Every effective website starts with a strong design and quality content. However, if you really want to maximize the effectiveness of your site, you’ll want to use social media to drive engagement. If you’re only providing opportunities for passive consumption, you aren’t tapping into your visitors’ desire to participate in your content.
The good news is that you can use social media to drive engagement. After all, that’s what social networks are for – enabling people to interact with content and spread it to their friends and contacts. By leveraging these existing tools, you can create more participation on your website and see better results from your marketing.
Why social media engagement is so crucial
When you first create your website, you’ll likely put a lot of effort into its design and functionality. This is an important step, and will start you off on the right foot. However, your work is far from over, even when your site is looking great and running perfectly. If you see your site as a passive marketing tool, you won’t get the best results from it.
After all, your audience will largely be made up of internet-savvy visitors who expect more than just quality content from you – they’re looking to be engaged. In fact, 80% of marketers consider engagement to be the most vital metric for evaluating marketing success online, rating it as more influential than audience size or website traffic. Treating your audience as passive consumers means you’re missing out on opportunities to see how they’re connecting to your brand, and to foster stronger relationships.
Just what is engagement in this context? In a nutshell, it’s anything your audience does actively to communicate with or respond to you. This can be leaving comments on your blog posts, sharing your content, participating in surveys and giveaways, asking questions, and so on. While some of this can occur through your website or other channels, the most effective method is to use social media to drive engagement.
About 30% of both millennials and Generation Xers engage with a brand on social media at least once a month – yet 89% of social media messages to brands go unanswered. Audiences are clearly interested in engaging with you through these platforms, but not all companies answer back. If you not only respond, but encourage that engagement and foster real conversations, you have a chance to stand above the crowd.
64% of marketers have reported that increasing their audience engagement through social media played a vital role in the success of their marketing strategy. If you want to do the same thing, you’ll need to find ways to use social media to drive engagement.
How to use social media to drive engagement on your website
You can view your website and social media accounts as separate channels – or you can integrate them for a stronger effect. This way, you’ll be able to funnel audience members back and forth between your company’s site and profiles, increasing the amount of content they view.
Plus, adding social elements to your website makes it easier to use social media to drive engagement. Let’s talk about four ways you can get started with this approach.
1. Add social sharing buttons to your content
The first method we’ll introduce is the simplest – adding social media sharing buttons to your website. This provides visitors with an effortless way to spread your branding and content to their own networks. It’s a method of offering engagement opportunities without getting in your audience’s face about it, which many will appreciate. After all, too much aggressive promotion is the biggest reason people stop following brands on social media.
Social sharing buttons can drive quite a bit of traffic to your social media accounts from your website. In one analysis, it was found that up to 20% of tweets to large media companies such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal came from their Twitter share buttons. These buttons tend to perform best when placed on individual content people might want to share, rather than on general website pages. So they’re most effective when used in combination with a company blog, updates, or news articles.
Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to add this feature to your website. If you’re using WordPress, many plugins will get the job done (and some themes include this option as standard). We’d recommend giving Social Share Buttons a try, since it’s free and quite customizable. Just remember to look out for users who are sharing your content, and respond to them when possible. This way, you can keep the conversation and engagement going.
2. Share your posts on social media sites
Along with enabling your audience to share your content, it’s a smart idea to distribute it to social media yourself, as the WordPress team does in the Twitter status shown above. That way, you can reach a far larger audience than simply those who come to your website. You also get extra mileage out of your content, leveraging the same pieces to use social media to drive engagement across multiple platforms.
Finally, sharing your content on social media is a smart way to encourage participation and conversations. 71% of those who have had a positive experience with a brand via social media will likely recommend it to their friends and contacts. The more content you put out, the greater number of opportunities you’ll have for these kinds of connections.
Frankly, if you aren’t sharing your blog posts and other content on social media, you’re missing a valuable opportunity.
The way you go about sharing your content may vary, but in general you’ll start by choosing a few key platforms to focus on, then setting up a schedule for posting. There are lots of tools that can help, and you can even automate the process to save time. For more information, you can check out our previous guide on the subject.
3. Create more ‘shareable’ content
Once you’ve enabled your visitors to share your website’s content themselves, and have set up a schedule for posting it to social media, it’s time to think about creating pieces specifically for social platforms, like the video shown above. After all, long blog posts are not always the most effective type of content to share. If you have any experience with social media, you know that most lend themselves to much shorter fare.
Some of the best types of ‘shareable’ content include (but are not restricted to):
- Memorable quotes, either from your existing content or created just for social media. On Twitter alone, messages with quotes are retweeted 53% more often.
- Images, on their own or supplemented with text. On some social media sites, images can increase click-through rates by 18% or more.
- Videos, on any platform that allows them. This is an increasingly popular content type, and should account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
- Infographics, detailing key information or interesting statistics. With these specialized images, you can increase your share rates by 300%.
No matter what types of content you choose to focus on, remember that the key to a smart social media marketing strategy is variety. Try to create and share a number of different content types, to attract different types of audience members and play to the strengths of specific platforms.
Pro Tip: You can combine strategies two and three by adapting blog posts into new social media content.
4. Curate useful content
Our last suggestion is to try creating curated content on your website, and sharing it via social media, as shown in the above snapshot of the Slashdot home page. A curated post gathers content from various other people on the internet, bringing it together in one convenient place to share with your audience. You could collect images, blog posts, quotes, news stories, statistics, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
If you’ve never created this type of content before, now is the time to get on board. 76% of marketers already use this strategy, sharing curated posts on social media where it is most effective. In fact, you can use social sites both to gather and share the content you curate. The marketers who have found curation successful have also reported a number of benefits. These include increased perceived authority and visibility, and more engagement.
Curated content will look different depending on who is creating it and what their goals are. However, there are a few key things to remember. First, you should always attribute each piece of content to its original creator, providing a link if possible. Second, remember that the curated content should be interesting and informative to your audience. For more help getting started with this strategy, you can find plenty of useful guides online.
Social media is an invaluable tool when it comes to marketing your business. When you use social media to drive engagement in tandem with your website, it can enable visitors to connect to your content more fully. As a result, you’ll start seeing improved results and a more invested audience.
To recap, here are four ways you can use social media to drive engagement on your website:
- Add social sharing buttons to your content.
- Share your posts on social media sites.
- Create more ‘shareable’ content.
- Curate useful content.