Monday, September 27, 2010

5 Questions on Website Integration With Social Networks

You have probably seen newer websites with buttons inviting you to "Share" or "Like" or things like that. Is this something that should be included into your website? The following 5 questions will hopefully shed some light on the matter.

1- What Are Social Networks Integration Tools?

The very first social networks integration tool was the button to “Send to a Friend”. Then came the widgets to “Share” on various social networks. More recently, Facebook introduced the “Like” button. In addition to those just mentioned, here are some more:
  • Follow me on Twitter;
  • Twitter follower counter;
  • Retweet button and retweet counter;
  • Recent tweets;
  • Follow me on Facebook / become a fan;
  • Various widgets to share pictures, videos or presentations;
  • Many more.
2- Why Should You Use These Social Network Tools?

The reasons for using social networks integration tools are:
  • To allow your visitors to publicize your website to members of their social networks
  • To help you build your social network which will remind its members of your existence and hopefully bring them back on your website.
3- Do You Need To Be on Social Networks To Use These Tools?

To implement tools that help your website visitors share your content with their social networks, you do not need to be on social networks. However, if you invite them to follow you or become a fan, you obviously need to have a profile.

4- Should You Encourage Your Visitors to Follow / Like You?

If you offer your followers or fans some value, definitely. That can be content your visitors will find  interesting, discount coupons, advanced notice to sales or whatever they will find worthwhile. Otherwise, do not promote the fact that you are on social networks.

5- Should You Avoid Mentioning Your Presence On Social Networks?

There may be very valid reasons for not mentioning your involvement on social networks.  The best one is that you do not have a social network strategy. Other good reasons are:

  • You can hardly find the time to reply to the emails that customers send you;
  • You are just starting on social networks and not sure of the etiquette. It is better to start as a lurker and only participate when you understand the beast.
  • You have accounts on social networks only to monitor your brand;
  • You have accounts on social networks only to reserve your name or protect yourself from identity theft.
Do you have different answers to those questions? If so, let me know.

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