Your Website is an Essential Part of Your Social Media Strategy

It seems like just about every direct selling company has a Facebook Page these days, and maybe a YouTube channel, Twitter account, and even a Pinterest profile. And the really effective companies have a strategy behind it…the business goals that they want to achieve as a result of their online activities, along with a way to measure progress towards those goals.

But far too often, companies neglect the measuring part. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in numbers of followers, etc. But that’s not a good reason to invest in a social media program. Just like every other part of your business, you need to be able to justify the expense of your program with measurable business results.

Now there have been many great posts written on HOW to set up a measuring program for your business. But in this post I want to talk about an oft-neglected part of the overall social media strategy, and that’s the company website.

Is Your Website Part of Your Social Media Strategy?

Many direct selling companies set up their websites completely independent of their social media strategy. Their only nod to social media is the social media icons featured prominently on the home page (hopefully) that link to where you can connect with the company online. But this is a mistake, because the ultimate conversion you’re typically looking for (often a sale or recruit) has to happen on the corporate website.

So you have to ask yourself…how effective is your corporate website at converting social media traffic? If your site is like most belonging to direct selling companies, the answer is probably “not very good.”

Why not?

Who Are You Talking To?

Your corporate website is probably set up to talk to everyone. It’s designed to have a very broad appeal.  So it’s probably NOT speaking to the individual you just had a conversation with on Facebook, or who clicked on a Facebook Ad or Twitter link that addressed a very specific need that person had. They don’t want to dig to find information that’s relevant to them. It’s too much work. And so they leave. What a waste of all that effort you just spent to get them to your site!

Contact Forms

And then let’s talk about that contact form on your website. From your perspective, you want as much information from that person as possible so you can match them with the right person in your organization. So you’ve got a long form with plenty of required fields.

The problem with this approach is that research has shown us that for every additional field you add to a form, you exponentially increase the abandonment rate of that form. Seriously consider if you absolutely HAVE to have information beyond Name, Email, and Zip Code. And if you’re the analytical type, do a split test. Send half of your links to your old form, and half to the short one. See which form has a lower abandonment rate by using Google Analytics to compare the number of people that hit the form to how many people hit the thank you page after filling it out. The results may surprise you. And you’ll still be able to follow up with that web visitor with the shorter form.

Here’s a great post on creating captivating contact forms: http://designshack.net/articles/inspiration/10-useful-tips-for-a-captivating-contact-form

Custom Landing Pages for Campaigns

Another thing you may want to consider is creating custom landing pages for specific purposes. For example, let’s say that you run a recruiting campaign designed to attract college students. You have specific posts on your social networking profiles geared towards this demographic, and you run a Facebook Ad campaign at the same time with images selected to appeal to this group. Don’t just send them to your generic website! Instead, think about what your specific conversion objective is…what do you want them to do when they get to your site?

Do you want them to read about your opportunity and fill out a form to get more information? Then make sure that the landing page you send them to highlights that specific option, and nothing else!

  • On one side have information about the opportunity that specifically appeals to that demographic (bulleted and including photos to appeal to the scanning reader.)
  • On the other side have a very short web form so they can convert right there without clicking anywhere else.
  • Make the submit button on the form red or orange. Make the language on the button non-threatening.
  • And don’t confuse the issue by adding ANYTHING ELSE on that page.

If they want to find out more about you, rest assured, they know how to click and find it. But your primary purpose is to get them to convert in the least number of clicks possible. Here is more information about great landing pages that convert web visitors effectively: http://www.copyblogger.com/landing-page-10-commandments/

Tracking the Success of Your Campaign

And the added benefit of using a custom form? You can track the success of your campaign by seeing how many people hit the custom page you set up on your website from the various social networks you’re using. You can use Google URL Builder to set up custom tracking links as well to dig even deeper into your traffic.

You Need to Take Back Control

Too many direct selling companies have no control over their websites, which means they can’t set up custom pages for specific campaigns. (Heck, I’ve even been in companies where they haven’t set up Google Analytics!) And that means they’re missing out on a significant amount of conversions that might happen if pages were customized based on who you’re talking to. It’s important to look at your overall campaign goals, and understand what you can do on your website to support those goals.

How do you use your website to support your social media activities? Do you make it easy for social media visitors to convert without a lot of clicks? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

4 Responses to Your Website is an Essential Part of Your Social Media Strategy
  1. Rochelle
    April 18, 2012 | 1:02 am

    Perform research to determine what makes your customers tick and where they go for information. Consider doing a survey or conducting focus groups to find out the social media outlets that would be most useful to your customer base. For instance, you may discover your customers want everything from Twitter to StumbledUpon to Flickr, or that your limited resources might be best directed toward Facebook.
    Rochelle recently posted..RSA online – Responsible Service Of Alcohol

  2. Tina "The Book Lady"
    March 31, 2012 | 2:32 am

    Interesting that you suggest using landing pages on our websites. I’ve been told NOT to use that page because people aren’t put right where they can order right off the bat. In ways I agree with that – but I also think landing pages make it more personal. I’d love to have a landing page with a newsletter sign up (I had home office/IT write up a code to sign up for my blog – would LUV this on my website!) I’d also like to have a way for people to “follow” my page or become a member (a la RSS feed or Linky Followers where they would get a notice of any new updates like “new books”, contests, etc. BUT at this time – I only have use of the “about your consultant” page – the landing page is very generic.
    Tina “The Book Lady” recently posted..Welcome to Family LIteracy!

  3. Frances
    March 30, 2012 | 9:23 am

    If you are using Google Friend connect gadget on your site, if you are using Gmail, if you are using other Google’s social tools, the +1 button will change the search engine positioning for your site. I tried it with my Web Answers blog. I have only two +1′s but when one of my friends (a Gmail contact) searched for “webanswers tips”, my blog was a third result, right after Web Answers site.
    Frances recently posted..Save My Marriage Today by Amy Waterman Review – Does it really work?

  4. Erica
    March 24, 2012 | 1:22 pm

    Really found this post interesting! I’ll be pinning this on pinterest!

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