Spreading the Word| How to make your small business website more social

We’ve all been to corporate websites that are boring and do little to engage prospects and customers.  Sites like these often end up costing the company time and money, without delivering any value to current and future customers. Luckily, the addition of social elements can drive engagement and save a website from snooze-ville. So, what can you do to make a website more social? Here are 5 suggestions.

Product Reviews
Whether you sell a product or a service, offer consumers the opportunity to share their thoughts on what they recently purchased. It’s a great way to let your customers help promote your brand or your products by having them share their first-hand experience right next to the product listing on your site.

Change It Up
A socially friendly site is one that is constantly changing. People don’t want to visit a static site that is the same each visit. Of course, we don’t mean to radically re-design your website each week. What we mean is to add specific dynamic elements to your site; such as a blog, news or events section, polls, and other widgets. Routinely updating banner artwork can also keep your website visually interesting, plus it gives you a chance to test the effectiveness of different designs. 

Share It
Sharing is human nature. People love to share new, cool, and exciting content they find online, so why not allow your visitors to easily share your content? Blogs and micro-blogs, like Twitter, are the perfect place to start dropping little breadcrumbs for your visitors to pick up and share. Look to integrate your Twitter feed, or if you’re using WordPress for your blog, find the best plug-ins to make your site more shareable across the number of available social networks. Also, be sure to include social icons on your website, like Google+1 (check out our Google+1 article for more information), Facebook, and LinkedIn, so it’s simple for your visitors to share interesting information with their network of friends and colleagues.

Encourage Feedback
Allowing your customers to comment and share ideas gives them a sense of ownership – and can generate great insight on how to improve your offering. You can accomplish this through your blog or a forum on your site. Consider including an idea hub or feature request form to allow your customers to provide feedback and ideas for future product development. 

Mix It Up
Don’t be afraid to give your audience the opportunity to re-purpose your content. One example is to encourage users to upload re-mixed versions of your commercials to your YouTube channel, challenging them to create a humorous or personalized adaptation. Another idea is to have them record their experience with your product in the real world. You can encourage these efforts by offering to send out an inexpensive Flip camera on loan to help create the video. By giving your customers the opportunity to interact with your brand this way, you’ll be bringing them into your community and increasing their loyalty. 

As the search engines change their method of indexing websites and social media takes a leading role in the marketing world, companies who incorporate social elements into their corporate website will find themselves ranking better in the SERPs, increasing their site traffic, and creating new leads.

What have you done to make your business website more social? Let us know in the comments!

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  • alana

    I think product reviews are definitely a must for businesses of any size. Also, I just bought an anti-anxiety vest for my dog from Thundershirt.com. After I finished checking out, there was a pop-up asking me if I wanted to share news of what I’d bought on Facebook – so I did!

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  • Brian

    Great article! Social elements for a website are a must have for any website wanting to stay current and engage their customers.

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  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com Amelia @ International Business

    SMEs can market their products and services effectively through interesting and refreshing Web sites. Its one thing to attract visitors but its another thing to make them stay and be customers.

    Businesses should be attentive to their customers’ feedback and be able address concerns. In this social networking era, it helps if your site is social media-enabled for easier content sharing to the rest of the world.

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    • http://waspbarcode.com ageorgi

      I agree, Amelia! There are many interesting, visually appealing websites that aren’t easy to navigate or make a purchase on. So that’s definitely an important issue to balance – aesthetics and functionality. If a site is great looking but customers can’t figure out how to buy, then it’s pointless.

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  • http://www.colourrich.co.uk/_blog/Inside_design/post/Social_media_buttons_on_your_site/ Oxford web design

    Good post, I’ve given it a couple of bookmarks.

    Here’s something I’d like to add from our own post on using social media buttons:

    Asking visitors to follow you on Twitter or Facebook is a great way of extending your brand to places where these people already visit on a daily basis. You can tap into this and get your brand name in front of them, allowing interaction, support for your work, and further publicity about what you do.

    Remember that although these visitors may be big fans of your company, searching for your name on Facebook may slip their mind. With links to your social media pages in front of these visitors, you take away all this extra effort.

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  • http://www.how2createawebsite.in/ How to Create A Website

    I think content sharing is good option. Visitors can share exciting content on the net. It’s helpful for website promotion.

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