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Social Media Website Integration – Do You Really Need It?

By Heshy Friedman

Social Media Integration has become a standard on the web, with all forward-thinking companies integrating some form of social media platforms into their websites. As Social Media has continued to develop, it has greatly influenced online marketing and activity. It seems as though the web is continuing to build itself around Social Media. For example, cell phones now have built-in Social Media Apps, websites are allowing users to login with their Facebook accounts, and blogs like WordPress already have built-in widgets and tools for Social Media.

The facts speak for themselves. The connected world is utilizing Social Media, and it can be easily  harnessed to promote your business or cause.  Your friends and colleagues are already spending plenty of time posting on Facebook, and people are reading and interacting with these posts. I am not an avid Facebook user, finding myself lacking the time and desire to share endless posts with my Facebook “friends”. Despite my relative quietness on Facebook, I am careful to check my account and post every once in a while just to remain in the loop and retain a sense of “connectivity”. On my Facebook company page, I try to post once a week a few new interesting tidbits or short musings pertaining to the company. This allows my Facebook friends to see these posts, effectively generating buzz for my company.

Is Social Media a necessity for a website? My answer is both Yes and No. It’s a resounding “no” if no one in the organization will be posting to these venues on a regular basis, or if the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are not well-connected. To have empty profiles or dusty postings will actually cause much more harm than good. Those visiting these sites will perceive the organization as outdated and out-of-touch. It is better to do nothing at all, rather than do it the wrong way. However, if one or more people in the organization have many Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections, these Social Media items can be very helpful to boost exposure — with regular postings.

As far as Twitter is concerned, if it is going to be used, then at least one Tweet should be made during a given week. Additionally, customers or supporters of the organization should be encouraged to follow Tweets, as well as connect on LinkedIn and Facebook. Someone within the organization should be designated to regularly post news and items to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Without a designation, postings will happen the first several times and then will be forgotten.

The easiest way to add Social Media Integration to a website is to add icons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Make sure to set up a dedicated company page for both Facebook and LinkedIn, and link your site to these with recognized Social Media icons in the website footer. Facebook posts should be personalized and can be a bit more lengthy, whereas LinkedIn and Twitter posts will accommodate only short news items less than 140 characters. Social Media widgets and plug-ins, such as “scrollers”, can also be added to the website.

This past December, I first added Social Media icons to my website, and started a Facebook company page for Radial Web. I created my first company page post, and immediately a friend of mine from my elementary school days (who is also a friend on Facebook) read the post and contacted me to design a website for him. We subsequently went to contract, and I am now developing his company website. This proves how effective Social Media Integration can be at building your company into a more successful business.

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