by Ryan Grassie - Sep. 13, 2012 at 4:34pm
Social media has changed the web for business in many ways, and some would say that it has made the Internet into what it was meant to be all along. People can connect with each other in real-time. They can also contact other businesses and organizations. They can investigate things that interest them (or want to buy) and learn about things that they never considered before. However, there is one other aspect to social media that has to be examined, and that is its destructive power.
If you are the owner of a business, a non-profit organization, or some other sort of firm, you need to be very careful when using social media for your business. Remember, everyone can see the things that you post. Even if you delete them, they can live on in screenshots and online internet archives. If you post something that is offensive, you can undercut your customer base and drastically impact your sales figures. It has happened countless times before you.
As an individual, you may find that social media gives your friends and family members a way to say things that they would never say in real life. While a discussion in a living room would remain civil and kind, a discussion on a social media site could quickly turn to an argument. Insults can easily be written with this sense of distance even if people would never say the same things in another setting.
Those who are in the public eye also have to be careful. There are many examples of athletes saying things that they later regretted, after it was too late. The New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire used a gay slur when addressing a fan earlier this year, and the fan took a screenshot and showed it to the world. This was very harmful to Amare’s public image. He was also fined $50,000 by the NBA.
In the end, social media is not inherently destructive. If it is used correctly, it can be very good. However, people need to make sure that they know what they are doing when they use the Internet in this way. They need to be careful. All of your online actions are visible to the public, so make sure that you never say or do anything on a social media site that you would not want the whole world to see.
by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 18, 2012 at 5:55am
Many companies in 2012 are trying to build more of a social buzz around their brands. There are many solutions you can implement to make your website more social and engaging for your users.
1. Use Share Buttons to Spread Content
Using content-sharing buttons such as the “Facebook Share” or “Twitter Tweet This” buttons, visitors can post your content on their networks, encouraging their friends to visit your website. Put the share buttons on all blog posts, articles, photos or videos that are posted to your website.
2. Feature Social Links on Homepage
Place your social icons somewhere on the homepage where it’s prominent and easy for visitors to find. Don’t bury your social links on subpages within the website. It will encourage them to become a fan of your pages.
3. Allow Users to Login Through Social Networks
If you allow users to log in and interact with your site using plug-ins like Facebook Connect, then any activity will be automatically published back to that users’ social channel, encouraging their friends to engage with your website as well.
4. Embed Videos Using YouTube Player
Add a YouTube player to your website so you can create a presence on YouTube in conjunction with adding video content to your website. YouTube recently released the new playlist player, which is meant to display a series of videos from the same player. Video is a great way to keep your visitors engaged and the player is easy to manage directly from your YouTube account.
5. Install a Floating Social Bar
Remind visitors to become a fan of your page by installing a floating social bar to your website that stays with the user as they browse your content.
6. Stream Social Updates
Use the twitter widget and Facebook stream plugin to allow visitors of your site to view your social updates directly from your website. This might encourage them to fan your pages if they happen to see a tweet or status update that interests them.
7. Encourage Users to Submit Content
Keeping a website full of engaging content is time-consuming and difficult with limited resources. One solution is to ask users to submit content to your social channels that you can then feature on your website. This could lead to improved thought leadership and brand recognition for your company.
8. Connect Your Blog to the Website
Make sure your blog is fully integrated with your website so it can rank on fresh content posted to your blog. This helps with search engine optimization (SEO) and draws traffic to your website. Use keyphrase focused blog tags and categories to improve visibility and search engine rankings. Enable blog commenting as well using the social plugins mentioned above.
The Effectiveness of Social Engagement
Google recently announced Social Engagement Reports available through Google Analytics, which can measure the effectiveness of your website’s social engagement. The reports will help you analyze the sharing and social activity on your website including the information on any new Google+ interactions that occur on your website.
With search engine optimization constantly changing and social media continuing to become a large part of marketing, it’s important to build a social corporate web presence on your website so that you are positioned for better rankings, more social activity and potential leads.