Stop promoting your social media profiles on your website.
Recently I received a message from one of our clients wanting social media links added to the top of their site's pages. I replied and explained why I think it's a bad idea.
In this post, I'll break down exactly why I think it's a bad idea to have prominent links, on your site, to your social media profiles.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have their place in any business' marketing mix. They're powerful tools to drive traffic to your website.
Besides being powerful marketing channels, social media platforms are often essential sales channels for business. You might find potential clients or customers are engaging you directly through these platforms, sidestepping your site entirely.
It's super easy to post content to social media platforms, and ultimately get the word out to your friends and followers. Often way easier than updating your website, which is why businesses regularly post promotions, news, and announcements directly to their social feeds.
When your friends and followers are prospective and potential customers, it makes sense to push content to them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. I get it.
But, here's the thing. Social media platforms like the big three I mentioned above make their money from ads.
To make as much money from ads as possible social media platforms need people to stay on the platform.
Platforms like Facebook are designed by the world's best user experience experts to keep users engaged.
Social media platforms are designed to distract you.
I always say Facebook is designed to distract you. What I mean is it Facebook is deliberately structured so that the content you are interested in catches your eye. Not only content. That little red number at the top of the page showing how many new notifications you have, is super eye-catching.
Even if you are on a business page, Facebook manages to draw your eye to other stuff you might want to check out.
Similarly, Instagram is built to take users down the rabbit hole of distraction.
It amazes me how easily I get distracted when I head over to Facebook to do something work-related. I might need to change a client's profile picture (a simple, mundane task that should take less than a minute). Cut to 30 minutes later: something else caught my eye, as soon as I opened Facebook.
I've learned to remind myself not to get distracted when I open Facebook to do work. I have to tell myself, "Get in, get out. Don't get distracted." (x 23 times).
We recommend our clients use social media to drive traffic TO their site, and not the other way around.
The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time, effort, and money to get a potential customer to your website, only to drive them to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform. They'll inevitably end up watching funny cat videos, and epic FAIL compilations for the rest of the day.
Instead, focus on getting the prospective client to contact you. If you're selling products online, your focus should be to get your visitors to complete an order. If anything gets in the way of these goals, get rid of it.
The best way to push content to your followers
Here's what you can do if you want to push content to your social media followers:
- If you want to get the word out about a sale or promotion, start by posting it to your site. Ideally, you should post it to your blog. Here's an excellent example of a post by one of our clients. In this example, Food To Fit' is letting people know they now have a registered dietician available in Regina.
- Share the post on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media platforms that allow sharing of links. This way, you are still pushing content to your followers. However, as soon as they click on the post, you'll drive them to your website.
Food To Fit's website allows prospects to meet their team of highly qualified nutritionists in Saskatoon & Regina. Their site is also where people can learn about the services they offer, and book an appointment (their ultimate goal).
Best of all, this post is getting shared by visitors (driving more traffic), and it is getting found on search engines like Google®, when people search for "Nutritionist Regina" which ends up driving even more quality traffic to their site.
Beware of free social media widgets
We often get requests from people who want to add Twitter's "Latest Tweet" widget, or Facebooks/Instagram's equivalent, to their site.
There are many free widgets offered by social media platforms that will allow you to integrate the platform's content or functionality into your website.
Most of these "free" widgets end up driving traffic to the social media platform, costing you potential leads and sales.
We recommend caution when choosing to embed a social media widget.
If you want to grow your social media followers, we recommend including something like Facebook's "Like Button" on your site.
The button above is tied to Squareflo's Facebook page, and allows our website visitors to Like our Facebook page, without leaving our site.
Twitter's "Follow Button" is also recommended since it keeps your visitors on your site.
When in doubt, ask yourself: Is the widget is driving traffic away from your site to the social media platform? If so, we recommend you don't use it.
If you really feel the need to link to your business' social media profiles, I recommend doing it in a way that is subtle. Show icons somewhere on your site, where it won't be the first thing a visitor sees. I recommend placing your social media icons in the footer of your site.
And just so we're clear: Having "Share" buttons on your site is a good thing. The "Jumbo" share buttons at the top of this page actually encourage visitors to share your content... hint hint 😉
If you think I'm out to lunch please comment below and let me know why you disagree.