When we analyze a client’s social media presence and plan their strategy, they are often surprised that one of the first places we look is the company’s website. But think about it: the goal of social media marketing is not ultimately what happens on social networks, but rather what conversions happen when they get to your website. If your website is not prepared to convert visitors from your social networks, and you are not sending visitors to the right places on your website, you are losing a lot of the people you’ve worked so hard to engage.
So what should you do to your website to optimize it for social media traffic? Here are some tips:
- Landing Pages, not the Home Page: The biggest mistake I see businesses make in online advertising and social media campaigns is where they send the traffic. Far too often, we set up campaigns around something specific, like a particular product or contest, yet when people click they get dumped on the home page, which is information overload central. They don’t know where to go to find out about the thing that interested them in the first place, so they leave. You must set up custom landing pages for each and every campaign you run, and have just ONE conversion objective for that page. That conversion objective might be to sign up for something, request information, or buy a product, but that is the only thing that should be easy to do on that page.
- Make it easy to convert: When people land on your website, they must know immediately how to convert. So don’t bury your form or other conversion beneath multiple clicks. It must be on the home page, and ideally have only 2 fields (name and email.)
- Reduce the fields on your forms: And that brings us to another major mistake I find on many websites. Your forms are WAY too long. Research tells us that every additional field in your form significantly increases the abandonment rate of that form. So instead of 15 fields to get information you could get once you have a conversation, get 2 (or at the most 3)…name, email, and if you must, phone number (but don’t make the phone number a required field). You are a lot more likely to get someone to fill out a form if it’s short and easy.
- Highlight clear conversion objectives: Direct selling is a story business, and we LOVE to tell our stories. The problem is that we think we should do it on the home page (and we shouldn’t!) The home page should be highly visual, and your conversion objectives should be immediately evident (in the case of direct selling, this is Join, Book, and Shop). Well-designed direct sales websites make these 3 conversion objectives prominent. The only other content you typically find on the home page are links to additional information and content that your social traffic might value (such as recipes.)
- Make it visual: Think about your own web browsing behavior. When you land on a web page with a lot of words, what do you do? Chances are, unless you are VERY familiar with the brand, you leave. Why? Because you haven’t yet been convinced that the brand is worth the effort you will need to invest in reading all that text. But if the site is visually appealing, without a lot of things competing for your attention, and you can find the information you need easily, within a click or two, you’re a lot more likely to convert on that site. The same goes for your website. If your home page is wordy, you are losing visitors who won’t even give you a chance. Don’t do that to the people you’ve engaged on your social media presence. Make your home page simple and visual, with clear conversion objectives.
- Know why they’re coming: Why are people coming to your website? Be very clear on the 2 or 3 main reasons people come to your site, and be sure that they can get that information within a click or two. If people need to click 5 times before they ever get to a shopping page, you’ve lost them. It can be helpful to conduct a focus group of your website. Have people who have never seen it before sit down and interact with your site while you silently record their experiences. Where do they go? How long does it take them? Where are the frustration points? Do people go in the direction you think they will when they come? This analysis can help you craft a better site experience for visitors.
- Love your analytics: Finally, and I can’t emphasize this enough, you MUST have analytics on your website. These help you correlate your social media efforts with measurable business objectives, and also show you where you’re losing people. Running a campaign? Analytics tell you how many people have come, and how many have converted as a result of your campaign. And with that data, you can make your site better. If you aren’t looking at your site analytics regularly, you are throwing away business. And if you’ve invested a lot of time in your social presence, but are ignoring your analytics, you’re wasting your social media efforts.
Your website is your home base on the web. Never forget that, while social networks are a great place to build community, without a place to send them to that provides measurable conversions, you’re just talking. It’s the conversions that happen on your website as a result of your social engagement that provide the measurable ROI that you’re looking for.
What do you need to improve on your website to better engage your social media traffic? How can you better help them c0nvert? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.