15 Amazing ways to increase social marketing & appeal of your website

In Featured, SEM by February 3rd, 2012

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Here are 15 ways that you can use to increase the social marketing and overall appeal of your website to your visitors.

1. Place Social links on the key parts of your website such as the Homepage, Sidebar & Footer.
In most of the cases, the homepage of your website is the landing page for your visitors. It is based upon this page, your users will either stay on your website or choose otherwise. If they choose the former, then you are in luck. At the same time, it is your responsibility to make the social media icons and links available to them at the key places. So don’t feel shy in doing so and don’t make the users dig more into your website, just to share the content. Make these links more prominent by placing them either just below the main headline or the very first thing in the sidebar or in the footer along with the company information.

2. Social Share Buttons to Share and Spread content
Undoubtedly, the most common Share buttons that are widely used are:
1. Twitter’s “Tweet” button
2. Facebook’s “Like” button
3. Google’s “+1″ button
While there are many other noted share buttons, such as Digg This, etc. the above three have become the most frequently used social media to share content. So make sure that your website does have these buttons without fail. If your website also sports a blog, then it makes sense to place the social share links and buttons on all the blog articles, posts, videos and/or photo galleries.

3. Insert Social Buttons and/or floating Social Bar
Now-a-days, pretty much all social networking websites provide various sizes of icons and buttons. Use of buttons of proper size can be vital for your website because if the buttons are too big, they may distract users from actual content and if they are too small, they they may get unnoticed. Check out the space constraints you have and select the image sizes that seem to blend well with the content on the pages yet seem noticeable. Your best bet would be to try icons of 20 x 20 px. Depending upon the space available, you could also try inserting floating social bars that portray the most common social icons with a link to others. One such popular service that provides icons of various sizes is Addthis. Unfortunately, they do not provide floating bar icons. Here’s a preview of the icons that they provide.

AddThis Share Buttons - Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus One buttons and more

4. Allow users to Login using OpenID and through Social Networks
If your website has a login system or you want to be able to provide users, a facility to login, you may do so by using OpenID and through the APIs of the social networks. You maybe unaware of OpenID, so here’s something about it in short:
OpenID is the fast, easy and secure way to sign in to websites. OpenID allows you to use an existing account to sign in to multiple websites, without needing to create new passwords.

OpenID

Some benefits of using OpenID:

1. Accelerate Sign Up Process at Your Favorite Websites
2. Reduce Frustration Associated with Maintaining Multiple Usernames and Passwords
3. Gain Greater Control Over Your Online Identity
4. Minimize Password Security Risks
Reference: OpenID Apart from OpenId, you may also use Facebook Authentication process to validate your users login. Here’s a sample preview:

Facebook Login

Read more about Facebook Authentication here: Facebook Authentication

Here’s a sample preview of Twitter’s sign in:

Twitter Login

Read more about Twitter Sign in process here: Twitter Sign in

Using such login services also help to automatically publish to the user’s social channels and thereby socializes your website among their friends.

5. Using YouTube Player to embed Videos
If you wish to place video content on your website, then it will help to add a YouTube player to your website. You can create new videos and upload them to YouTube. You could also arrange your videos in a Playlist thereby giving your users continuous access to all your videos, from within the same player without having to navigate to a different page. Playing videos directly via your own YouTube account is a splendid way to to keep your visitors interested and engaged.

6. Encourage users to submit Ideas and Content
Although interesting, it could be very cumbersome and time consuming to invest engaging content into your website, all alone. A work around this issue could be to request your users to submit their own Ideas and Content and in return, give them back appreciable returns in form of back-links, promotion, etc. This could benefit both your users and your website.

7. Start a Blog

Start a blog if you want to improve the social life of your website. Know your target audience and post articles that will help your visitors, as frequently as you can. Google considers “content as king”. So make sure that you post fresh content whenever possible. This brings in genuine traffic and also helps with search engine optimization (SEO). When you post articles, make sure that you use keywords/key phrases focusing on the crux of the articles to improve visibility and search engine rankings. You can take this further by enabling blog commenting so that your users can exchange information and build social relations.

