One of the biggest mistakes that companies make with social media accounts concerns operating them in a vacuum. Social media should provide a platform for marketing, customer retention, and communications, rather than being completely distinct from these functions. Yet companies are still failing to achieve even basic integration, such as displaying recent social posts on their websites. In such circumstances, social media accounts tend to be forgotten about, and dormant accounts create a neglected, unprofessional aura around any brand.
In reality, integrating new social media accounts with an existing online presence isn’t difficult. This is how you go about it…
Decide which social channels to adopt
There are dozens of high-profile social media companies in today’s mature marketplace, and choosing which ones to target requires consideration. A manufacturing company might want to focus on video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, demonstrating production techniques or giving behind-the-scenes factory tours. A tailor may be better off posting photos on Instagram and Pinterest, whereas a distribution company would benefit from the immediacy of Twitter and the sheer ubiquity of Facebook. Competitor analysis will reveal trends among your rivals, but don’t be afraid to try something different. LinkedIn is a platform overlooked by many when it comes to marketing campaigns, even though most adults in the UK have a profile.
Integrate social share buttons
Having shortlisted the social channels most relevant to your business type, the next step involves integrating them onto your website. Ideally there should be social share buttons on every page, but certainly, these should appear on the Contact Us page. The WordPress website building tool offers various customisable social sharing plugins. Some of these utilities are very clever – only showing the number of shares once it reaches an acceptable number, transferring existing share counts over to a new URL or HTTPS domain, etc.
Offer social logins to your website
Consumers often struggle to remember specific account details and passwords. As a result, some forward-thinking firms allow customers to access their accounts using a social login. This is quicker and easier, removing many of the psychological barriers to signing up in the first place. It’s also possible to harvest considerable amounts of customer identity data using tools like LoginRadius, giving a valuable insight into each visitor’s background and interests. This perfectly illustrates how social media accounts can be used to enhance a company’s knowledge of its clients.
Set up automatic notifications
Social media users expect a degree of immediacy from corporate interactions, especially if enquiries relate to customer service. Nominate an employee to receive push notifications about direct correspondence so they can respond rapidly. American car company General Motors used to take 24 hours replying to Facebook and Twitter posts, whereas its average response time is now a more acceptable 90 minutes. Rapid responses are crucial when there are social buttons on the company website, actively encouraging people to get in touch.
Look for ways to improve the customer experience
Most companies claim to be unique or market-leading, and social media channels won’t look very interesting if they’re entirely self-promotional. Look for ways to use social media in practical or innovative ways. For instance, KLM enables its customers to pay for flights through a payment link in a direct message sent via Twitter. ASOS has developed its own hashtags, allowing customers to show off new purchases to a huge fashion-conscious online audience. Such simple innovations increase engagement and raise brand awareness, with virtually no expense beyond the resources required to maintain these communication channels.
Coordinate events across every channel
Promote a new website blog or product range across every social channel, using inbound links to improve SEO. If you’re running a photo competition on Instagram, use Twitter and your website blog to publicise it, building a web of high-value inbound links. Each social channel has different audiences with widely varying networks of contacts, so it’s worth cutting down a Facebook post into a tweet, then lightly rewording it for Snapchat. Branding and tone of voice should also be consistent, making each platform feel like an extension of the others rather than a standalone entity.