeting for every page. (Remember—you can add a link to the audio on your Facebook page and in your Twitter bio as well!)

If you've always wanted to be on the radio, consider doing a podcast. A podcast is a lot like a radio show, except that it is recorded, not live, and is broadcast via the Internet. Podcasts can be anywhere from five minutes to two hours in length (I'd suggest fifteen minutes or less). You can record a daily tip or insight, or invite guests like a radio interview. Podcasts can also be fed to your website (and to your other social media sites as well), creating yet another interesting element, and an additional way for prospects to get to know you. It doesn't require a lot of equipment or technical knowledge to podcast, but it can be a great cross-promotional tool as well as a way to connect with a broader audience and share your expertise.

Your home page portal

With social media, your home page actually becomes a portal, a gateway website that lets viewers start at a central location and then easily find a wide variety of information. From your home page, in addition to the standard web information such as an About Us page, a page of products/services, and perhaps an online purchase page, you can feed your main blog, Tweets and even a podcast into your site to keep it relevant and fresh.

One of the main reasons many business owners have outdated web content is because of the cost to have their designer update the pages. Shifting your main website to a Wordpress blog platform makes it easy for you to post updates about your speaking engagements, open houses, book signings or educational programs and you will be able to make changes quickly and inexpensively.

Make the most of Social Bookmarking and boilerplates

When you use Social Bookmarking to draw attention to an article, blog post or news release, or when you create the “boilerplate" company information at the end of a press release, remember that you can use a link to pages beyond your home page. Search engines actually reward you for doing this, as it drives traffic deeper into the site, encouraging readers to stay and decreasing your “bounce rate." Customers like links to specific pages that feature the item mentioned in the article or release because it saves them the time of hunting around on your site to find it.

The same principle works for your web address on social media sites. Defaulting to your home page may not always be the best link if there would be another page more focused to the interests of that particular target audience. For example, if you're an author and you use social media sites targeted to readers, publishers and other writers, consider using a web address for a page on your site that talks about your books. A speaker might want to encourage readers to visit the event booking page.

Your email or blog post signature block can also change depending on the audience. When you comment in blogs, groups and forums, consider using a link to the page on your site best suited to the topic. Readers have very little patience for rummaging around a website looking for relevant copy. Keep them engaged by taking them right to the good stuff.

Excerpted from 30 Days to Social Media Success.