If the idea of starting a blog starts interesting, then you should take a look at WordPress. In my opinion, WordPress is the best blogging tool available out there today. It is completely free to use, developed and maintained by talented developers and receives periodic updates. So I strongly suggest use of WordPress for your blogging needs. In short, WordPress can be defined as:
“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”
Reference:  WordPress

8. Stream your social updates You may use the different tools to allow visitors of your site to keep in touch with your social updates, directly from your website. This encourages users to Like or Tweet your articles that they find interesting.
Following are few, very good tools that let you stream your updates:
1. Facebook Live Stream plugin 
Official definition: “The Live Stream plugin lets users visiting your site or application share activity and comments in real time. Live Stream works best when you are running a real-time event, like live streaming video for concerts, speeches, or web-casts, live Web chats, webinars, massively multiplayer games.”

2. Facebook Activity Feed
Official definition: “The Activity Feed plugin displays the most interesting recent activity taking place on your site. Since the content is hosted by Facebook, the plugin can display personalized content whether or not the user has logged into your site. The activity feed displays stories when users like content on your site, when users share content from your site in Facebook or if they comment on a page on your site in the Comments box. If a user is logged into Facebook, the plugin will be personalized to highlight content from their friends. If the user is logged out, the activity feed will show recommendations from across your site, and give the user the option to log in to Facebook.”

3. Twitter Search Widget
Official definition: “Displays search results in real time! Ideal for live events, broadcastings, conferences, TV Shows, or even just keeping up with the news.”

4. Twitter Profile Widget
Official definition: “Display your most recent Twitter updates on any webpage”.

9. Add as many social plugins as you can
Listed below are few more plugins that are famous among users and widely used:

  • Facebook Like Button
    The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click.
  • Facebook Send Button
    The Send button allows your users to easily send your content to their friends.
  • Facebook Subscribe Button
    The Subscribe button allows people to subscribe to other Facebook users directly from your site.
  • Facebook Comments
    The Comments plugin lets users comment on any piece of content on your site.
  • Facebook Recommendations
    The Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site they might like.
  • Facebook Like Box
    The Like Box enables users to like your Facebook Page and view its stream directly from your website.
  • Facebook Login Button
    The Login Button shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button.
  • Facebook Registration
    The registration plugin allows users to easily sign up for your website with their Facebook account.
  • Facebook Facepile
    The Facepile plugin displays the Facebook profile pictures of users who have liked your page or have signed up for your site.

Reference: Facebook Social Plugins

  • Twitter Faves Widget
    Show off your favorite tweets! Also in real time, this widget will pull in the tweets you’ve starred as favorites. It’s great for moderation.
  • Twitter List Widget
    Put your favorite tweeps into a list! Then show ‘em off in a widget. Also great for moderation.

Reference: Twitter Widgets

10. Pay attention to textual formatting and keep your posts as vivid as possible
For a good impact and for a balanced feel, use large or bold sub-headings and short paragraphs.  Chunks of text that start from the left side of the screen, run all the way across and end at the right side of the screen are a no-no. Pay attention to the way you are formatting the text. Make use of good color contrast and at the same time, ensure that it does not hurt the user’s eyes.  A good color contrast is black text on a white background. A bad color contrast is bright yellow text on black background. You get the idea!

11. Pay attention to grammar and spell-check
You may have great content, but bad grammar and spelling mistakes can put your readers off, especially if they are running short on time. You may want to use the spell checker to make sure that you do not have any mistakes and correct them, if you do.

12. Visitors are real people, make them feel real
Be bold, yet gentle and talk to your readers just as you would talk to a friend of yours. Share your experiences and your own opinions on the topic being discussed. Don’t feel shy in sharing any bad experiences you may have had. You might just save someone else from going through such a similar experience. Your visitors are real people, so act like one and keep the flow natural, just as two individuals might have.

13.  Promote yourself and your readers
Promotion is the best form of recognition. If your visitors like you, then they will surely promote you in their social circle. Do the same for your visitors who earn it. You can do this by link exchange and other techniques. That’s one good way to increase social activity.

14. Thank your visitors
For users who express genuine interest, a sincere thank you is the least you can do. If a user leaves a comment that really helps you or other users, thank them.

15. Be courteous
Finally, be courteous to your visitors. If someone leaves an insulting or inappropriate  comment, you don’t have to follow suit. Instead you have the power of Admin tools that you can use to mark such offensive comments as Spam and even delete them from the system, making it a good social environment for the rest. I hope you would be able to use the tools mentioned at your service as they will help you in the long run.

Do you currently use tools other than the ones listed above for improving the social life of your website? Would you like to share your own thoughts, suggestions and comments? Please feel free to do so by commenting below.