The internet can seem like a pretty impersonal place, especially when websites err on the side of being too clinical, and not at all focused on the visitor. Oftentimes, the ability to make a connection with a brand is hidden behind contact forms and seemingly dead end communication methods. With no easy way to interact with a brand, visitors get frustrated or abandon the website altogether.

Instead of creating an awful customer experience, why not build a website that encourages communication and social sharing? The benefits of reaching new audiences and creating more loyal customers outweigh the occasional troll or negative comment.

Here are 6 ways to socialize your website in a way that will help accomplish business goals, and will encourage positive customer interaction.

Create Awesome Content

There is so much content already on the internet, and still so much that is yet to be created. When planning content for your brand, think hard about how to be different. Don’t just try to spin an article that already exists – give your own opinion on an issue that’s unlike anything else out there.  Pride yourself on being unique, and providing an intellectual hub. If that’s not exactly in line with your branding, why not try to stand out by being funny or interesting? As long as you make an effort to be different, visitors will take note and be more willing to comment or share. Your efforts will stand out amongst the sea of the same and content pushed out solely for SEO benefits, with no nod to the human’s supposedly reading it.

Besides plaintext, make sure content is visually interesting by implementing:

  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Audio

By catering to the different ways people consume and process content, it becomes more actionable – and shareable!

Social Sharing Buttons

The easiest way to get people to share your company’s content is by making sure that every article has easy to use social sharing buttons. These buttons make it easy to share content on any network, and should ideally include the ability to email articles for the older generation that is uncomfortable with social media but still wants to share. An important feature of social share buttons that shouldn’t be overlooked is the ability to add a Twitter handle or hashtag automatically with article shares for tracking purposes (and to get new followers).

A couple examples of useful social sharing buttons that easily integrate with a CMS like WordPress:

  • Digg Digg
  • ShareThis
  • Socialize

Opt-In Forms

Don’t ignore the social impact of email marketing. Despite the interest and advances made in other digital marketing mediums (like social media marketing), email marketing is still considered to be one of the best ways to share content and convert sales. Email is a medium where reach is determined by deliverability and email opens – not ad money.

But the main issue in email marketing is in regards to ethically and effectively building an email list. There are many different areas on a website you can place an opt-in form, including:

  • Blog sidebar
  • At the end of a blog post (content upgrade)
  • Across the top of the page
  • In the footer

One of the most effective, though contested opt-in form placements, is as a popup. Most people will say they don’t like them and that they’re annoying, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that they work. The best email opt-in popups have a few things in common:

  • A compelling reason to join the list (Not just “Subscribe for email updates”)
  • Delayed timing of at least 5-10 seconds after the page has loaded so people can form their first impression before being asked to sign up
  • A special bonus for opting in (a relevant and short PDF, whitepaper, etc.)

Once you’ve successfully secured your reader’s email, make sure to deliver on any promises and send engaging content that gets your reader back to the website.

Post Regularly

Consistency is important in all efforts to improve socialization. By regularly updating social media, sending out email updates, and creating blog content, you start to build trust with your readers. If you are inconsistent, you’ll confuse readers and break trust. If this happens, they have less reason to follow you, receive updates, or even come back to your website. When you’re posting regularly, you’re supporting the process of socializing your website.

Seek Feedback and Comments

Most if not everything you do should encourage feedback and comments, especially on your company’s blog. Make it easy for people to join the conversation by posing a prompt instead of just abruptly ending a post. On social media, ask questions and encourage follower involvement to start a dialog that draws in other people. The feedback gained from communicating directly with followers usually results in valuable insights that will help you constantly refine content and create the most interesting topics for your audience. People will feel more connected when they help shape content and become a part of the conversation.

Engage with Your Visitors

There are a few easy ways to engage with visitors for additional socialization and connection opportunities:

  • Add social media icons or feeds in many different areas on your website, and invite visitors to connect with you on other platforms
  • Always answer comments and interactions on social networks, even if it’s just a simple acknowledgement. Deciding not to do this will lead to less interaction, and likely less sales.
  • If you have the capacity, implement a live chat feature on the website. In e-commerce, this helps solve any questions that occur before or during checkout that would otherwise cause a customer to abandon their cart.

The most important takeaway when trying to socialize your website is to try to understand your audience and consider what they care about. Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes: does your website make sense? Do you want to interact with content? Would you be willing to share it with someone else in the industry?

There are many ways to make a website more social. Pick the ones that make the most sense for your company, and watch engagement (and sales!) increase!

Need help on how to socialize your website? Contact Blu Sky for a free consultation to determine what changes can be made to accomplish more goals.