Five Social Media Integration Mistakes You Can Fix Today
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
The Orbit Media Team
Millions of websites integrate with social media, with simple buttons to embedded streams.
And why not? It’s a perfect fit. The goals in social media marketing are to promote content, serve clients and build relationships, which are the same goals as the website, right? So a site that connects to social media is good ...sometimes.
The problem is that social media on websites can hurt more than it helps. There are a lot of ways to do it, each of which can be done well or done badly:
Social icon buttons
Social share / follow buttons
Social widgets (ie. Facebook page plugin)
Single sign-on (lets visitors create a new account or log in using social credentials)
Embedded social feed
Social media integration done well enhances the experience of visitors. But done badly, it’s clunky, distracting, ineffective and slow.
Today we’re showing screenshots, examples and the Analytics data behind the five biggest website/social media boo boos.
1. Don’t put social icons in your header
There are big, colorful social icons in website headers all over the internet. And because they’re colorful, they are often the most visually prominent element on the page.
Imagine walking into a store where the biggest sign says ‘exit.’ Would that be helpful? Probably not. Then why have big candy-colored exit signs at the top of every page on your site?
Website visitors are hard to win but easy to lose. Driving traffic takes a lot of time and energy. So don’t encourage them to go. Don’t invite them to leave your site.
Where there’s traffic, there’s hope.
When you send a visitor to a social media platform, you are handing them over to a profit-driven, billion dollar company, totally focused on keeping and monetizing that visitor. How is that good for your brand?
Here’s what it looks like in a header:
We did a little research into web design standards and found that in 2015, 26% of the top marketing websites had social icons in their header. In 2019, that number dropped to 20%. It’s going out of style.
Where’s the best place to add social icons?
Besides the footer, here are three of the best, most effective places to suggest that your visitors follow you on social media
On your careers page
Visitors on this page are motivated. They’re professionals looking for work. Let them know that you post jobs on social media and suggest they follow you there.
On the blog
Blog posts are of course very social (share buttons, comments) and those clicks amplify your content marketing. But blogs can do even more to grow your following. Try writing a simple, text call to action inviting visitors to follow you.
On the thank you page
The thank-you page is a great way to get more value from the same visitors. They just became a lead, subscriber, customer or job applicant, why not offer them another? Add a social CTA and encourage them to follow your brand.
2. Only link to active social accounts
Websites everywhere link to social media accounts that are barely active or completely dead. Clicking on them is like calling a phone number that’s out of service.
So when should you add a social media icon and guide visitors to a social network?
When that social network is a key part of your digital marketing strategy. Before adding that facebook or twitter icon to your new website, ask yourself two questions.
Do you post content there consistently? (active publishing channel)
There is at least as much relevant content on the social network as your website.
Do you engage with people on that social network? (active networking channel)
You’re not just present, but you’re interacting with people, networking and building relationships. If someone asks a question there, you answer it.
The answer should be “yes” to both. If it’s not, set aside social media integration until you have a social media strategy. Far better to have no icons than buttons that go nowhere.
The next question: where to put these social icons?
3. Don’t put share buttons on sales pages
Ever shared a service page? Probably not. It almost never happens.
The service page has a job to do: turn visitors into leads. If there are social sharing buttons, they’re distracting from that goal, especially if they’re bright colors. They add visual noise but not value, so they should be removed. Cut them and uninstall the WordPress plugin that added them.
4. Avoid negative social proof and low share numbers
Social proof cuts both ways. If the numbers are big, it’s positive. If they are small, it’s a negative making the content looks unpopular. Sad.
Social sharing has dropped by more than 50% in the last few years, so numbers are down for even the best blogs. It doesn’t mean visitors aren’t enjoying the content. You may be getting great word of mouth offline. Don’t be discouraged ...but watch your widgets.
Pick your social sharing buttons carefully. If shares for a network is low, pick a widget that doesn’t show the numbers. Zeros are bad.
Simpler widgets have another advantage. They load faster and increase page speed. Which brings us to our final point...
These extra requests can add a half a second or more to the page’s load time, especially for fancy widgets that show share counts.
There are a few ways to avoid the code bloat that comes with social widgets:
Use simple widgets ...avoid those with counters (shares, fans, followers).
Use super-lightweight share buttons ...you can make them with a tool like this one.
Worried that social widgets are slowing you down? Run your pages through an audit using Lighthouse within Chrome Dev Tools.
Social Media Integration Done Right
To see an example of how a social stream can be built into a website, check out the Orbit Culture Page. It uses a combination of hashtag (#InsideOrbit) and permissions (only showing posts from certain accounts) to keep things fresh.
Make your brand social and personable, on and off your website. And connect your site to the places where you’re social. That’s a good thing.
Connect TO the social networks where you are active
Connect FROM the places where visitors are likely to interact
Connect IN WAYS that don’t distract or slow things down