Everyone tells you that you must have ‘Social Networking’, but a very large number of people don’t, won’t or simply don’t understand the power and the ease of use of these systems. All that is being talked about here is integrating a website, email campaigns, Facebook and Twitter to engage with as wide an audience as possible.
This is our summary and it’s not designed to be an advertisement for highly expensive SEO, ‘pay per click’ campaigns. It is a matter of common sense. What is the best way to expose your products, company or whatever to the widest possible interest group? If you don’t do anything then only you and your friends will see the website that you have spent money on. So here are a few tips.
We hope that this might help as a simple checklist, but it is not set out to be a ‘tick the box’ type of article.
If you wish to follow the rationale, you can look at our attempts:
- Make sure that your website works well on all devices – PC, iPad, 7″ tablet and phone (all types, not just iPhone).
- Either the site should be responsive and adjust to the device being used, or get a separate mobile site. 30% of all users are now accessing the web by non-PCs. This will rise to 50% next year.
News section or Blog
- A news section or blog is key to keeping a website up-to-date efficiently. Regular updates, with or without images, will show users and search engines that the site active.
- News Feed to Home page
- Fairly straightforward to implement. A few words and, if appropriate, an image to form a short ‘teaser’. Ideally no more than three or four, but they will guide the user to your complete news section.
- Keep your site fresh by including a Twitter Feed. You are a bit constrained in styling, but there is nothing like new information. There is an example in the sidebar of the Social Media Page
- Downside – the feed slows down the loading of the page, making your site slower. Sometimes if Twitter is down (fairly often) it can have a bad impact on your page.
- Can you feed your Facebook posts to your website – no. USA legislation stopped this some time ago.
Social networking links
If you are going to use social media you certainly need them.
- Follow – Simple and unobtrusive – link to your Facebook Page, Twitter and any other social media you use (Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram, etc.), ensuring that they open in a new window. Gives people the opportunity to visit and Like (Facebook) or Follow (Twitter).
- Share – A bit more of a problem, but common on most websites. The Facebook ‘Like’ and Twitter ‘Tweet’ buttons. Use with care. It’s nice for the user to be able to ‘Like’ an individual web page or to ‘Tweet’ about it, but it comes at a large cost. For these buttons to work a large amount of code has to be downloaded from Facebook and Twitter, degrading the performance of the website and often failing to load at all if these companies are having issues.
If you are going to send emails then you need to get people to sign up for them. Take every opportunity to get signups. Privacy laws mean that you can’t send emails to anyone, they must have ‘opted in’ to receive them. We recommend using a company such as MailChimp, which uses a double opt-in process to ensure that users make a positive decision. Double opt-in – signup and confirm from an email that Mailchimp sends – ensures that you can’t sign up on someone else’s behalf.
You need a private Facebook account before you can create a ‘Page’ for your business or organisation.
- The main vehicle, other than your website for reaching customers, clients, members, etc. Fairly straightforward to setup, but ensure that you select a simple URL, such as facebook.com/keerimdesign. Actually, I made a mistake as it might have been better in ‘camel case’ facebook.com/KeerimDesign . However both work, so it’s not a real issue.
- Facebook Pages can have ‘Tabs’, i.e. other sections, such as events, notes, photos, etc.
- The power comes from Facebook Apps that are in two forms:
- Third party Apps that you can plugin – Mailchimp Signup, Tripadvisor Reviews, etc.
- Real power at your fingertips, at a very low cost. You can set up the little adverts on the right hand side of people’s News. The ones I get are mainly for ‘Singles’, ‘equity release’ and ‘have I arranged my funeral’ yet.
- Facebook stores a huge amount of data about people that is used for commercial purposes. We are just running a campaign in Ireland, targeting women between the ages of 20 and 50, with children between 3 and 18 who live within 50 miles of a small town – there are 28,000 of them on Facebook. For about £25 we are sending them three days’ worth of advertising for a product that should be interest to them. If 1% respond, i.e. 280, and ‘Like’ the product that gets sent to all their ‘Friends’ by Facebook. As the average woman in this demographic has other 200 ‘Friends’, a 1% reach is 56,000 for £25. Frightening. I tried this for a local pub/restaurant and the target was 7,400,000 – even more frightening. Can you get burnt financially – no, you set your budget and the campaign switches off when you reach it.
Integrate with Twitter
You can auto post to Twitter when posting to Facebook.
- Email is a great way to inform and engage people. However, many people are fed up with mass mailing. I have reduced my emails from several hundred a day to about fifty by aggressively removing all ones that I don’t want as soon as they arrive.
- One current theory is to only send short text emails. I don’t agree with this, but would advocate the following. Emails should be short, single topic, one attractive image (remember that not all people receiving will be able to see it), display well on all devices (most don’t) and have links to the full story on your website or Facebook Page.
- A good way to do mass mailings. An account is free for a list of up to 2,000 and 12,000 emails a month, but you accept a small brand logo at the end of the email. To get rid of it costs £10 a month for a list of 1,000 and £20 a month for up to 2,500. For some countries getting rid of it is essential, because it can be seen as an insult.
- My basic rule: if it’s good enough for the White House it’s good enough for me.
- Everything is efficient, updating lists is simple and the analytics are very good.
- Final point
- Emails inform the converted. You need to use other methods to grow your email list.
- Integrate with social media
- Auto post to Facebook and Twitter when a campaign is sent. You have control over what is posted, it doesn’t just rip out some text like many systems.
- Integrate with Google Analytics
- Now see the power. Who opened your email, how many went to your website and what did they do when they were there. A few of the possible analytics.
To me the least important, but I stand to be corrected. However, Twitter is a fantastic way to update your website when away from base and you can push Tweets to Facebook as well.
So what is the conclusion to all of this?
- Most people integrate websites and social media in a totally chaotic way that ends up a meaningless mess.
- Integration isn’t organic, it needs to be planned carefully.
- The same content is not appropriate for all media.
- The website is the hub for all detailed content, the others are for shorter displays appropriate to the medium used.
- Put the full story on the website, with a summary and a Home page teaser.
- Is it going to be the subject of an email, if so send the email and auto Post to Facebook and auto Tweet with links to the email archive online.
- The email itself should link to the appropriate part of the website.
- Put an abbreviated version of the story on Facebook and link back to the website.
- Use Facebook to auto Tweet, but that links back from Twitter to the Facebook page, which is not a problem.
- You could delete the auto Tweet and create a Tweet that either links to the website or Facebook.
- Whatever you do, don’t auto Post from everywhere, which will set up a lot of duplicated Posts all of which say the same thing.
- There you are. If it’s important the news should be displayed in all four main media, but planning the sequence is the really important thing.