Visitors leave websites and go to social networks all the
time. That’s normal. But you don’t want to encourage it. Don’t make it
easy for them by inviting them to leave your site.
Before you add a button to your website that sends the visitor to a social network, ask yourself…
Do you really want people to click that?
What’s on the page behind that click? Anything irrelevant?
After clicking that link, is the (former) visitor closer, or further from your contact form?
Are they likely to come back?
Sending a visitor to a social network puts them in the
hands of a profit-driven, billion dollar company that is totally focused
on keeping and monetizing that visitor. Is that good for your
The AMA unveils its first intellectual agenda and introduces the 7 Big Problems of marketing.
A quick study done by Phil Nottingham of Distilled
found that the clickthrough rate from YouTube to company websites is a
measly .7%. In other words, fewer than one in a hundred visitors will
make it from YouTube back to your site. Still want to send them to
This video is on YouTube. Do you really want to send your visitors to a website that has this video?
Notice how I didn’t make that cute little guy clickable. I would have lost you for sure!
So here are three social media leaks and how to fix them…
Leak #1: Header Social Icons (The Most Common)
Clients want them so designers add them. Most sites have social icons on their home pages. A study by Crayon found that 75% of websites have social media integration, with home pages featuring one or more social media link.
Different industries have websites that integrate with social media at
different rates. Non-profits and sports companies add them the most.
Regulated industries like financial, legal and gambling are less likely
to add social media links. No surprise.
Not only do sites add this leak to their bucket, but many sites make the leak as big as possible. They add big, colorful candy-like social media icons to the header of every page.
The colors often make these buttons the most visually prominent part of the page. How is that a good thing for your traffic?
walking into a store where the biggest sign says ‘exit’.
Leak #2: Your Featured Image Area (The Biggest Leak)
Some sites will actually put a big Facebook button on their homepage carousel or as the featured image. Yikes!
We don’t need to say much about this one.
I can only assume that these marketers are more confident
in their ability to engage with people on Facebook than their own
marketing has four distinct marketing objectives. Failing to recognize
these differences will lead to ineffective and suboptimal digital
Leak #3: Social Sharing Buttons (The Hidden Leak)
There are lots of ways to add social sharing buttons. One
way is to grab one from a company that makes them. Often these are
WordPress plugins, which make them super simple to add.
But be careful. These buttons sometimes add a little ad for
themselves in the shared post. That may leak visitors away from your
site and toward the company that developed the button.
Ideally, the share buttons are customized to mention your
website and brand, not just the link. If you click the Twitter share
button at the bottom of this post, you’ll see it adds a mention for @orbiteers to the tweet. Leak fixed!
Need a little help making this work? Social Media Examiner has a great post on how to create custom social sharing buttons.
So when should you send people to a social network?
There is definitely a time and place to send people to
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It’s when that social network is a key
part of your marketing strategy.
Before you punch holes in your bucket, ask yourself these two questions about each network. The answer should be “yes” to both.
You post content there regularly (active publishing channel)
There is at least as much relevant content on the social network as your website.
You engage with users on that social network regularly (active networking channel)
You’re not just present on that social network, but you’re interacting with people, networking and building relationships.
Bonus Tip! Another time you should encourage your
visitors to follow a social network is after they become a lead or an
ecommerce customer. Since they’ve already reached a goal and taken the
desired action, why not send them to another site where they may
“follow” or “like” your brand.
The “thank you” page is an opportunity to get more value from the same visitors.
Where There’s Traffic, There’s Hope.
It’s good when people visit your social media profiles.
It’s good when they follow, like and +1 you …but not when it comes at
the cost of your website traffic.
When a visitor leaves your website for a social network,
they’re further from your lead generation form, your services pages,
your blog. They’ve moved backwards, up the conversion funnel away from
Plug the social leaks, keep your visitors and maximize your chances for the highest value interactions: leads, subscribers and customers.
Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media. He’s also the author of Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing. You can find Andy on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Read the original article on Orbit Media's blog.